Finally Healthy

Senior Rebel Cornerback Marcus Temple, who started last year, missed all of spring training after sports hernia surgery. He's back now and loving every minute of his pain-free offseason.

Last year, Ole Miss Cornerback Marcus Temple knew something wasn't right.

When he would change directions or try to backpedal properly by staying low, he would get a "strained" feeling in his abdominal area.

Temple, best-known for his game-ending tackle of Florida QB Tim Tebow in 2008 on 4th-and-1 when "Temp" was a freshman, just tried to ignore it and play through the pain.

Uh, for two years.

"It started bothering me some in 2009, but I can handle pain pretty well so I just kept going," he noted. "It affected me at times, but I had been dealing with it for so long, I just put it in the back of my head and dealt with it."

After the 2010 season, when he was showing no improvement and was actually getting worse, Temple had had enough. It was discovered he had a sports hernia and that the injury would require offseason surgery.

The surgery forced him to miss spring training, but now Temple is grinning from ear to ear.

Marcus Temple
File Photo
"I feel great right now," he said. "In fact, this is the best I have felt since I have been at Ole Miss from a physical standpoint. I have been dealing with this hernia thing for quite some time.

"I can tell a big difference in what I can do now and what I could do then with the injury. When I cut, I feel comfortable. I can stay low longer. It's really helped my technique to be healthy."

Temple had no choice in the matter, obviously, but the down side of missing spring was not getting as acclimated to new Secondary Coach Keith Burns as the guys who were practicing.

Temple believes he will catch up quickly do to the things he did do while out of action.

"The corners who were out there got a jump on things and I missed out on that, but I made a lot of tripe to Coach Burns' office on my own and he always assured me I would be able to catch up," Temp stated. "Coach Burns told me not to worry about anything - that he had watched all the films of last year and just to come back healthy for the season. He said he had already seen what I can do.

"I have been working hard since the first week of summer school learning the techniques and practicing on my own and with the other corners. I feel pretty comfortable now with the new stuff we are running."

At the end of spring, JUCO transfer Wesley Pendleton and sophomore Charles Sawyer were the number one corners. Temple was impressed with their spring showings.

"From what I saw in spring, and how the guys are working this summer, I think we will be good in the secondary. I know there are doubters out there, but we're going to show them something," noted Temple. "Wesley came right in and stepped up. Whatever the coaches asked him to do, he did it well. I am happy for him. He would ask me questions and I would help him in spring. He did a great job.

"Charles is like my little brother. We talk about everything and we work out together. I'll run routes on him and he will cover me and then he will do the same. He has gotten a lot, lot better. We aren't going to be as thin this year at corner, I don't think. We are still going to be thinner than we'd like, but that's why we are taking conditioning so seriously now - so we can stand up to the demands in the season."

It's widely believed and referenced the Rebels, due to a small senior class in 2010, were short on leadership last year.

The Rebs will once again have a small senior class, but Temple, who is in that number, is determined that leadership - or lack thereof - will not be an issue this year.

Marcus Temple
File Photo
"We saw how things were last year. It's like summer workouts - they weren't as well-organized or well-attended as they should have been, for example," he said. "This year, when we schedule something, everyone better be there. If not, the ones who miss will be held accountable. We, as seniors, will have some type of punishment for the ones who are absent.

"Everyone has been showing up with a great positive attitude and working hard."

One reason the Rebs lacked last year was that most of the seniors from a year ago were, by nature, quiet individuals.

Temple is as well, but he's determined to exert himself by example and vocally this time around.

"I'm not a really vocal guy, but I learned from last year that you have to be if you are a senior. First, you lead by example, but if they does not work, you have to say something. If I feel something in my heart, I'm going to put it out there and let everyone know," said Temple. "If I am doing it the right way and I tell the younger guys something to help them, I expect them to listen and have respect for what I'm saying."

Now that he is healthy, Temple is working on his physical attributes.

"I'm working hard on my flexibility so I can stay low and come out of my breaks quicker in order to make more plays on the ball," he closed. "I've also worked on my speed and my ball skills.

"I weigh 195 pounds now, which is more than I ever have, but I am carrying it well. We had some races the other day and I am holding my own in speed."

In a little more than a month, Marcus Temple will line up in full pads for the first time since the closing game of 2011 - roughly eight months.

He says he'll be ready for whatever is thrown at him.

And, most importantly, he'll be completely healthy for the first time in a couple of years.

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