Camp Leftovers

Some things taste better the second time around. Some things don't. Leftovers from August camp.

Leftovers from the "random notes" department.

* We mentioned it many times, but it's worth another reiteration as August camp ends and the regular routine of school and football begins. We don't have an inkling how this season is going to start or end, but one thing that has been crystal clear since last spring, through the summer, and through August camp - this Ole Miss Rebel football team has a different, better attitude and approach than last year's squad. The overused terms "team," "togetherness," "unity," and "chemistry" have all applied. In a league and age where a lot of things are equal, sometimes what separates the winners from the losers are those qualities. To this point, the Rebels have those attributes and they should pay dividends.

* In three decades of publishing The Ole Miss Spirit, we've seen a lot, but we can't ever recall a quarterback race this tight for this long. Even the coaches seem a little surprised that there has not been a clear "winner" for the starting slot - yet. Unlike us, as fans, however, QB Coach David Lee isn't hitting the panic button. Why? Well, David is not one to pull punches when addressing the media and he has stated repeatedly he believes all three can win games for Ole Miss. Trust us, as blunt as he is in answering questions, he would not say that if he did not believe it. And he doesn't seem overwhelmed with the task of sorting it all out or the least bit frustrated that the race has taken this long. His stance in this process has been a study in the art of patience and patience was what was, and is, needed. With Lee's steady hand, it says here he will get the most out of the position the available talent allows, even if it's not on what some consider a traditional timetable. Our take on the QB battle? Well, since you asked, it's clear Lee is looking for the guy who makes the least mistakes, runs the huddle effectively, utilizes the available weapons at his disposal, directs traffic the best and doesn't beat himself. Once he figures that out, he will mold the offense, to a certain extent, around that QBs' strengths. Who will that be? So far, our pecking order changes just about on a daily basis.

* The Rebel defense is clearly faster than it was a year ago, just about at every position. That was a must, but the SEC is both power and speed. With that in mind, it's imperative that a few of our more physical players get healthy. DT Uriah Grant, DT Gilbert Pena, OLB Damien Jackson, LB Ralph Williams, DE Jason Jones and LB Joel Kight, who all either missed or were limited in Saturday's scrimmage due to injury, all pack a punch. The Rebel 'D' needs that punch. The good news is that none of the injuries, with the exception of the uncertainty of Jones' knee, are said to be serious. With a little more time, and a little luck, they should all be ready to go for the opener against BYU.

Donte Moncrief
* Based on fall camp, here's an uneducated list of top newcomers on the team, in no particular order. All of these guys should, if nothing crazy happens between now and the season, have an impact on the squad. . .Jamal Mosley is a prototypical tight end - big, good speed, good hands, rugged blocker - and he has a great approach to the game, he loves it. . . WR/CB/KR Nickolas Brassell can do it all. Though slightly built, he is tough and deceptively strong, he's extremely competitive and he's driven to be the best. A playmaker. . . CB Wesley Pendleton has been here through spring and appears to have earned a starting slot. In spring training, he was all speed and little technique. Now he has emerged at the other end of the training gauntlet, through the hard-love tutoring of Secondary Coach Keith Burns, as more of a technician. . .WR Donte Moncrief is the first player out for practice every day. He doesn't say much, but he lets his actions speak for him. He's one of those guy who the coaches like to say "makes a play a day." A big target who uses his body well and has deceptive speed. Like Brassell, and several other freshmen on this team, Donte is not in awe of the move from high school to the SEC. . . . LB Keith Lewis may not start when Joel Kight returns from a pulled hamstring, but we'll be surprised if Lewis does not play quite a bit, including a special teams unit or two. Lewis is bright, he's willing to mix it up and he has good movement and instincts. . . OL Aaron Morris has a lot to learn, but one gets the feeling if anyone on the offensive line is hurt that Morris will be the first name called off the bench. . . WR Tobias Singleton struggled some in August camp due to not being here in the summer and not being in the shape the rest of the new wideouts were, but he's got a lot of talent that will keep coming around as he gets in better shape. . . WR Collins Moore may not get the PT or the ink of the other three frosh WRs, but he's going to be a good one in time. He has glue on his hands. . . MLB C.J. Johnson started slowly under the heavy burden of great expectations in fall camp, but he did not let that deter him. He kept plugging and came out on the other end as someone who can contribute. His issue is that he's playing behind Mike Marry and Ralph Williams, who are not wont to give up their jobs without a major fight. . . .CB Senquez Golson simply has the goods. He's still raw, but once he gets it mentally, the starting corners will have to keep looking over their shoulders. . . S Cody Prewitt and OLB Aaron Garbutt can both run and they are both pretty physical. They will provide good depth and should be a part of the special teams infusion the youngsters will give the team. . .JUCO DTs Uriah Grant and Gilbert Pena will, when healthy, provide some needed "umph" to the DL. They both are big bodies who can clog the middle. . .Last, but not least, the additions of JUCO QB Zack Stoudt and transfer QB Barry Brunetti speaks for itself. We really don't even consider them "newcomers" at this point.

Short Shots:

* It appears the coaches are opting for more speed in the secondary with the move of Charles Sawyer to one of the safety positions. That was basically verified when Damien Jackson and Aaron Garbutt were moved from safety to OLB.

* How about big Terrell Brown at DT? That's been experimented with the last few days. One, nobody is going to move him out. Two, he takes up a lot of space. It may work in spots.

* Maybe our eyes were deceiving us, but we swear we saw Sam Noblin at rush DE in Saturday's scrimmage. Sam has been playing OLB since spring.

* The kickoff team is pure speed with a couple of LB types thrown in: Vincent Moss, Garbutt, Pendleton, Frank Crawford, Serderius Bryant, Lewis, Brishen Mathews, Prewitt, Derrick Herman and Sawyer. Also, some of the "tougher" speed guys.

* They get little ink, but their importance cannot be measured or undervalued. TE Ferbia Allen and FB H.R. Greer go unnoticed a lot, but they are steady and are the glue on the offensive side of the ball. Very valuable.

* Since they haven't gotten a lot of work in the open scrimmages, and not a ton in practices, it's easy to overlook TB Brandon Bolden and TB Jeff Scott, but there is a reason they are not getting a lot of reps. They are too valuable to risk injury and really have very little to prove.

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