Brewer's Brew

With an influx of new and exciting talent since spring training, Ole Miss Wide Receivers Coach Gunter Brewer is going about his business methodically sorting all the personnel out as the season rapidly approaches.

Last February, the Ole Miss football staff signed one of the most heralded freshman wide receiver class in the country.

"Everyone" wanted Donte Moncrief, Tobias Singleton and Nickolas Brassell, and Collins Moore and T.J. Worthy were also in demand by some major colleges during recruiting.

After a spring training which then-new Wide Receivers Coach Gunter Brewer called "consistently inconsistent," the influx of talent out wide was welcomed.

Moncrief, Moore and Worthy reported to Ole Miss in early June for both semesters of summer school. Brassell joined them for the second semester of summer. Singleton came on board for August camp after getting academically qualified.

Talent-wise, all made a good first impression, but there was some separation in terms of their adjustment to SEC football, the understanding of the system and their conditioning and it was mostly based on their summer efforts.

They joined veterans Ja-Mes Logan and Melvin Harris, and redshirt freshman Vincent Sanders, meshing with them almost immediately.


Donte Moncrief
Chuck Rounsaville

Brewer immediately had more raw material to work with.

Three weeks into August camp, his task of sorting it all out is getting clearer, but competition for game reps continues to be heated.

"The young guys are getting better every day. It's all about reps for them and the older guys are stepping up and showing some leadership," said Brewer. "A couple of them have some bumps and bruises, but the best thing is that we have more competition than we have in a long time.

"The competition will breed more success and make everyone better."

As of Wednesday, Moncrief stood out the most to Brewer of the young guys, but Brassell has also drawn early praise.

"Donte is battling for the starting slot with Vincent and Melvin. Melvin has been injured, so Donte got more reps and has done a good job with them. He had a really good scrimmage last Saturday," Gunter explained. "Donte has taken advantage of the extra reps.

"On the other side, Nick and Ja-Mes have a good battle going too. Both have done well."

As most are aware, "starting" at wide receiver is certainly a badge of honor and ultimately means a few more reps and probably a few more opportunities to catch the ball, but one of the main goals for any wideout is being in that all-important playing rotation.

"Things are still up in the air, but we are getting there. We are a lot like the quarterback position in that we feel we are three-deep at most spots and we're letting those guys battle it out," he said. "We want them to know the depth chart can change daily. Whoever plays best the day before gets to the front of the line the next day. They have to earn it.

"We will eventually have to settle in with a rotation, but we have a few more days to decide that. The good thing is that our quarterbacks are comfortable with all our guys because most of them were here all summer. We've got some decent timing now due to reps."

Gunter's goal of getting his rotation down to a manageable "6-8" players has not changed.

"Across the board, we will play six a lot and when we go to four wides, we'll play eight," he noted. "We need eight to go to war with. Maybe a swing guy behind the two 'X' guys and a swing guy behind the two slot guys."

Does he have eight he's comfortable with yet?

"We have that many bodies, but I'm not sure we have eight who can take us to Atlanta yet," he said. "We're working on it. Some of them are green, some of them are coming, some of them have arrived."

Brewer didn't want to name name's - just yet, but from practice session results, it appears the following are heavily in the mix and making strong bids for game action.

Moncrief, Sanders and Harris on one side; Logan, Brassell and Singleton on the other; and Derrick Herman, Philander Moore and Collins Moore in the slot. Collins Moore has also been working out wide.

If this educated guess holds true, it's obvious the signing class of 2011 has already paid dividends.


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