'Trust Us'

One bright spot on the Rebel football team as SEC play rapidly approaches has been the secondary. A new coach, a new approach and a new trust has led to vast improvement thus far, but there's more to be done.

Follow SpiritChuck on Twitter

Through two games, the Rebel secondary has collected four interceptions.

That's almost as many as they had all of last year and is a byproduct, senior Cornerback Marcus Temple says, of several different factors.

"Coach (Keith) Burns has been working us really hard," said Temple, who has one of those picks. "He expects a lot out of us and he's the kind of coach you want to deliver for."

Burns came to Ole Miss last spring when Coach Houston Nutt decided it was time to revamp the Rebel secondary.

Temple didn't get to participate in spring training under Burns due to offseason sports hernia surgery, but he could see what was going on each day as he watched from the sidelines.

"Man, I was itching to be out there. I could see everything Coach Burns was bringing in was going to help us a lot," Marcus continued. "He was very aggressive in his approach in terms of us getting our eyes back for the ball. He believes if the ball is in the air, it's just as much ours as it is the receivers.

Keith Burns
Chuck Rounsaville

"We were running some new schemes with a new approach and it put us in better places to make plays on the ball."

Marcus saw in spring, and is still seeing through fall camp and two games, that Burns' methods suited the Rebel personnel.

"The coaches made a lot of changes in how we do things in the secondary and the whole time they were teaching these new techniques they were telling us to be patient and to believe and it would pay off," he noted.

"I knew we had talent in the secondary, we just had to get it going in the right direction with an aggressive approach by our coaches."

Marcus started seeing glimpses of what the Rebel secondary could be in spring training and then again in fall camp, but even with the fast start by the back end of the defense, he doesn't believe they have reached their full potential yet.

"We have a lot we can still get better at," he said. "We are a work in progress, but what motivates us to work hard every day is that we are seeing some success. We are not seeing enough success, but we know we are going in the right direction and that we just have to keep working it every day.

"It's all about perfecting our techniques and staying with it. It's all about studying film of your opponents and it's all about executing what the coaches are teaching us."

That all translates into a high degree of urgency, which Temple and all the DBs are latching on to with more and more regularity.

"We are now playing with more intensity. Coach Burns doesn't like to give up anything. He's very intense and that has raised our urgency and intensity," Temple explained. "It hurts when you give up a play. It's supposed to hurt when you give up a play."

There is a benefit to the hurt of giving up a play. When you make one, it's doubly gratifying.

"I can't tell you how happy that interception I had last week made me," Temple said. "Coach Burns was telling me all week how much he liked my preparation for the SIU game and how he just knew I was going to get one. When I got it, I was so happy."

Temple could not wait to get back in the game after his first pick since he was a sophomore.

Marcus Temple
Bruce Newman

"I wanted to offense to score quick. I was about to jump out of my skin wanting to get back out there to try to get another one," he said. "Charles (Sawyer) and I were talking about getting back out there and getting another interception.

"I had another one, I thought, but Damien (Jackson) out-jumped me for the ball in our end zone. I was happy for him. As long as we are getting them for the defense, I don't care who gets them."

Temple, the leader of the corners, likes what he sees in his group.

"Wesley (Pendleton) has pretty much been locking his side up. I don't think he's even been thrown at but two or three times," Temple assessed. "Senquez (Golson) got more action against SIU and for his first game, he did really well. He was competing at the line of scrimmage and did fine.

"I really believe if Senquez will just be patient and learn, he has all the skills to be a great corner. He is an unbelievable athlete. All he needs to do is trust in Coach Burns and work hard and he will be a lock down guy. He's going to be great."

Temple understands there will be tougher tests down the road for the Rebel secondary, but he thinks his troops will be ready.

"We've come a long way since last year and I don't see us stopping now," he closed. "We know there are teams in the SEC who can throw the ball very well who we will face, but that's why we play on this level.

"We want the challenge. We want to see how good we can be. We are not where we want to be. BYU completed too many short passes on us. Southern Illinois hit us with a couple of long passes. We know we can improve on those efforts."

OM Spirit Top Stories