Return to the Field

Freshman wide receiver Tobias Singleton has yet to record a reception through five games this season. He's a work in progress as a receiver, a position he's becoming more comfortable with every day.

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He's had to make an impact in other ways. The former four-star recruit out of Madison, Miss., is now the Rebels' primary kickoff returner. Singleton assumed the role two weeks ago. On the year, he has seven returns for 166 yards, good for an average of 23.7 yards per return.

"It's going great. I'm just trying to go out there and help the team as much as I can doing that. Try to break one every now and then. If not, try to get positive yards," Singleton said. "I'm real close (to breaking one). I got a feeling it might be Alabama game. I've been dreaming about it."

"Been really pleased," head coach Houston Nutt said of Singleton. "If we get one more block, he'll hit it. We've been down to about three times, one block away. One block away, and he's going to hit a crease. He's fearless. He hits seams good. I've been real proud of him."

Singleton was a late arrival to campus this summer, making his transition to the college level much more difficult than, say, fellow freshmen receivers Donte Moncrief and Nick Brassell, who both rank in the top four on the team in receptions and yards.

Singleton said he is still learning the position. "Learning where to line up," he said. However, his conditioning is better than when he enrolled.

"I ain't getting that many snaps (at wide receiver), but I'm just taking it one day at a time and still trying to get better," he said. "I wasn't in no kind of shape when I first came up here. Got in the sand pit, I almost fell out. But the coaches told me to just stick in it and they'll get me back into shape. Now I'm in shape. Now I'm just learning my position."

Brandon Bolden
Chuck Rounsaville

Bolden getting close:

Senior running back Brandon Bolden said earlier this week he is feeling "real close" to 100 percent healthy. Bolden suffered a small fracture in his ankle in the team's season opener against BYU.

"I'm feeling real close. Being doing a real good job with treatment almost every day, every week," he said. "It's just been getting a whole lot better."

Bolden looked more like himself Saturday in a 38-28 win over Fresno State. He finished with 43 rushing yards and two touchdowns, including an impressive 21-yard touchdown run in the first quarter for the Rebels' first score.

"This is the best he's been (health-wise)," Nutt said. "He's been working awfully hard. He's OK when he just runs forward. That's why he can cover kicks. You're running straight ahead. When you're at tailback, gotta cut, stop, make decisions. With that ankle, he's not 100 percent, but that's the best he's been. He really helps us. With two weeks, we hope he's 100 percent by the time we play Alabama."

"I've been working on it every day before practice, and then after practice I get a few cuts in. It's getting better and better each week," Bolden said of making cuts. "Biggest limitation? Trying to put my foot into the ground; basically just changing directions. It's just cutting in general."

Bolden had just six carries against Fresno State. Sophomore Jeff Scott, meanwhile, had 24 carries. Nutt and staff were obviously protecting Bolden, a precautionary measure Bolden has no problem with.

"I get the protection and everything, but it is what it is. Jeff got, what, 20-plus (carries)? I got six. We won. That's my big goal right there, is everybody get a ‘W.' It don't matter to me," he said.

For the year, Bolden has 105 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He ranks second in Ole Miss history with 25 rushing touchdowns and 30 total touchdowns.

"Now, it's a lot better. It's a fractured ankle. It was like every time I took a deep breath there was pain. I mean, it's just something you have to push through," Bolden said. "It's getting better. It's getting close to little or no pain."

C.J. Johnson
Chuck Rounsaville

Johnson settling in at defensive end:

C.J. Johnson was moved from linebacker to defensive end nearly three weeks ago. Johnson looked the part of a defensive end Saturday.

In limited playing time, Johnson recorded three tackles. He now has five tackles on the year in four games played.

"It's just a work in progress right now," he said. "Just coming out here to practice every day, trying to get better."

Johnson has continued to rotate between linebacker and defensive end in practices. Wednesday, though, he was with the defensive ends. As a team, Ole Miss has nine sacks on the season. However, only four of those nine have come from a defensive lineman, and two are by the same player, defensive end Wayne Dorsey.

"I'm not completely comfortable (at defensive end)," Johnson, a former five-star recruit, said, "but I'm here to do whatever it takes for us to be successful, and right now that's me playing defensive end. Just trying to do what I can to help."

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