Position of Strength

Tight end can be a position of strength for Ole Miss this fall, but Coach Hugh Freeze said there's improvement that has to be made.

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Most of that comes in the form of what we've heard from the first year head coach in several areas. There are just too many ups and downs right now.

"Inconsistent. Like most others," said Freeze, emphatically and succinctly, of the tight ends. "We want to use them. I love Ferbia (Allen)'s attitude. I love his body. I love Jamal (Mosley)'s body. Jamal continues to seem to do what's right. But they've been inconsistent. Lot of dropped balls that they should catch. But they have given good effort from that position, and they've blocked extremely well at that spot. But we need to use them in the pass game and for them to catch more balls and win some one on ones."

Tight ends coach Maurice Harris said his players can be an important group in the Rebel offense.

"The tight end fits into this offense greatly," he said. "And I say that because of the many ways we can use him. The more we can develop those guys, the more they can stay on the field. So I think the tight end fits in this offense greatly."

Harris talks about each of them a bit, the main three involved all being seniors.

"Ferbia is probably the smartest tight end we have right now, as far as knowing what to do on every single play, adjusting on the run when we have checks, knowing the difference between zone and man cuts, things of that nature. So he's probably the one that's really caught onto the offense the most.

"Jamal to me is the most talented from a standpoint that he can win definitely on the linebacker. But he gives some strong safeties and some corners a run for their money from a route-running standpoint. He's more physical of a blocker than I thought he was this spring. A lot of that coming off that knee injury, it just wasn't as strong as it is now.

"H.R. Greer in the box, fullback type stuff, he's really, really valuable to us. Seal blocks, running power, sticking his nose in there. That's the type of guy he is.

Ferbia Allen
Chuck Rounsaville

"The other ones are a work in progress."

One of those that has emerged is John Youngblood, a freshman tight end. But at this point, Harris doesn't see him in the plans this season at this point.

"If Ferbia, Jamal, H.R., and those guys stay healthy, I don't see why you would play him," said Harris of Youngblood. "That's just my opinion. Of course, I don't have the final say."

There remain the questions concerning Mosley. Will he play in game one? What will the outcome be as coaches review the situation concerning his off the field problems?

"He's done everything we've asked of him so far, from finishing up his school work really, really well, to getting some other off the field situations rectified," Harris said. "He's got that squared away. He's been a joy on the field. He's never been a problem on the field. He loves football. I believe he's stepped it up from a leadership standpoint. He's making plays for us out there. He's a big body that can move around really well and a definite mismatch for defenders."

Allen said he hopes to have several tight ends ready for this season. That's what they're working toward now.

"Three to four," he said of the number he'd like to see. "I think we have three tight ends that definitely will be ready to play. If Jamal can't play, I have no problem with Youngblood or (junior) Jack Nuismer stepping in to play until he gets ready. Ferbia and H.R. will be very sufficient to get done what we need to get done."

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