Moving Up

Keith Lewis is trying his best to make a move. And he looks to be succeeding.

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The sophomore Ole Miss linebacker from Tampa, who played in every game last season, missed the entire spring with injury. His position coach, Tom Allen, said it's good to see Lewis back on the field and improving day by day.

"Another we're trying to bring along is Keith Lewis. He missed all spring," Allen said of the linebacker corps, mentioning specifically the shoulder injury Lewis had back then. "For him it's learning the system. He's got all the physical tools. He's got all the combinations of size and speed. And he plays really hard. So we're seeing him get better and better and competing for a starting spot there in the middle."

Lewis agreed this summer and this August camp have been going well for him.

"I'm enjoying the new system. I'm learning it," he said. "They've got me playing Mike, and now Wolf, in our base package. It's easy to learn, for the most part. Everybody's coming together as a defense."

As for any leftover pain or problem from the spring, Lewis says no way. There is none.

"I'm back 100 percent right now," he said.

Back during the spring, he didn't let those 15 days of drills go to waste, however. He said he joined another fellow Rebel who was sidelined, and they did what they could to "stay in the game" so to speak.

"Me and D.T. (Shackelford) would be out here every day with our playbooks," Lewis said. "Coming in, right behind the coaches, giving the signals, too, and learning it right with them." And he continues to learn. Lewis said not one, not two, but three positions are in his possible playbook. So he's absorbing all he can about each of them.

Keith Lewis
Chuck Rounsaville

"I'm really having to learn three – stinger (strong), wolf (weak), and mike (middle)," he said. "We've got great coaches. Anytime we need to learn something, they're there to help us. So it's not too difficult to learn one over the other."

And it's of little concern to Lewis which position they choose for him to play. He just wants to be out there taking care of business for the Rebels.

"I just like to hit, so it really doesn't matter (which of the three positions)," he said.

He did get quite a bit of playing time in 2011 during a 2-10 season and made one start. He doesn't want to ever go through anything like that again.

"Playing a lot last season, I learned you've got to leave it all on the field," he said. "Our season wasn't that well last season. But just stepping up and becoming a leader and having more confidence out there. That's the key. I came here to develop as a young man and better myself. I'm still here and I've got to get better."

Allen said Lewis should continue to get better and better and play a big part in what they're trying to accomplish.

"Keith Lewis, we're expecting him to step up and challenge for a spot," Allen said. "He didn't play in the spring, and so we're bringing him along. As his confidence grows, he'll be a guy that's got the best combination of size and speed out of all our linebackers."

"I'm about 239 (pounds) right now," said the 6-foot-2 Lewis. "So I like that. (The team needs even) more leadership for the most part. We had leadership last year but we're a family." A family, which includes Keith Lewis, that wants to win, starting now.

"We're not trying to have the same season as last year," he said emphatically. "Tired of it. Got to change that."

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