Crime (Dawg) Time

Cornerbacks Coach Wesley McGriff's troops have been banged up in fall camp, but despite that, he's been pleased with his group's daily progress and improvement.

Ole Miss Cornerbacks Coach Wesley "Crime Dawg" McGriff must hum Monty Python's famous tune Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life in the shower.

Crime is always upbeat, regardless of the circumstances - when life gives you lemons, make lemonade must be his creed.

After a fall camp where two of his top three corners missed over a week each with sprained MCLs, McGriff refused to poor mouth.

"I have seen improvement every day and our goal is to keep improving," said McGriff, assessing fall camp to this point. "I think we have a lot of talent to work with. Our next hurdle is to show more consistency. Consistency with our technique and with our effort.

"We'll get there. We have a whole week and a half before our first game."

The way McGriff looks at things, with a positive slant always, it's just a matter of time before the needed consistency surfaces.

"The more familiar they become with our schemes, the more familiar they become with the different techniques we use, the more consistency you will see," he continued. "It's just a matter of getting all our reps in. It's going to happen.

"My guys have done everything I've asked of them, so I know good things are coming."

McGriff's upbeat nature has allowed his group to progress even in the face of Wesley Pendleton and Cliff Coleman's injuries.

"Anytime you have injuries, it sets you back a little bit. Kids learn in different ways. Some learn by seeing something, but learn by doing it. When you take the 'do' factor out, it can make them lose a step or lose a day and that results in less consistency," he conceded. "But we will get them back to speed when they come back.

"And on the positive side of that, some guys who didn't think they were going to get quality practice reps are now getting them and it's made them better. That's going to help our depth down the road."

And depth, as we all know, is critical.

Crime Dawg
File Photo

"We play a violent game. At some point, somebody is going to get hurt. At some point you are going to have injuries during the season, so you better coach depth," he explained. "We can't afford to have a big drop off when injuries do occur."

To this point, McGriff has been pleased with the way the younger guys have responded to the situation of not having Pendleton, one of his leaders, and Coleman, a veteran, in the fold.

"Senquez Golson has done a real good job for us. We didn't know what to expect from him since he did not participate in spring, but he came in here from day one and hasn't missed a practice or a rep. I want to get him more consistent with his effort and his technique, but that's a never-ending thing," Wesley stated. "I'm pleased with him to this point. He will only get better.

"Freshman Mike Hilton has done a real nice job for a first-year player. He continues to improve every day," said Crime. "Also, Anthony Standifer is a kid who can be special in time. He's a talent. He's a long, rangy guy who is smooth and has a great change of direction. He gets better every session. When he reaches his peak, which will take some time, you will see a phenomenal football player, in my opinion."

McGriff said it's not easy transitioning from high school to college, especially at corner.

"The speed of the game is so much faster on this level. The other thing is the scheme. Most of them don't have the knowledge to play in a complex scheme when they first get on this level," he noted. "As a coach, you have to be careful when they first get here. You look out there and think their movement is slow, but it's not physical, it's mental. They are having to think too much and it slows their body down.

"Once they quit thinking, they start moving faster. That comes with learning."

McGriff also coaches the Husky position, which is basically a third corner in the 4-2-5 set the Rebs use a lot.

"Dehendret Collins has picked up where he left off in spring. He had a minor setback with a shoulder injury, but he's back full speed now and making plays. He's done well," McGriff stated. "Brishen Mathews has also done some good things in camp and will be counted on. I am comfortable with both of them at Husky."

A very pleasant surprise for McGriff has been the play of Louis Covington, a late addition to the squad who has impressed thus far.

"Louis was a huge get for us. Where would we be right now if he wasn't here with the injuries we have had already? I hate to think," McGriff said. "He will give us quality play this year.

"You will see him play a lot for us on Saturdays. In the last scrimmage, he graded out above a B, which is real good. He was in the right spot at the right time. He just needs to be a little more patience and let plays come to him. When they do, make them. He was more patient in the scrimmage and it paid off for him."

Pendleton was expected back this week, but he came down with a bad case of flu, so his return has been delayed. Coleman is expected to return next week also.

"When we get everyone back and get a little more time under our belts, we are going to be fine," Crime closed.

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