The Little Things

Sophomore WR Vincent Sanders had a breakout day against number one Alabama. His patience has paid off, but he expects more from himself and the Rebel offense when they start taking care of the 'little things.'

Ole Miss sophomore Wide Receiver Vincent Sanders had just four catches for 51 yards through the first four games.

Counterpart Donte Moncrief, meanwhile, had been racking up some big numbers, having caught 19 passes for 343 yards and four TDs in the first four outings.

But Vince was not concerned – he knew his time would come, and it did. Against Alabama, the number one team in the nation, the Tide gave Moncrief some extra coverage attention, leaving Sanders in one-on-one coverage.

Sanders, a 6-1, 190-pounder, responded with seven catches for 46 yards. Not mind-blowing numbers, but certainly way more action than he had been getting.

"I was patient in the first four games because sooner or later the opponents were going to realize how special Donte is and that was going to turn the rest of us loose more," said Sanders. "We prepared really hard for the Alabama game because our coaches felt they would put men over the top on Donte and we'd have man coverage.

"When we saw that, the rest of us were excited. We knew we would get our opportunities." Vincent wants to help create an atmosphere around the receivers that makes opponents "pick their poison."

"I have confidence I can make plays when teams want to overload on Donte and take him out of the game or double him. Donte is a special player, but I want to get to his level and make it difficult on defenses to hone in on just one of us," he continued. "I'd like for it to get to a point where they think twice about that knowing that me and Ja-Mes (Logan) can hurt them too. "We are not there yet, but having a career game against the number one team in the country will head things in that direction."

Sanders was a highly-recruited player out of Noxubee County in 2009, but was sort of lost in the shuffle after redshirting in 2010 and seeing a freshman group come on board in 2011 that featured Moncrief, Nickolas Brassell and Tobias Singleton.

Vincent ended up with 10 catches for 110 yards last year, but he did not get discouraged. In fact, he worked that much harder.

"After the season, when we got Coach (Paul) Jackson in here, I doubled up on my workload to get bigger, faster and stronger," he stated. "I know I am stronger because blocking is easier. I can hold my own with DBs this year. Last year, I had some issues blocking."

This year, Brassell and Singleton are both MIA, Nick going the JUCO route for a year, Tobias transferring out. Consequently, Sanders had a free lane this fall camp to exhibit his wares. During fall camp, Vincent laid it all on the line, becoming one of the leaders of the receiving corps, being an example for full-speed effort on every snap and producing good numbers when the opportunities arose.

"I'm better this year, no doubt. I have had to be patient, but that's not an issue," he said. "I'm more comfortable out there and I am way more comfortable in this offense. I think it fits my skill set better. I kept believing in myself and asserting myself and things started to click.

"I also knew that the way this offense is set up I would get my chances. We throw it all over the yard told me that. It does not bother me at all that Donte has been the first option – he's a great player and a great friend. I am very happy for him, but, again, I knew my time would come, especially with someone as dangerous as him on the other side of the field. They can't take us all out of the game."

Sanders feels the whole offense got a boost Saturday night against the Tide, despite only having 200 yards of total offense.

"We had two beautiful drives, man. It gives us confidence we can score on anybody," he added. "Once you go look at the film, you realize we did a lot of stuff to stop ourselves and it was all little stuff.

"On one play, I took a split that was one yard too wide that prevented me from getting to a safety that had I been lined up right, I could have made the block and sprung Jeff (Scott) for a big run. I give Alabama a lot of credit for being a great defense, but really, it's still about us and not stopping ourselves. If we can clean up some of those really little mistakes, we can be real potent. Way better."

It's all about the "little things," Vincent said. "People don't realize how much difference one small false move makes. Most of the time, when you see it on film, you just shake your head. A quarter of a step sometimes means the difference in an unsuccessful play and a successful one," he explained. "Football on this level really is a game of inches.

"When we get those things fixed, I don't see how anyone can stop us. We are getting better realizing that and correcting things week by week. We will get it all put together soon and when we do it will be fun to watch, I think." Vincent has not watched much film on Texas A&M yet, but he knows what to expect.

"Every game in this conference is a battle, best man wins. The players who execute the best usually win. That's our next step in the process of building this team back up – executing better," he closed. "We know we can do it when we do things right, we just have to do things right more often."

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