Short Shots

Instead of spending our allotted time with two or three of the available 25, or so, coaches and players at Media Days this afternoon, we opted to get quick hitters from a most of them. Read about it inside.

* Rebel Tailback Jeff Scott had what S&C Coach Paul Jackson called an "absolutely monster summer." With that in mind, what are Jeff's goals for the 2013 season after rushing for over 800 yards in 2012?

"Number one is to help my team win, but individually, like all running backs, I'd like to break the 1,000-yard barrier," noted Scott. "I trained hard this spring and summer and feel stronger, faster, quicker and in better shape than I have ever been. I know my assignments, I had a good year last year and I want my last year to be a great one. I've grown up. I'm more focused on the important things."

* WR Ja-Mes Logan believes he, Donte Moncrief, Vincent Sanders and some other receivers will be better this year than last season for one simple reason.

"We don't have to think anymore about what to do when a play is called at the line of scrimmage in our tempo game. It's all second nature," said Logan, who is now 198 pounds and has cut his 40 time from 4.6 to 4.5. "Experience is so vital on this level and we have it now. I think we are all going to have big years. We're counting on it."

* MLB Mike Marry, donning the coveted #38 jersey for his final campaign, can't believe he's a senior.

"It seems like I was a freshman last year," he laughed. "Now, I'm the leader of the defense and I take that responsibility seriously. It's an honor that your coaches and teammates will put that much on you. With that, though, I have to make sure I am doing everything the right way. If not, nobody follows you. One thing I am excited about is that I am finally 100% healthy. No more hamstring problems, no more plantar fasciitis. I am finally able to run the way I know I am capable of running and that's going to help me a lot."

Ja-Mes Logan
Ben Garrett

* Nick Parker was recently moved from running back to tight end. At 235 pounds, he was a logical choice and says he is excited about the switch because he thinks his skill set matches what that position is asked to do in this system and there was a log jam at running back.

"It's a challenge and I'm excited about it. In this system, tight end is not in the trenches every play. We line up everywhere, go in motion, do all kinds of different things, which match my skills, I think," Nick stated. "I think by the end of August camp, I will know what to do and can get it done."

* PK Andrew Ritter sat out last year, but is back for his fifth year this season. Being out a year has made him anxious about the 2013 season.

"I feel like this is my first college game again and that's a great feeling. I'm jittery and anxious and that's awesome and exciting. I couldn't be happier than having this opportunity," he said. "I came here to handle kickoffs and be the field goal/PAT kicker. This is my first shot at all those duties and I intend to do a good job of it. Again, I'm real excited."

* Punter Tyler Campbell was also redshirted in a bold move by Coach Hugh Freeze in 2012.

"It was hard just sitting there watching my team and not being able to help, but I agree with the decision and am really glad we did it that way. I can't tell you how pumped I am about getting back on the field," Campbell expressed. "I worked hard on directional punting and on doing the Aussie pooch punts. I can tell I have gotten better in being able to kick it left or right and my pooch punt has good backspin on it. I'm ready to have a good year and help this team win games."

* Center Evan Swindall believes the hard part - learning and accepting the tempo offense - is behind the offensive line. With that in mind, he expects bigger and better things from the men in the trenches this year.

"I'm totally comfortable with the system and the tempo now. We have real good chemistry on the OL and we have experience," Evan noted. "We have embraced the tempo way of doing things. I think that started to show in the later games last year and we expect to take that into this year."

* OG Aaron Morris will be limited in August drills due to an offseason shoulder operation, but he's confident he will be ready for the season opener at Vandy in less than four weeks.

"My shoulder is going to be fine. I am limited right now, but I will be full go soon. My conditioning is not where I want it because I spent so much time rehabbing the shoulder in the spring and summer, but I will get there. I'm going to double up and get it done," Morris said. "There is no doubt in our minds that we are going to be a better OL this year than we were last year. The experience we have working together, the embracing of the tempo offense, knowing all our calls instinctively and being a year older and stronger are all factors that will help us improve this season."

Bo Wallace
Chuck Rounsaville

* TE Jack Nuismer has seen all the preseason reports that state Ole Miss doesn't have a tight end. He said everyone in the tight end room is out to prove that theory wrong.

"I wish I could say we don't read that stuff, but we do. We're tired of hearing it and we are looking to change that perception," Jack stated. "We feel we have something to prove, not for ourselves but for our team. We want to be contributors - whatever it takes. We may not be the touchdown guys, but we can do the little things to help our team. I am confident we can get that done because we have the want-to factor in that room. It's a little frustrating to read that stuff, but it's also a motivator. We don't like the word can't. I like our room and I am impressed with our freshman Evan Engram. He is fast, has good hands and has a good knowledge of adjusting his routes. He has more polish than most freshmen I have seen."

* TB Mark Dodson made the decision to come to Ole Miss early so he could go through spring practice last year. It is a decision - after one practice this August - he knows was the correct one.

"I learned so much in spring and learned to work through being banged up a little too," said Dodson. "Spring training was the best thing that happened to me. I was very comfortable with everything in the first practice and I feel like I have an edge over Kailo (Moore) and Jordan (Wilkins) because they look like I looked the first day of spring - kind of lost and tentative. I feel good about where I am thanks to coming here early."

* DT Lavon Hooks also came to Ole Miss last spring and got a benefit from being here early, setting himself up for what he called a comfortable fall.

"I'm still a little fuzzy on some things, but I have the big picture and most of the small things down. I feel I can start advancing at a rapid pace now," Hooks commented. "What makes me feel good is that I am playing so much faster now than I was in spring and I know I can play even faster. I'm motivated to get where I know I can be."

* Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner said he's finally glad to have an "almost-healthy" Bo Wallace back in the fold, but he's taking nothing for granted.

"We are going to be real careful with him. We have a throw limit (50) on him right now and will see where that takes us," Werner mentioned. "We are going to keep a jugs gun on him and when he gets it to 50 mph, we'll know he's where he needs to be."

Werner reverted back to his common denominators when he discussed his goals for offensive improvement this year.

"My focus is the same - less turnovers and better reads. Those were the things that haunted us last year," he smiled. "Those will always be my keys because they will always be urgent. We also are stressing going faster in our second year and staying on schedule - staying ahead of the chains. That goes back to better reads sometimes."

* Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack also has his August goals set in stone.

"All of this is contingent, of course, on us playing with the same great effort we did last year, but given that, I told the guys last night we have to eliminate some mistakes and improve our third-down defense. Obviously, our biggest mission is to develop enough depth to be able to finish games fresher," he said. "Also, I want us to be known as a tough, physical defense that flies to the football, which we did last year for the most part, but we can improve on this year. I think it is important that we are in the second year of being in the system because we can make more adjustments, expand our gameplans and react quickly without thinking as much, which will help cut down mistakes and make us a faster defense."

Cody Prewitt
Ben Garrett

* S Cody Prewitt is expecting the Rebel defense to play faster and more effectively than a year ago and will be extremely disappointed if that is not the case.

"Our expectations for the way we attack offenses this year is much higher than it was last year, and it should be," said Prewitt. "We know what to do and we should play ten times faster than last year and we will only get faster and better. We have to be a better third-down defense, but a lot of our issues last year with third downs was missing assignments or being confused at times. That should not be the case this year."

* OT Emmanuel McCray is grinning from ear-to-ear. Why? He's never felt better, physically, after a couple of years struggling with knee issues and chronic tendonitis.

"Our training staff has done a great job with me. I have not felt this good since I was in high school," said McCray. "I'm stronger, moving better and can last longer than I ever have. When my knees feel good, my confidence is so much higher and my play is so much better. I can't wait to play without hurting in the latter stages of games."

* DT Bryon Bennett also got the "monster summer" tag from Jackson. For the first time, he said, he "gave it up" in the summer and he can see the dividends.

"A light bulb came on for me and I looked in the mirror and said 'I can do more.' So I set out to do just that in the summer," Bennett stated. "I slimmed down, got stronger, helped my movement - I feel better heading into August than I ever have. I have made the investment and I can't wait to see what that investment produces. I am also really excited about our DL. I think we have depth and we are going to be able to attack more because things are coming easier mentally. It makes a difference."

* DL Coach Chris Kiffin is excited about a lot of his guys being in their second year of the defensive system.

"Year two in the system is huge for us. This morning, in our first install practice, we didn't miss a beat. My guys were getting lined up correctly and knew all the checks without hesitation," said Kiff. "We should be able to play much faster and be able to put more on them this year and that will help us tremendously, in my opinion. We still have work to do in developing solid depth, but I feel we are going to get there and keep getting better as the season progresses."

* DT Woodrow Hamilton also got the "monster" designation from Jackson concerning his offseason work.

"I'm just to the point where I am tired of people saying what I could be. Even though I redshirted a year and was hurt for eight weeks last year, it's my time to reach my potential," Woody noted. "I just want to turn it up. I am leaner and stronger and in great shape. I sold out in every workout this summer. I'm just to the point where I need to do better for my team. One day after my career is over, I want to come back here and have fans say there goes Woody, he helped his team and for my kids to hear that. Doing a good job is important to me, for now and for the future."

* Q. Burdette moved from safety to corner this summer. He feels that's a natural position for him.

"I knew last year that I would eventually be moved and I am happy I have been," said Burdette. "I have the speed and ability to play there and I intend to make it happen. I get a little ticked off when I read how thin we are at corner. We are going to be fine at corner and we are going to compete to prove that thought wrong."

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