Blocking Machines

Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze called the job the Rebel wideouts did blocking against Texas "the best I've ever seen in a game I coached in." Indeed. It was play after play after play, but WR Jordan Holder, who also caught three balls for 39 yards, said it did not surprise him.

Ole Miss Tailback Jeff Scott gained 164 yards on 19 carries for an 8.6 yards per carry in Ole Miss' 44-23 victory over Texas in Austin Saturday.

Most of the time when a back has a big day, he will compliment their offensive line. Scott did as well, but he added a big addition to his praise.

"The wide receivers, including our tight ends, were unbelievable. Nobody was touching me until I got in the secondary. The running lanes were huge on the outside and that's the wideouts," said Scott Monday afternoon.

Ole Miss Wide Receiver Coach Grant Heard called the effort "remarkable."

"I'm watching the whole thing play after play and really, I couldn't believe what I was seeing," he said. "I know we have good blocking wide receivers, but they finally put it all together against Texas. I don't think my guys missed a block. It was remarkable."

Senior Slot Receiver Jordan Holder, who caught three passes for 39 yards and moved the chains all three times, said it did not surprise him.

"It's not just a matter of pride with us," Holder noted. "That's a big part of it, but Coach Heard demands it. If you are not an effective blocker, you aren't going to play. It's that simple.

"Plus, nobody in my room wants to be the guy who missed the block. It all shows up on film and you feel like you let the wide receiver room down when you miss a block and everyone sees it in slow motion. It's a matter of pride, it's demanded and it's a bad feeling when your teammates see you miss one."

Grant Heard
Chuck Rounsaville

Since the Texas game, many have asked why the Longhorns didn't adjust to the read option give to Scott on the outside.

The answer is that they did, but the way the wideouts were blocking, it didn't matter.

"When they changed, we changed and kept coming at them," Holder added. "I'm sure they got tired of one of us in their faces. It was the best I have ever seen us execute in that part of our game.

"But that game is over. We have to keep doing that. We've got a taste of how it feels now and we want to keep going in that direction."

Heard said the leadership in the wide receiver blocking game comes from Donte Moncrief, but it didn't take him much to get everyone on the same page.

"They all see our best receiver working hard and taking pride in blocking, not caring if he catches a pass or not as long as we are successful and he is contributing, and that carries over," Heard added. "When your best player is doing that, it's easy to get the others to follow that lead.

"Donte is being double-teamed, which limits his chances of getting passes thrown his way, but his contribution is invaluable. He's not only drawing extra attention which leaves someone else open, he's totally involved in springing guys for extra yards after they get past the first level of the defense. He is a blocking machine."

It's an unselfish approach and one that makes teams successful in the long haul.

Take Holder, for instance.

After three years of grinding, he's getting his opportunity to shine and is making the most of it, but now Vincent Sanders and Korvic Neat have reentered the picture after sitting out the first three games with injury.

If, and that's a big if, that means Jordan's time will be cut back some, he's fine with it.

"My goal was to get in the rotation, contribute in any way I can, and be trusted by the coaches and the quarterbacks," he said. "Beyond that, I am for whatever helps this team win.

"It's a whole lot of fun catching no passes and winning rather than catching a whole bunch of passes and losing. We all feel that way. I am glad Vincent and Korvic are coming back. They will help us be that much better."

Nobody celebrated Scott's success Saturday night harder than the wide receivers.

"We knew we had done our part, even if nobody else noticed," Holder said.

But it was one of those performances that even the novice football fan could see. It stuck out like a lime green Kia in a car lot of black Mercedes.

"We want to be known as the best receiving corps in the nation, but to do that, it's not just about catching passes," Holder closed. "It's about having an overall game.

"Blocking is a big part of that and we'll keep working at it and getting better."

If you need proof, ask Texas.

They understand.

OM Spirit Top Stories