Getting There

Ole Miss Wide Receivers Coach Grant Heard doesn't have too many complaints with his troops a third of the way through the 2013 season, but he believes the best is yet to come.

With veteran Vincent Sanders now back in the fold, and four games under their belts as a group, Heard, who holds the receivers' feet to the fire all the time, is pleased thus far, but looking for more.

Starting with Sanders, who returned to action last week against Alabama after missing the first three games with a broken collarbone sustained the second day of August practice.

"He looked like he had not played in a few weeks - he was rusty, but he knows what we are doing, which is good," Heard began. "He's working his way back into game shape, but he certainly adds depth.

"That allows us to play a lot of guys and helps us go faster on offense. Vincent will be fine. He's made strides this week in practice and will contribute more and more as he gets in better shape. He's a guy we trust."

In Sanders' absence, Heard moved Ja-Mes Logan outside from the slot and moved freshman Laquon Treadwell inside. Treadwell has started all four games and leads the Rebs in receptions with 20 thus far.

Due to the experience Treadwell has gotten, Heard feels there will be a rapid ascent to even more production.

"The more comfortable he gets, the faster he will play. He's starting to understand spacing and little things like that," Heard noted. "Before, he just knew he had a route and that was about it. Now, he's starting to understand the little things and it will pay off for him in terms of him getting open more often."

Grant Heard
Chuck Rounsaville

In Monday's press conference, Coach Hugh Freeze relayed Donte Moncrief has a minor shoulder issue. Heard said he will be ready to go against Auburn.

"Donte is tough. He's had a good week of practice and has not missed any reps. He will play and we expect him to play well," Heard stated.

Thus far this year, the Rebel receivers, particularly in the Texas game, have gotten good reviews on the thing that won't get them headlines - blocking.

"We're getting better. My guys don't mind doing the dirty work. They know what is best for the team. I'm glad we have guys who are selfless and will do that," noted Heard. "They have fun doing it. They make a game of it."

There is a competition in the wide receiver room each week when they are watching film as a group of the previous game.

"Nobody actually says 'I'm going to get more knockdowns than you,' but there will be some trash talking in there if someone shies away from a block or misses one. It shows up and the rest of them will let that person know it," Heard said.

It helps the cause that Treadwell and Moncrief are physically imposing and Logan simply likes to block. Their desire to block effectively is contagious throughout the WR room.

"Donte and Quon are imposing figures to a DB. Some linebackers aren't as big as those two. They know they are bigger than most DBs, so they try to impose their will on them," Heard noted. "Ja-Mes has really improved in that area. He will stick his nose in there and mix it up.

"When you have your three starters asserting themselves like that in the blocking arena, it trickles down to the others. They put on a clinic at Texas, but we can still improve from that and keep getting better."

There is a chance of rain Saturday in Auburn. Heard, being a former Rebel WR, understands the challenges a wet ball can present.

"You think about it a little. It can get in your head if you let it, but you just have to concentrate a little hard, look the ball in a little longer, secure the catch all the way in. If you are clean on your routes and concentrating on the little things, it shouldn't be a problem," he explained.

The Rebel wideouts will be a big part of the offensive attack each week - it's built in to the system, continuing with Auburn Saturday.

Heard believes his guys will be ready for the challenge.

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