Making Moves

There have been five position changes this spring. Channing Ward from DE to TE; Kailo Moore from RB to CB; Austin Golson from OG to RT; Carlton Martin from DT to OG and Chief Brown from S to Husky. Martin and Brown are the focus of today's piece.

In football, changing positions can be a daunting task, but junior Chief Brown and senior Carlton Martin, who also has changed his number from 92 to 50, seem to be taking the transition to a new "home" this spring in stride.

Martin has been moved from defensive tackle to right guard on the offensive line.

The 6-1, 296-pounder has never, not even in junior high school, played on the OL, but because of need and his athletic ability, Carlton was asked to make the switch heading into his final collegiate year.

Martin was approached in the offseason about the move and decided it would be in his best interest.

"The coaches came to me and suggested it. I thought about it some and decided it would be a good move," he explained. "I just want to play and this can be my opportunity to get more snaps. I had never played OL before, but I was willing to give it a try."

"We don't have a lot of depth on the offensive line," said Coach Hugh Freeze. "We also want to get more athletic up front.

"Carlton is an explosive, strong athlete. When he gets the plays down, we think he will be able to help us there."

For Martin, that's the key - learning the plays.

"Learning the plays and picking up the offense is the hardest thing," he said. "On defense, you just come off the ball. On offense, you have to take your time, be patient and understand who you are supposed to block.

"Everybody on the OL is helping me out. It's not as bad as I thought it would be when I first got there. I have to learn to turn loose - I don't want to mess up a play so I am a little hesitant right now."

It helps a little bit that he has spent years playing defense in that he can anticipate what defensive players are going to do.

Carlton Martin
Josh McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics

"I don't look at the defense much right now. I am just concentrating on what we are trying to do on offense, but it helps some to have played defense before," he stated. "I like it so far.

"The guys I'm blocking now in spring training, I have been in the same room with for three years. We go at each other pretty hard. It's good competition. I try to beat them and they try to beat me."

Having a different view of the defense has made him appreciate the makings of the 2014 Rebel D.

"They are playing fast and doing real well on defense. I think they will be the strength of our team in 2014," he evaluated.

In the forefront of his mind, however, is learning his position and competing with RS freshman Daronte Bouldin at right guard.

"Daronte is good. He's strong, stronger than me by a little bit," he said. "I'm strong, but I think the reason they wanted me on the offensive side of the ball was my quickness off the ball and the coaches think I will be good in the pulling game."

For Brown, the transition has been much easier, as he explains.

"There's no much difference in Rover and Husky, just more man-to-man coverage, which I like," he said. "Husky is my favorite position. I think it fits my skill set better because of the man-to-man challenges.

"The Husky also gets to blitz more than a Rover, which I also like."

The Husky position in Dave Wommack's defense is usually assigned to cover the slot receiver.

"I'm in a catch technique and am basically in man-to-man the whole time," he noted. "I already knew most of what there is to know because Rover and Husky are so similar, so the change has not been too difficult. They correlate with each other."

Brown is not only excited about a new position, he's very optimistic about the prospects of the Rebel defense.

"We have more depth and we have more on the way with this summer session. I think we will be much better," said Brown. "It's good to have guys like C.J. Hampton coming on board. He's very athletic - he can cover and he is physical in run support.

"We're starting to see guys like him and Anthony Alford and others make a difference out there in the overall look of our defense. We now have a true two-deep at both safety slots and Husky."

The importance of a solid two-deep is self-explanatory, but Brown takes it further.

"Guys like to play a lot, but when you are playing 75 plays a game, it takes its toll on your body," he closed. "I think having a true two-deep will help everyone stay fresher throughout games and help prevent injuries caused by fatigue. It's a good thing all around."

Mid-stream change can be difficult, but for Carlton Martin and Chief Brown, it's been welcome.

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