Naturals

Ole Miss WR Coach Grant Heard was short a couple of able bodies in spring training, but his troops were still able to perform at a high level, even with several of his guys changing positions.

Prior to spring training 2014, the offensive coaching staff made some strategic personnel moves at the wide receiver positions.

Sophomore Laquon Treadwell, a Freshman All-American in 2013, was moved from the slot to wideout to take up the slack left when Donte Moncrief decided to turn pro a year early. Quincy Adeboyejo, who played on the outside last year, was moved to the slot. Two defensive players, Quadarias Mireles and Quintavius Burdette, were also placed in the slot.

Based on spring performance, WR Coach Grant Heard was pleased with the results of the moves and of his whole group.

"Other than being short a couple of players, and some guys missing some days due to injury, spring went well," noted Heard. "We still are not where we need to be depth-wise, but it got a lot of young kids some needed reps and the ones out there performed well. As a whole, we got better and the guys are starting to understand the schemes and concepts better."

The most notable absence was senior outside receiver Vincent Sanders, who missed the entire spring due to a worse-than-originally-thought hamstring pull.

"We missed him a lot because he's the old guy in the room now and we needed his influence to help with some of these younger guys. Plus, he needed a big spring because he missed some time last fall as well," noted Heard. "The good thing is he's a veteran and he knows what he needs to do to get ready."

Treadwell, who led the team in receptions last year, took to the outside seamlessly.


Quincy Adeboyejo
Thomas Graning

"He had a really good spring. He had to make some adjustments, but outside is his more natural position," Heard continued. "Conceptually, the space he operates in now is bigger and coverages are different. He'll have to deal with having press coverage in his face more. He'll be facing cornerbacks instead of safeties and linebackers now. Laquon is strong and he knows how to use his body. He just needs to work on some of the different routes he didn't have to run last year. He's a big, physical kid who is going to make a lot of plays for us."

Staying on the outside, Collins Moore had a somewhat unexpected spring session. So good, in fact, he was named the most improved offensive player of spring training.

"Collins had an unbelievable spring – he really did," Heard assessed. "He put in a lot of extra time in the offseason and it showed in spring. He probably made more plays than anyone for the whole spring. He's going to be a great asset to us, a guy who can go in and make plays for us. Right now, he is number one opposite Laquon – he's earned that. Vincent is going to have to come back in August and earn the number one spot and I don't see Collins, based on spring performance, giving it up without a fight. That's a good problem to have."

Cody Core also made noise on the outside in spring training, but Heard believes more is in store.

"Cody was solid, but he has to be more consistent catching the ball. He can make plays, big plays, but sometimes he seems to lose his concentration and drop a catchable ball here and there. Cody has the speed to be a deep threat," he noted. "I was hoping for a good spring from Trey (Bledsoe), but he got banged up and didn't get as many reps as I would hope. He's still young and learning."

On the inside, Adeboyejo is the definite leader of the ‘Q' pack.

"The best move we made all spring on the offensive side of the ball, in my opinion, was moving Quincy to the slot. Every time he touches the ball, he's a threat to take it all the way," Grant noted. "He's built more for the inside. He's had to learn to play in smaller spaces where things happen a little quicker, but he picked it up well before he missed the last few days with a groin injury. If he will have a good offseason and get a little stronger, he will be an impact player for us next year.

"Mireles and Burdette did OK, but it's a learning process for them. They were both on defense last year and the way we call things was totally foreign to them. They were feeling their way through most of the spring. They will get better with reps and should be able to contribute some next year. Both have speed and can make you miss, but they have to keep learning at a rapid pace."

The Rebs have two signees coming in – Markell Pack and Dayall Harris – who Heard believes will make an early mark on his group.

"We will start Markell out in the slot, even though he can play both," Heard explained. "Dayall will be on the outside. I will be surprised of Markell doesn't play quickly. Dayall has a chance too, he just needs to get a little bigger and stronger. Markell reminds me a lot of Adeboyejo, which is a good thing."

Overview: Treadwell is a natural on the outside. Ditto on Adeboyejo on the inside. Moore surprised everyone. Core showed potential. Sanders should be 100% in August. That's a good, maybe even better than good, foundation for success with the receivers, but in a tempo offense, 6-7 able bodies are needed. Will the other two come from players already on the roster or newbies? For this group to be all it can be, additional help is needed and must develop quickly.


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