Mo Wants More

Ole Miss Tight Ends Coach Maurice Harris has graded his "room" through three games. Some things have been good, some things need improvement. The following are his thoughts.

"Above average."

That's how Ole Miss Tight Ends Coach Maurice Harris evaluates his group through three games.

That leaves a lot for interpretation and a lot to the imagination. Could be better, could be worse.

But the main message is that his guys are a work in progress with room for growth and improvement. He elaborates.

"The first couple of games, Evan Engram did pretty good, but he didn't have a good game against ULL," noted Harris. "Jeremy Liggins is getting better. The more he gets used to all the different places we are putting him, which takes time, he's going to get more action. It takes time to learn the position the way we use the tight end. It took Evan some time to get it all down last year. Jeremy will get it.

"Nick Parker is steady and important in our room. Carlton Martin, who we just got two weeks ago, give us that big body that can clear the way for us in the run game."

Liggins may be the most interesting case study of the tight ends. Lots of untapped potential.

"We want to get him more involved in the passing game and more involved in more of our sets where we need more muscle," Maurice stated. "It will come. It's just a matter of what he can absorb from week to week mentally.

"I will say this - he wants to do well and he works hard. That is what makes me believe fully that he will get it all down and be a great player here in time. There's never been a question of his athletic ability."

Probably the surprise coaching move has been Martin to TE after most of his career at defensive tackle and a spring and August at offensive guard.

"Playing tight end with your hand on the ground, which is how we will use him, is similar to guard in terms of shooting your hands and in the blocking techniques. He will adjust," added Harris.

The tight ends took a blow two weeks ago when Engram's backup, Matt Brown, broke his fibula.

"Matt is a smart kid who could line up anywhere and carry out his assignments. He adjusted to every situation. I felt comfortable putting him in if Evan needed a breather," Maurice continued. "Taz Zettergren has taken that role now and we'll see how he handles it, but losing Matt was a blow to us."

Something that perked up the ears early in the interview was Engram's less than stellar showing against ULL. That's not the norm for the usually dependable Engram.

"On the TD I'Tavius ran, Evan went the wrong way. He just wasn't as focused as he needed to be, which was out of character for him," Mo said. "We limited his reps because of that. We talked after the game and since. Regardless of what is going on, he has to be locked in and focused. I don't care about the previous game or play. It's always about the next play and the next game.

"He is incredibly talented. When he is locked in, he's very good. It's my job to help him stay locked in and focused, every play, every day, every game."

"Above average."

For now, that's OK.

Down the line, Harris' expectations will rise.


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