On The 'O' Side

For the first two years of his Ole Miss football career, Derrick Jones has been a dual threat for the Rebels. Or at least he could have been.

Versatile and talented enough to play defensive back and wide receiver in college, Jones spent his time mainly with the defense the first two years.

Heading into year three, as spring practice winds up, Jones is hanging out with the offense these days.

Jones was the leading receiver for the Red team Saturday with three receptions for 35 total yards. That actually tied with Damore’ea Stringfellow of the Blue team, who also had three, for top receiver in the contest.

“I think it went great,” said the 6-foot-2, 182-pounder from Eupora of the recently completed spring drills. “I learned plays and I’m finally getting the hang of the offense. I think things are going great for me.”

In his freshman campaign, Jones had 27 tackles, including seven solos along with a couple of pass breakups and one tackle for loss, playing in nine games with four starts.

Last season as a sophomore, Jones caught five passes for 55 yards and one touchdown. On defense he had five tackles including two solos and one breakup. He played in all 13 games.

Jones likes the fact that he’s found a home on offense. He said it’s good to feel comfortable there.

“It gives me a lot of confidence knowing I’m going to be in this spot,” he said. “Just keeping on working in one spot, not wondering if I’m going to be a corner or a receiver. Now I just go to work.”

Jones said he’s looking forward to this fall maybe more than ever, knowing his role and trying his best to be great in it.

“I think it’s just another year in the program, getting the hang of things,” he said. “Just being on one side finally, and being able to attack that one side of the ball.”

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said the receivers have to step up more as far as catching the ball. There were plenty of incompletions Saturday, and he believes the unit can be much better.

"We should be further ahead at wide receiver than where we are,” he said. “We are having far too many drops as you saw today. We are going to shake out of it. They are going to be fine.”

There are three quarterbacks out there on the field throwing passes to the receivers. At this point, the signal-caller job is open. Jones said adjusting to each isn’t that difficult but has its challenges.

“I wouldn’t say it’s too tough,” Jones said. “But it’s difficult when you’ve got one quarterback who zips it every time, you’ve got another quarterback that knows how much to put on each throw. It can be difficult, but it’s not something we can’t handle though.”

Jones said one will emerge and all are capable.

“DeVante (Kincade) is more like a high energy guy,” he said. “Ryan (Buchanan) is more like your quiet quarterback and leads by example. Chad (Kelly), I haven’t really been in the huddle with him too much But he’s got a motor, too.”

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