Petre Thomas

Led by returning starters Ken Webster and Tony Bridges, the CBs should be solid

With a pair of returning starters, a veteran "third man" and some promising youngsters, Ole Miss Cornerbacks Coach Jason Jones doesn't have much to complain about as the 2016 season rapidly approaches.

Jason Jones met the media "regulars" with a pretty wide smile on his face.

And why not?

He's got two returning, proven starters, a very solid "next in line" on both sides and some youngsters he is really pleased with as they progress.

But for giggles, let's start at the top of his twp positions with junior Kendarius Webster, the bell cow of the cornerback room. Webster put on 15 pounds during the offseason and has gained praise from his mentor.

"Ken had an incredible offseason. He worked his tail off all spring and summer in the weight room and he did a great job in the film room going over tape of last year and working on the areas he felt he was deficient in," said Jones. "You could see it in practice with the plays he is making. With the extra strength and weight, he is able to hold his own. He can go get the ball and he doesn't get knocked around now.

"One other thing is that he had to improve his plant-and-drive to his left. He was good at going to the right, but he needed to work on going left. He also did a lot of drills flipping his hips and getting his eyes around quickly. I liked the way he worked on his ball skills as well - when he has a chance for a pick, I think he will get it this year. He jumped a lot of rope this summer to in order to pick up some foot quickness. He worked hard on a lot of areas and it is showing up in camp."

On the other side, senior Tony Bridges returns as a starter as well.

"He has had a good camp and has come a long way from last season also," 'noted Jason. "He's more mature and focused. He's also more comfortable with the defensive calls. I hear him talking a lot with our young safeties. Tony's understanding of the defense is much better. I've been pleased with his progress this fall camp."

The third man is Carlos Davis, a senior, and next up is Kailo Moore, also a senior.

"He has had a great camp and he is going to be a force on special teams. He worked a lot with Ken this summer and he has shown some of the same kind of improvement Ken has. We have not apprehension putting Carlos in the game and Kailo has done some good things too," Jones assessed.

The most improved, however, goes to the two freshmen, redshirt freshman Jalen Julius and true frosh Jaylon Jones.

"They hold their own against our receivers, for the most part, and improve daily, it seems. I really like the pace they are progressing," he explained. "I am trying to rotate five guys, get five guys ready. Cam (Ordway) is also trying to elevate his game, but right now he's making a few more mistakes than the younger guys and they have gotten ahead of him for now. he's still working hard though. He will come around." 

Jones is not overly concerned the secondary breaking in new safeties and he explains why.

"Zedrick Woods played a lot for us last year and he's very smart. C.J. Hampton knows what to do. Both of them are at free safety. Myles Hartsfield is also doing a great job of communicating for someone who is brand new back there, but the corners can help them out if needed. My guys will always look back at them and confirm the call or correct if they have to, but they haven't had to do a lot of that in camp," said Jason. "They've done a good job running the show and I expect that to continue."

The Rebel corners did an admirable job last year with not a lot of experience to go on. 

With more experience and some solid depth, it should be even better this time around.

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