Javon Patterson/Petre Thomas

Freeze praises Rebel OL so far in spring training

When junior Left Guard Javon Patterson heard Coach Hugh Freeze was praising the offensive line as one of the stalwarts of spring training, Patterson was not surprised. He wants that type of responsibility for himself and his OL mates.

"We should be good. We have seven or eight guys in our rotation who played a lot last year. We only lost one senior (Robert Conyers) and our rotation was pretty good last year," said Patterson, who is entering his junior season. "We should be a strong part of our team because of our experience and the amount of cohesiveness we have."

And the fact that the Rebel OL, even with a staff upheaval, has the same mentor, Matt Luke, which gives them even more continuity.

“We’re using basically the same schemes with some tweaks here and there with Coach (Phil) Longo's offense. We’re having to learn new terminology, but we’ve gotten that down pretty quickly," Patterson noted. “We’re just trying to get the backs in space for some downhill runs. So far, I think we’re getting that done and I think we’re doing a pretty good job giving Shea (Patterson) time to throw."

Patterson said the announced self-imposed postseason ban from the latest NCAA allegations hurt, but the team was over that quickly.

Ole Miss OL Javon Patterson (Photo credit: Petre Thomas)

"It was devastating, but we’re a family, and when we had our team meeting the next day, we put it behind us and have come back with more energy and motivation than ever," he said. “We’re playing for each other now and nothing else. We’re looking forward, nothing backwards. That's over.

“It’s no longer an issue. We’re just trying to get better now and get ready for 12 tough games next year. We’re going to go out there and play every game like it’s our last. We still have to play Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas and all the other great SEC teams."

Patterson said he is fired up to have Jordan Wilkins back running the football for the Rebs.

“He’s running with so much authority now. He’s so demonstrative now," Patterson said. "I'm excited to block for him. He’ll have some big runs this year and a great season, I  believe. He’s given all of us a lot of energy and leadership."

And he is also impressed with Patterson, the sophomore QB.

"Ever since Chad Kelly got hurt, Shea has taken over and been a leader. Shea called us up the day after Chad was hurt and said ‘I’m here, and we’re going to be fine. I'm not going anywhere and I will produce for this team.' He works hard and he takes control. He’ll be a great quarterback here," Patterson added. “It’s also great to get D.K. Metcalf back after a season of injury. He’s such a freakish athlete, and he’s so good going up and getting the ball even when he’s tightly covered.

"But look — we have no issues with having offensive weapons everywhere. That’s what makes it so exciting to be on the o-line blocking for those guys. And Coach Longo, who is a great guy, has a knack with his offense. He knows his stuff and he loves the game. His passion is contagious."

Patterson has become one of the leaders on the Rebel offense and is willing to shoulder the responsibility of the OL being a strong point of the team.

"It's time for us to take control. We have talent, depth and experience. Nothing should stop us now," he closed.

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