Flatt works hard to compete for starting job

Ethan Flatt, the 4th-year junior signal-caller who started nine games in 2004 for the Ole Miss Rebels, is excited about fall camp, which begins Saturday morning.

Ethan Flatt admits he sometimes feels like the forgotten man. But he's hoping the upcoming practices during the dog days of summer will change that.

Flatt, who started the final nine games last season for the Ole Miss Rebels, enters his fourth year – he's a junior in eligibility – with the most starting experience of any of the squad's top three signal callers. But he knows that currently it's all about how he does the next few weeks that will dictate his opportunities in the 2005 season.

"I've just tried to look back on last year and learn from it," said the 6-foot-6, 218-pound Flatt from Nashville's David Lipscomb High School. "Going into this camp, I'm going to prepare and focus on being ready if my time comes this season. I'm really excited about the camp. Last year at this time, I was still pretty young and inexperienced."

The Rebels went 4-5 in the nine games Flatt started. The coaches from the previous staff chose to use all three quarterbacks – Flatt, Robert Lane, and Micheal Spurlock, who started the first two games of the season – extensively throughout the season. Flatt appreciated and enjoyed the playing time, but the uncertainty of when he would be inserted into the game assisted in some inconsistencies - for all three Rebel signal-callers.

"Last year was tough going through the losses and with the rotations," said Flatt, who appeared in every game in 2004 except the season-opening home loss to Memphis. "But it made you learn quick and grow up quick. That's what I'm bringing into camp this season, more experience and maturity."

Of course, Flatt went through spring drills under the new staff. He wasn't pleased with his spring but said he feels he learned a lot about the offense under head coach Ed Orgeron and staff.

"I started slow (in the spring)," said Flatt, who finished the spring strong with an 11-of-18 showing in the Red-Blue game for 112 yards with a touchdown toss to Carlos Suggs. "It was hard to put a finger on why. But about midway through the spring I felt I really improved my performances and finished strong. I was really proud of that. I felt I had a good spring game."

Flatt and his teammates had their first team meeting of the season Thursday afternoon and will practice for the first time this preseason Saturday morning.

"I'm ready to go and excited about the opportunities coming up," he said. "I worked hard this summer. I'm faster than I've ever been. I'm stronger than I've ever been. It's been a good summer for me, and I hope that continues to pay off in the days ahead."

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