Mico finds a home in offensive backfield

Versatile, talented Mico McSwain was once a wide receiver. Then he became a free safety. Now he's a running back. He says whatever it takes to help the team win, that's what he's willing to do.

Mico McSwain has done a lot of moving around the past year.

Last fall during his redshirt season, the 6-foot-1, 203-pounder from Richton was a wide receiver. With a new coaching staff in the spring, he was a defensive back, a free safety in the new regime.

He remained there until during August camp when he was moved to running back. After three games of his first season to play at Ole Miss, it appears McSwain has found a home in the offensive backfield. He got his first start at running back against Wyoming and becomes more comfortable there with each game.

"I'm still learning," said McSwain, who had his best game yet in the Rebels' 24-14 loss to the Cowboys when he gained 114 yards on seven carries with one touchdown. "I feel I'm about 90 percent right now (as far as learning the offense). I'm close to being real comfortable back there."

McSwain says having been a receiver in his past, he feels he can also be effective catching passes out of the backfield.

"I can catch the football," said McSwain, who signed with Ole Miss originally in 2003 but spent a season at Hargrave Military Academy. "I've been a receiver before, so I feel that is an area I can help. Hopefully I can do some good there."

McSwain says other aspects of his game are coming around as far as the new position goes, like pass protection for one.

"That is some of where my weaknesses are, things like that," said McSwain, who rushed for 30 yards on six carries in the Rebels' 10-6 win at Memphis, and 72 yards on six carries with a touchdown in the Rebs' 31-23 loss at Vanderbilt. "But I've been working hard and learning where to go and not to go in situations. I'm getting all that fixed."

Every day at practice and with each passing game, McSwain says things click for him even more. He feels he is going to be a big part of the Rebel offense.

"I'm getting more comfortable with it," said McSwain, who also excelled in basketball and track in high school. "I just like running the football. As long as I have the ball in my hands, I feel like I can make plays."

McSwain has certainly made some big ones for the Rebels so far in only three games. A 53-yard run for a touchdown in the setback in Nashville made a lot of national highlight films. McSwain started with the football to the near side of the field, but when he got hemmed in, he reversed his field, racing basically all the way across the field and down into the end zone 53 yards for a touchdown. The statistics said it was a 53-yard run, but it was more like 93 yards, all things considered.

Then against Wyoming, McSwain got the Rebels' first touchdown of the game on a 60-yard run as he outraced Cowboy defenders for six points.

McSwain says he doesn't make plans to have such spectacular highlights as those each game, but he certainly hopes they continue to come.

"I just play the game the way I feel like I need to play it," he said. "So far it's just played out that way for me. In that respect it's been going good."

Making big plays is nice, Mico says, but the bottom line is victory.

"It means a lot to me to make big plays like that. But if we don't win, then it really means nothing. I want to win more than anything else."

"We are really excited about the play of Mico McSwain," said UM head coach Ed Orgeron. "He brings a lot to our offense, and we need to get him the football more."

The Rebel coaches have been using McSwain's speed to get him outside and try to help a struggling running game. Mico says he believes that's a good thing for the offense.

"I believe it's because I am more effective out there," said McSwain. "I've got speed around the corners, so if I get outside, it's tough for them to catch me."

And if the defense adjusts to McSwain running outside?

"Then I'll just run inside."

Sounds like Mico McSwain has indeed finally found a home.

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