Michael Oher -

Sophomore Left Tackle Michael Oher is pleased with the progress of the Ole Miss offensive line this season. His proof is in the results of the running game, most notably TB BenJarvus Green'Ellis' dash for 1,000 yards on the season. Read about it inside.

Ole Miss' sophomore Left Tackle Michael Oher knows the score.

Linemen do the labor in the trenches and running backs get the headlines.

But that's OK with him.

A running back's success also validates the work done by the linemen.

Thus, he - and the rest of the offensive linemen - takes great pride in the fact that junior Tailback BenJarvus Green-Ellis has 866 yards rushing through 10 games and is on pace to become the fourth Rebel RB to gain 1,000 yards in a season.

Kayo Dottley did it twice - 1949 and 1950 - and Deuce McAllister did it in 1998.

That's it - in 111 years, three times it's been accomplished in Ole Miss football history. If all goes well, BJGE will be number four.

"That's a lot of yards. There was a lot of talk early in the year that the offensive line was going to be a weak link on the team," said Oher. "If we get a back who gains 1,000 yards this year, that would mean a lot to us to prove some people wrong and to show that we are a good unit."

Oher said there is a lot of motivation in that feat.

"We respect BenJarvus for the type of back he is and the kind of person and leader he is, so all of us up front want to help get him there," Michael continued. "I told Ben before the season we had to help him get 1,500. We didn't make that goal, but 1,000 would be pretty good too."

OL Coach Art Kehoe has also jumped on the bandwagon of late, using the hoped-for milestone as a motivation for his guys up front.

"Coach Kehoe told us that's one way to prove we are making progress and prove we are a competent unit," Oher continued. "We are taking that to heart."

Run-blocking is visibly what the Rebel OL does best.

"We couldn't run the ball very well last year, even though Mico (McSwain) set the freshman record. We weren't very consistent," said Michael. "This year we have gained some consistency and it's showing game-in and game-out. We have stepped up our run-blocking and that's what Coach Kehoe wanted from us.

"Our offensive coaches want us to become a smash mouth OL, where we can line up and block any scheme and gain yards on the ground. We aren't quite there yet, but we have gained a lot of ground on that goal.

"Coach Kehoe is the reason we are better. He teaches us so much. We are still young and are still progressing, but we are way ahead of where we were last year and where most people thought we'd be when the year started. It's a mentality. Come off the ball and hit people was the first thing we had to learn. Be aggressive. Now that we have the kind of aggression the coaches are looking for, we are fine-tuning to make sure we are coming off on the right people against different schemes and looks."

Oher said the next step for the OL is to improve the pass protection for QB Brent Schaeffer.

"We have to give him more than two or three seconds to throw the ball downfield," Oher stated. "We are not getting beat physically, but we are having too many MAs (missed assignments). We get a lot of different looks from opposing defenses and sometimes we get confused and miss an assignment."

Michael said his MAs have gone way down from last year due to him gaining experience and because he's playing next to a wily veteran.

"Having Andrew Wicker at left guard has made a world of difference for me. My MAs are way down this year because Andrew is right there with the answer if I have a problem or get confused," Oher stated. "I don't know what we'd do without him kind of directing traffic and keeping us straight. He's sharp and a great leader."

Michael was moved to LT in spring and feels he has made a lot of progress himself.

"I love the position. It's hard. It's a challenge. I haven't won every battle, but I'm winning more and more as games click by," he assessed.

Having gone through the transition from OG to OT, he's encouraged by what he's seen from Maurice Miller, who moved from RG to RT three weeks ago and has been starting there ever since.

"It's not as easy as you'd think moving from the inside - where it's pound, pound, pound all day - to the outside - where you are dealing with more speed on the edge, but Mo has done a great job. He's stuck his nose in there and given the OL a boost when we needed it the most - when several guys were injured," Oher said. "I'm real proud of what he has done to shore that position up."

Oher said rest will be the key for this open week.

"We've had a tough stretch of 10 games in a row after a tough three weeks of preseason camp. We haven't had a break. That's fine - we dealt with it, but we need the break now," he explained. "I'll sleep as much as I can this weekend."

When the Rebels come back next week to begin preparations for LSU, he believes the Rebs will be fresh and ready for the last two games of the season.

"This year has not been what we hoped for in terms of wins, but I can see us getting better and it's important for us to finish strong," he closed. "It's also important to us, as an OL unit, for BenJarvus to get his 1,000 yards rushing.

"I believe the team will finish strong and along the way we'll help BenJarvus reach that goal."

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