Senior Tailback BenJarvus Green-Ellis didn't play in the Red-Blue Game to cap spring training because he had nothing to prove and the coaches did not want to risk an injury, but he had a productive spring. Make no mistake about it, he is "the man" on offense for the Rebels. Read about it inside.

Ole Miss' Senior Tailback BenJarvus Green-Ellis is hard to get a handle on sometimes in an interview.

There are times he lets you in and times he doesn't. There are times when the wide, inviting smile lights up a room and times when he shoots darts with his piercing eyes.

There are instances where you get an elaborate answer to the most probing type of question and times when you get a brief, beating-around-the-bush response to an innocent query.

He's not moody or sullen at all, but he's cautious and analytical. Don't try something as amateurish and benign as trying to lead his train of thought in a certain direction - he has a mind of his own, quick and concise. Calm and collected.

There's a time for play and a time for business. When it's business time, don't try to goad him into joking around. When it's time to compete, he is relentless.

His off-the-field personality reflects the way he plays football.

Every word has a purpose just as every move has a purpose. Every reaction to a question is met like a reaction to a defender.

You get the feeling he wants to be heard, but he doesn't want to say everything that's on his mind.

In short, he's complicated, bright, mature and driven. He seems to have two goals - being the best running back he can possibly be and getting a degree, and heaven help anyone who gets in his way of accomplishing either.

It is that complexity and drive that makes him "the man" on the Rebel offense. It was those traits that made him only the third 1,000-yard rusher in Ole Miss football history, joining Kayo Dottley and Deuce McAllister in that elite group.

He's from New Orleans, but likes the New York Yankees. Why? Because they win. Winning and competition is what life is all about to BJGE.

We caught up with BenJarvus recently to discuss spring training and the 2007 season. As usual, he quickly moved away from HIS spring performance to the TEAM'S spring accomplishments.

"We just tried to go out and run the offense the way it's supposed to be run. We focused a lot on protecting our quarterback to help open up the passing game and tried to perfect our zone running plays," he said.

BenJarvus' philosophy on football is about as simple as it gets. The maturity in his approach behooves playing at a high level.

"I try to play every play in practice like it's my last one and keep working hard every step of the way," he concluded. "When you take that approach, good things happen. It's not complicated."

When asked what he needs to do to improve on his 2006 effort, Ben is - again - concise.

"I worked hard on reading blocks and setting up defenders. I worked on making bigger plays when the opportunities come up, beating guys in the secondary," he explained. "There is a rhythm to running the ball and playing the game at any position. I wanted to make sure we all played hard every snap so we could all stay in rhythm."

While BenJarvus has faith in his ability to gain a lot of yards - and has proven he can do so, he realizes he can't do it on his own. Thus, a key to spring was upping the ante in the Reb passing game.

"You have to have balance. If a defense knows you can only run, they will put 11 men in the box. If they know all you can do is pass, they drop 7. You have to be able to do both to keep people honest on defense," he noted. "We worked on balancing things out in spring training and I think we made strides.

"I see us coming along in the passing game, including throwing more to the backs and the tight ends. I think we will have more weapons than we did in 2006."

BJGE feels a lot was accomplished in spring because the necessary effort was applied to the task at hand.

"We had about 1,500 reps in spring as a team. That's a lot of reps and a lot can be achieved in that time frame with that amount of reps," he added. "I could feel us all getting on the same page and getting better."

That includes his running mates in the backfield, who he is high on.

"Bruce (Hall) and Cordera (Eason) and all of us worked hard. Jason Cook - we all developed our games. We all improved the things we needed to improve. We just need to stay humble and keep working," he closed. "Our line is a year older, we all have a year of experience and we are working to shore up what didn't work as well last year.

"Like I said earlier, we need to keep our heads down and our eye on the prize. The harder we work, the better we will be."

And it is a foregone conclusion nobody will outwork, or outplay, BenJarvus.

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