With Ole Miss Offensive Line Coach Art Kehoe, one thing comes to his mind reapeatedly.
Sure, he likes big, talented, mobile athletes to work with, but more importantly he wants motivated athletes. He feels he has both in his troops.
"Our guys are committed and have worked hard," sid Kehoe. "Coach O has been establishing this program from day one and you can see his attitude reflected in them.
"You can see the energy, enthusiasm, intensity and willingness. They breath it just like he breaths it. We want the linemen to lead the team. I think we have enough players to do that this year. The OL and DL have to lead the team and that is our intention."
After last spring, Kehoe evaluated his group and asked several to lose a little weight and become more mobile. With August practice here, he has seen that take place.
"I like that we have leaned up some. Mo (Maurice Miller) has dropped 20 pounds. John Jerry has dropped 20 pounds. Mark Jean-Louis has lost 30 pounds. That is what I wanted to see," he continued. "I gave them what they needed to do and they got it done in the offseason. That gives us a great head start on the season.
"And it is not just my guys, it's pretty much across the board. Everyone worked hard to get ready for August."
Art reiterated the importance of someone - namely Reid Neely - stepping up in spring to take over for graduated Andrew Wicker.
"Losing Andrew was a big thing for us. He was very important to the OL, but in spring Reid Neely developed into a heckuva player," Kehoe noted. "Looking back, I probably should have played him more last year. That left side with Michael Oher and Reid should be very good and now that we have trimmed up on the right side, we should be pretty tough.
"They are together and they are determined and with the D-Line getting better, we are going to have some wars in practice. When we were good at Miami, the whole deal was getting good in the trenches and practices were so hard in terms of the competition that kids started looking forward to the games to get some relief."
Art shoulders a lot of the blame for games going unfinished last year.
"We didn't finish games and that was primarily the OL. We didn't make first downs in the fourth quarter. That's up front," he stated. "Since the last game last year, all we have talked about as a staff is finishing. Finish, finish, finish.
"I am not into playing horseshoes any more. Close is no good. I want to win games. The only way to do that is not going three-and-out. When the game is on the line, our big men cannot get tired. We have to be lean, fast and fit. I think we will be."
Kehoe talked a little about the OL depth before having to get back to the drawing board.
"We have more quality depth than we did last year, but we are still looking for a couple of players to step up," he closed. "I'll be looking for those guys this month."
Art Kehoe update -
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