When Cordera Eason got to Ole Miss last year, he weighed in at 246 pounds.
This year, thanks to a srict diet back in late spring, he tips the scales at 225 and feels like a different player.
"I hurdled a linebacker (Scottie Williams) in the open field. No way I could have done that last year. If I was still carrying that 245-246 pounds, no way I could jump over a tackler," Eason smiled. "I feel a lot quicker and faster. The coaches say they can tell the difference too when I am in the open field."
Getting to the open field was also a problem for Cordera a year ago, but it had little to do with his weight.
"I was taking a handoff and just going, not reading anything - just running. I missed a lot of wide open holes. I wasn't patient - I was just running as hard as I could and really didn't know what I was doing," he explained. "In the offseason, I watched a lot of film with BenJarvus (Green-Ellis) and saw how patient he is, how smart he is about reading his blocks, and I started learning and being more patient.
"Patience has helped me a lot. I have learned how to read holes and I am making the right steps now instead of just going when I get the ball. Ben has been a good example for me. I have learned a lot from his style."
Back to the diet. . .
"I can tell a big difference, but when I started the diet, I wasn't sure I could do it," Cordera explained. "I didn't eat any fried foods for six weeks. All I ate was baked food, mostly chicken, and Special K cereal. I ate a lot of foods with protein. I also didn't eat after 7 o'clock at night.
"It was hard for a week, but then I adjusted to it and it got easy. After a couple of weeks, my friends kept saying 'you are losing weight' and I weighed and they were right. I got more motivated when I saw some results," Eason said. "I still watch my diet and am tring to eat right. I don't want to gain it back - I feel too good at 225."
He's also gotten stronger.
"Last year, I couldn't make the Rebs of Steel poster. This year, I made it," he smiled.
While things are going well for Cordera right now, and he is in the tailback rotation for 2007, he's just as happy for recent developments with high school buddy Derrick Davis.
"Derrick went on the diet with me and lost weight too," Cordera explained. "He's about the same weight I am and it's paying off for him too. He's been through a lot with his knee injury. He got down on himself some, but I kept telling him everything would be OK if he kept his head up.
"Now, his knee is not bothering him at all and he's the old Derrick. When Ben and Bruce (Hall) leave next year, it might be like it was in high school, with me and him in the same backfield like in Meridian."
Eason and Davis have a long history.
"We've know each other since kindergarten," Cordera smiled. "We went to different junior high schools and his team always beat mine, but when we got to high school, we were back together and gained a lot of yards at Meridian. I hope we can do the same thing here in the future."
The "new and improved" Cordera Eason has made his mark in fall camp, for several reasons.
Now, he's ready to unleash those improvements on the SEC.
Cordera Eason -
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