Chris Vaughn -

Coming out of spring training, the Ole Miss cornerbacks were a question mark of the Rebel defense. Through an offseason and a couple of weeks of fall camp since, CB Coach Chris Vaughn says some consistency has been gained at his positions. Read about it inside.

The prevailing theme with Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt's staff is "be consistent."

After the Rebels had wrapped up spring training, the cornerback positions remained a concern due to, mostly, inconsistency.

That result was not entirely unexpected in spring. After all, rising senior Dustin Mouzon, a returning starter, had an uncharacteristically bad showing and the coaches had moved two offensive players - Marshay Green and Jeremy McGee - to corner midstream in an effort to prop up the sagging position. It was too soon to be expecting, or demanding, consistent results from them.

Needless to say, the coaches held their collective breath for a few months hoping when fall camp rolled around the outcome at corner would be different.

Reports during the summer from the Rebel wide receivers were uplifting about the production of the CBs. It started out with whispers after voluntary 7-on-7 drills that the corners were starting to challenge the wideouts, who had owned them in spring.

Then the volume started getting louder. There were even 7-on-7 sessions where the corners started talking back and backing the talk up with results.

"The DBs got a lot better in the summer," senior WR Mike Wallace reluctantly said. "By the end of summer, we had to battle to get open and there was a lot of talking going on back and forth when we'd make a play or they'd make a play. It got real competitive real quickly."

When fall camp opened, the cornerbacks had a different look in their eyes. The bewilderment and uncertainty was absent and a gleam was starting to show.

Cornerbacks Coach Chris Vaughn saw the marked improvement, but there were still consistency issues to deal with.

"They have been a little more consistent in fall camp because they understand what we are asking of them," said Vaughn. "They are doing better than in spring, but I'm glad we have 10 days before the first game to keep working on that."

Vaughn says the turnaround of Mouzon's performance has helped matters substantially.

"I had a long conversation with Dustin before camp. He was our most experienced player in spring and I think he tried to show the new staff that he was the man back there," explained Vaughn. "He pushed too hard. He pressed too hard to make plays and it put him out of position.

"You can't force plays to happen back there. You have to do your job, work your fundamentals, keep yourself in the proper position and let the plays come to you, and they will if you are doing things correctly. Dustin came back this fall and is doing that. Consequently, he's number one right now."

With Mouzon moving up, Green, who took a lot of number one reps in late spring, moved down. The athletic junior has not let that get him down.

"One thing I love about Marshay is that he has not practiced with any less enthusiasm. He has practiced as hard as he did when he was with the number one defense," Chris said. "His consistency level has risen the last few practices.

"He went through the same thing as Dustin - he tried to force plays. He was pressing early and he understands where he is right now. He's taken the attitude that he put himself in the backup situation and he's going to work himself out of it."

On the "other" side, junior Cassius Vaughn and sophomore Jeremy McGee are battling, with Vaughn holding the lead throughout fall camp thus far. (Note: McGee suffered a concussion last Saturday in the scrimmage but is expected back in a day or two.)

"I've been pleased with both of them, but - again - I want to see more consistency before the first game and through the course of the season," Chris stated.

The fifth corner, right now, is freshman Marcus Temple, a Hargrave product who has been at Ole Miss since the first of June.

"Marcus will play for us in nickel and dime situations. Of our young group, his advancement has moved the fastest to this point," Vaughn added. "We will be counting on him to help us early and to continue progressing."

For now, five guys are in the corner mix - Mouzon, Green, Vaughn, McGee and Temple - and a couple of more - freshmen Derrick Herman and Julian Whitehead - are lurking on the edges.

Chris hopes to play a true two-deep rotation with Mouzon and Green at the field corner and Vaughn and McGee at the boundary corner.

"We've made good progress since spring training, like I said. Now, we have to finish the fall camp srong and put the finishing touches on our advancement," Vaughn closed. "It's all about consistency from this point on."


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