Check out a football practice, and Enrique Davis will dazzle with ability to stay on his feet and hit top speed in a span of a couple steps.
The chiseled 220-pounder arrived Oxford as the lead candidate to take the starting spot from Cordera Eason, and while his running ability can't be debated, there is more to the tailback position in the SEC. The other elements required some work.
Davis has just 27 carries and 87 yards through the first half of his freshman season. The former Hargrave star has scored twice, but Davis' understanding of blocking schemes has caused other running backs to garner most of the carries.
"It was a big thing at first knowing these pass protections," Davis said. "This is college, and you have to know how to do more than just run the football. You have to catch the football and protect your quarterback. That is the most valuable thing on offense. Knowing who comes on blitz to this side or that side and every protection. Now that I know that, I'm ready."
The learning curve took time, but Davis finally feels comfortable. Not only have pass protections improved, but the extra knowledge has helped all parts of his game as well.
During the transition phase, the uncertainty was affecting the way he ran the ball and practiced each day.
"I was thinking a lot about have to go here ore there instead of just reacting. What was I exactly supposed to be doing? Now it is starting to come natural, kind of like riding a bike."
Houston Nutt has noticed the difference, and fans can expect more playing time the rest of the way.
"Whole different deal now compared to a month ago," Nutt said. "He'll get some more reps, get some time now. You aren't afraid to put him in now. It has been good for him."
Davis is looking for an increase in snaps, but everything has been taken in stride. Knowing his inefficiencies, Davis has just increased the prep time.
"I'm not worried, it just takes time. You can't just go out there and know what to do. You have to study film, study the playbook and everything. Physical reps out here on the field and also mental reps, that is what gets it done."
Nutt and the coaching staff have stayed close to Davis and made sure he understand the process. The extra attention has been important for the back.
"It means a lot and shows that the coaching staff cares a lot about you. Not just on the field but off the field as well. Making sure you feel good and are doing everything right."
Davis has also endured rumors that he could possibly transfer, but he made it very clear that all talk was 100 percent false.
"I'm here, and I'm happy and going to stay," Davis said. "I chose Ole Miss, and everything will work out. There hasn't been and won't be any thoughts about leaving. Just got to work hard and get this done."
And most of the work has been accomplished. Now it is time to test it on the game field.
More Reps Expected
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