Ron Dickerson -

The Ole Miss staff may have a distinct advantage Saturday when they face UL-Monroe. On the Rebel sidelines, Ron Dickerson and Kim Dameron, who coached at ULM last season, know the Warhawk personnel inside and out. Read about it inside.

First, it was Tyrone Nix facing off against South Carolina, where he was the defensive coordinator last year.

Then it was Houston Nutt and the majority of the current Rebel staff going back to Arkansas, where they coached for a decade.

Now, to cover just about every member of the current Ole Miss staff, Reb WR Coach Ron Dickerson and SS Coach Kim Dameron will have special ties to this week's opponent, the UL-Monroe Warhawks.

Dickerson and Dameron coached there last year and have fond memories of their tenure there, including a big upset win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa last season.

"A lot of those young men used to come to my house to eat or play video games or what have you," said Dickerson. "We were a big family, but it's part of this profession that you are eventually going to move on in most cases.

"Unfortunately, they are not having the season they wanted, but they are playing hard. They've had some injuries and some hard breaks, but they are still giving it all they have."

Dickerson, who coached on both sides of the ball there during his tenure, knows it will be an emotional reunion for him with his former pupils.

"We'll all be emotional, but when the kickoff is in the air, it will be another football game both teams are trying to win," Ron noted.

Ron said it has not been hard to separate the personal from the professional this week.

"I love those kids, but I love my kids here too," he explained. "They will be competing to win and so will we, just like every week."

Dickerson does feel the Rebs will have an advantage in understanding ULM's personnel, however.

"I know the strengths, weaknesses and tendencies of some of those guys and I know my guys here, but they don't. It becomes a chess game on how I can move my guys around to exploit some of their weaknesses, but I know them better than they know my guys," said Dickerson. "I think we have the upper hand in that regard."

But Dickerson was quick to point out ULM's safeties, which his wide receivers will be going against, are top notch.

"Greg James and Josh Thompson are bigtime players. Josh is a little banged up, but he and Greg are terrific players. That will be interesting and a challenge for my guys," he noted. "I recruited Otis Stamps, one of their corners, out of Hinds CC and he's a good player.

"Our wide receivers have been asking me all about them, so it will be personal for them too."

Dickerson, and Dameron, have been educating the defensive coaches on the Warhawks' offensive personnel as well, starting with Quarterback Kinsmon Lancaster.

"Kinsmon is a great athlete. I joked with Coach Nutt when he was at Arkansas that we had a good one in Kinsmon and he told me (then Arky DC) Reggie (Herring) was always scared of Kinsmon," Dickerson continued. "Any team who has a QB who has great feet, can throw the ball and makes good decisions - which is what Kinsmon does - scares you. You have to account for him in the running game and be very careful with him in containment and that puts pressure on what you do defensively and can change what you do on defense philosophically.

"He's a great man and a great leader. His team rallies around him and if he is on he can light you up."

Dickerson said there is a difference in the Sun Belt Conference and the SEC, obviously, but you can't take a Sun Belt foe for granted or lightly.

"Their depth is not as good as the teams we face week-in-and-week-out in the SEC, but their frontline guys can play football. Of course, when a kid has a choice between a bigger school and a smaller school, they will take the bigger school most of the time, but we found a lot of diamonds in the rough there and sometimes the major schools miss on kids and they end up in the Sun Belt," Ron assessed. "There are also instances where there just wasn't room for some of those kids, but they were just as good as the ones signed by the major schools.

"ULM will have talent on that sideline, there's no question about it, but not as much, overall, as we are used to facing in the SEC."

Dickerson was quick to point out the emotional side of the game as well.

"This game will be their Super Bowl, just like the Alabama game was last year and the Arkansas game, that they lost by one point in the final seconds of that game, were," he evaluated. "We will have to play good, sound football and anyone who thinks differently is not paying attention."

When Dickerson and Dameron step on the field for the Rebels to warm up for the 1 p.m. game Saturday against ULM, part of their hearts will be on the other end of the field.

And that's what makes them special people and coaches.

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