Terry Price returns!

Terry Price and Ole Miss have both changed substantially, and for the better, since his last stint with the Rebels in the mid-1990s. Read about it inside.

Since Terry Price was hired earlier this week to replace Tracy Rocker as the defensive line coach on Houston Nutt's Rebel football staff, he has been running full bore.

"It's been hectic, but it's been good," said Price. "There's a lot of paperwork and transition stuff to do to become an official employee of the university, but most of that is behind me now and this afternoon I will be able to spend some time with all my players.

"My first task with them is to get to know them better on a one-on-one basis. Even though it has been busy, it's definitely exciting to be back here at Ole Miss."

Price drove into Oxford Monday night and hasn't stopped since. Tuesday was his first day in the office.

Even though Price has returned to Oxford and Ole Miss several times since he departed in 1998 for Auburn, the changes he sees have been startling - for the better.

"If you go back and think about how it was in the 1990s, and see what we have now, it's like a completely different place," he continued. "Obviously, the university has put in a lot of planning, time and money in making these facilities as good as anywhere in the SEC and in the country.

"It's a beautiful place from a campus point of view and from a football facilities point of view. This football facility (IPF) is second to none. Man, it's as good as there is."

Terry's wife is from Oxford and is an Ole Miss grad, but that did not get him a shot at the DL opening. Contacts he had made through the years with current staff members helped that process.

"I've knows some of these guys on this staff for a long time. I've known OL Coach Mike Markuson through the years and obviously thinks he's a great offensive line coach," Price said. "Tyrone Nix and I go back a long way. He's been a good friend of mine for a long time and is an outstanding football coach. I have always respected Coach (Houston) Nutt and the job he has always done. He's one of the best, not just in the SEC but in the whole country.

"To already have some relationships with current staff members makes any transition easier. I'm comfortable already. I'm not meeting these guys for the first time. Actually, when I was playing at Texas A&M, Coach (James) Shibest was playing at Arkansas and we have met each other on the recruiting trails many times. I'm not going into this situation starting from scratch."

Price is not intimidated in taking over a situation that was highly successful during the 2008 season.

"There's no pressure. If you are a good football coach, you accept all challenges. I'm excited to get to coach a bunch of big ole D-Linemen," he smiled. "I'm excited about the opportunity. For me, it will be a clean slate this spring.

"I've told the players I have met that I will not have any preconceived notions. I'm going to be looking for who steps up and gets it done. How they practice will be a big key to determining the depth chart. I think it would be a mistake to have them already judged. They will be evaluated on how they perform in spring and beyond. Everything has been very positive so far. It's a process, but we are off to a good start. We will know each other well enough to get a lot of work done in spring practice and then just build from there."

For the past 14 yeras - 4 at Ole Miss and 10 at Auburn - Price has split the D-Line coaching duties with Don Dunn, who had the tackles while Terry coached the ends. He does not think coaching all four positions will be an issue.

"I've coached all four before. I actually coached tackles for a spring at Ole Miss. I've coached ends for quite a while," he said. "It will be a fun time for me. I am looking forward to coaching the whole group.

"I love to coach football and to have the opportunity to coach the whole front is something I look forward to."

Terry is somewhat familiar with the Rebs' personnel, especially on the offense, since he coached for Auburn last season against Ole Miss in Oxford.

"We knew Ole Miss was a complete football team with not a lot of weaknesses. The OL was big and strong, the tight ends were strong and active, the running backs were good runners, the QB was bigtime and the wideouts were fast and experienced," he said. "The Auburn offensive staff talked about how fast the Ole Miss defense was and how hard they played on every snap. We just could not find many weaknesses and that showed at the end of the year with how strong Ole Miss finished.

"They played well and Coach Nutt did an amazing job of bringing this group together and having the kind of finish they did."

Price said he will probably not have a specific recruiting area for now. It sounds as if he will just jump in with both feet and help the whole cause.

"I will do what they need me to do and see who they need me to see," he explained. "I'm sure after Signing Day that I will be assigned a recruiting area."

Terry and Nix have not discussed a lot of specifics from a philosophical standpoint, but they have talked basics and they are certainly on the same page in that regard.

"You have to play fast, you have to play physical, you have to get off blocks to defend the run and you have to rush the QB," he said. "Those fundamentals do not change and are the most important things.

"Obviously, Coach Nix did a tremendous job last year and will have some things built in that he wants me to do with the defensive line and that's exactly what we will do," Price closed. "We will talk a lot more about Xs and Os after Signing Day, but trust me, whatever he wants done will be done."

Since Terry Price left Ole Miss in 1998, things have indeed changed. Ole Miss football has matured with the right coaches in place and winning facilities to work with.

Price, with 10 more years of SEC experience under his belt, has matured as well. The challenge in front of him is formidable, but one gets the feeling he is up to the task.

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