Greg Hardy walked over to the media after Monday's first Ole Miss football practice of fall camp. The foot is fine, he said. And it appeared that way.
"Pretty close," he said to 100 percent. "Taking it easy, coming out slow, making sure everything's allright."
That his foot is basically 100 percent is good news for a player who has had his share of problems with it for a long time.
"I felt great out there," said the 6-foot-4, 265-pound defensive end. "Just to be out there, doing what everybody else was doing. Running around, especially this morning, just to be able to get out there and do all the drills."
Hardy admitted not going all out just yet was a bit of a challenge, given his competitveness and desire to push himself.
"Because I feel so good inside," he said. "When you've got no feeling (of pain) in your foot. You know last year I was feeling it, and the year before that I was feeling it. Right now I'm not feeling it. I want to get out there and go. But I've got to keep telling myself there's better things in the future."
Hardy said he and the training staff work together on when to pick it up as the days go by. And mostly it's how he himself feels.
"I know I have to take it slow," he said. "It's my foot, and I'm trying to make sure I get to the first game and then trying to make it through the season. Just keep it healthy and play it by ear."
Hardy said the defensive line is ready to roll this season.
"Those guys like Ted (Laurent), he's strong. Lawon (Scott) is strong, Marcus (Tillman) is strong, Kentrell (Lockett) is strong. We've got a lot of depth. Hopefully that means everybody's going to be fresh at the end of the year. We've got a good defensive line here. Hopefully the best in the nation. We'll see."
A leaner John Jerry
John Jerry said he was up to about 368 pounds at the beginning of June. After the Rebels' first practice of fall camp, the Ole Miss offensive lineman said he's right about 330.
He obviously didn't lose it all in just one practice in the Mississippi August heat, although a player might shed a few pounds on a day like Monday.
No, the 6-5 senior from Batesville said he's been working hard at losing weight and getting in better shape. His smile and demeanor after day-one drills spoke volumes.
"That's the lowest I've weighed since my freshman year of high school," said the South Panola product.
"I kinda got on the same little regiment (Jerrell) Powe and those guys were on," he said. "I've gotta give them credit, because if it wasn't for Powe and Mark (Jean-Louis) and Lawon (Scott), man I saw how those guys lost weight. Without them, I probably couldn't have done it. So I tip my hat to those guys for giving me the motivation to do it."
And he feels much better on the field.
"I can tell it, too," he said. "I was moving around a lot better out there. I didn't get as tired. I got a little tired toward the end. But overall I have to give credit to my strength staff. Coach (Don) Decker and his staff. I can't take any credit. I have to give it to them."
Jerry said freshman Bobby Massie was impressive for a first practice.
"He had a great day. He really impressed me, and not only him but all the young guys. They're coming in and are willing to learn. That's the main thing about those guys.
"I'm surprised physically (about Massie) because I went against Bobby one time and I kinda underestimated his strength. I was like ‘whoa.' I looked around and told Coach (Mike Markuson) next time I won't take it as light on him."
Practice was over not long before dark. Jerry still had dinner to go, but that's where he's been trying to end his eating day.
"(Giving up) those late night snacks," he admitted and sighed. "That's hard."
But just one look at John Jerry and it's obvious avoiding those has indeed paid off.
Hardy ready; Jerry more fit
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