Jerry's Rebel swan song

ARLINGTON, Texas - Senior RG John Jerry wants desperately to end his Ole Miss career with a win, just like his big brother Peria did last year in the same Cottom Bowl venue. Read about it inside.

At 6-foot-6, 335 pounds, "big" doesn't normally impress Ole Miss senior Right Guard and permanent team captain John Jerry.

But Cowboy Stadium, dubbed "Jerry's World," does turn his head.

"This place is unbelievable," grinned Baby J., who will suit up for his last game as a Rebel on January 2nd when Ole Miss faces Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl. "I've never seen a stadium like this. I guess there isn't another one like it, so how could I?"

John likes the Jerry's World tag. He'd like to give that phrase a double meaning in his last outing as a Rebel.

"I know it's for Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, but Jerry's World could take on a different meaning that day, or I hope it will," he smiled broadly. "I remember the feeling we had at the Cotton Bowl last year and seeing my brother (Peria) go out a winner. I want that feeling too.

"We want to leave the program on a high so the guys coming back will have something to build on and we can leave with a great taste in our mouths as seniors."

Jerry and the rest of the Rebel offensive line will have to get past a rugged Oklahoma State defensive line to do so.

"The first thing you notice when you are watching tape is that they play very hard. As one of the captains of this team, I have told all the guys that this game is going to require 60 minutes of giving it everything you'ved got - no plays off," John stated. "You can watch film and tell they aren't going to take breathers so we can't either.

"We understand it's going to be a full 60-minute game where everyone is fighting for their lives. We have to be prepared for that."

John knows the OL will be tested and he will be tested individually as well.

"The Cowboys have a couple of very athletic guys Bobby (Massie) and I will be blocking. They run well and they are pretty big guys," he explained. "We'll have to be ready to compete and get after them."

The Rebel OL struggled some early in the year, but about midway through the season, Massie was declared "ready" by OL Coach Mike Markuson.

The true freshman was moved to the starting right tackle slot and John was moved inside to right guard.

Coupled with the move of Dexter McCluster to more tailback duty and the Rebel run game started to take off and protection of QB Jevan Snead improved.

"I have played inside before so the adjustment back to guard only took a few days before I was comfortable there," John noted. "I would do anything for this team, so the move was no issue for me. If coach asked me to be a street sweeper, I would try to be the best street sweeper on the team.

"I think the move helped us out a lot. Bobby is young, but he's athletic and is coming into his own. He's big and strong and will only get stronger. He's going to be a great player around here for a long time. Surprisingly, I haven't had to help him a whole lot with his assignments, because he's a very smart football player. In fact, there have been times when I was a little confused and he'd tell me what to do instead of the other way around. He understands the offense now, so it's all downhill for him from this point on."

John has the same aspirations his big brother had - to get drafted as high as possible and play in the NFL.

"I think moving to guard showed the NFL scouts I am versatile and can play guard or tackle. There's a place for players who are versatile in that league," he added. "I feel good about my chances to succeed on the next level. I just need a chance."

John said he saw Peria over the Christmas break and the former All-American DT, who had a season-ending knee injury early this year with the Atlanta Falcons, was "all over me" to go out on a good note.

"He told me this is a game I'll remember and to leave everything on the field. I know he did last year against Texas Tech and that is my intention this year against Oklahoma State," John closed.

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