Sowell all grown up

HOOVER, Ala. - What a difference a year has made for Ole Miss junior Left Tackle Bradley Sowell. Read about it inside.

There is a major difference between the Bradley Sowell of 2009 and the Bradley Sowell heading into 2010.

Just ask DE Kentrell Lockett, who goes against him every day in practice and was in Hoover with Bradley and Jerrell Powe at SEC Media Days today.

"He's a man now. He's bigger, stronger, faster and experienced. Bradley gave me fits in spring training. The spring before, not so much," smiled Lockett. "He's so much better now then when we started last year."

Ask Powe.

"He's grown up, but the SEC will tend to make you do that," Jerrell laughed. "It's eat or get eaten in this league. He got eaten a couple of times last year. He'll be doing the eating this time around."

Ask Houston Nutt.

"Bradley is a completely different person than when I first met him. He's mature. He's strong, he's tough and he's developed into a leader," noted Nutt. "He took some lumps early last year, but he ended the season really on a high note and has carried that on through spring and into the offseason. Amazing development."

Ask Bradley.

"I'm one of the older guys now. My role has changed. I have to step up and be a leader now," said Sowell. "I know where these young guys need to be - I've been through it. I took my lessons. I know where we have to be in mental toughness.

Bradley Sowell

"I have seen us grow up in spring and in the offseason. We are tougher. Everyone is making all our runs and working hard in the offseason. We're getting stronger. For myself, I got beaten some last year. I now have experience, know what I am going against and know how to prepare. I will never let that happen again."

He's even better at interviews, he says.

"I'm not a pissed off now," he laughed. "I can even handle these interviews."

Sowell saw the OL start to get things together toward the end of spring.

"It's always tougher on the OL than the DL when you are replacing people. We are replacing three this year," he noted. "We have to gel and we have to continue on that path through August and into the season.

"It's tough at the beginning, but we have a great OL coach (Mike Markuson) and we are working hard to get where we need to be. I feel good about where we are headed."

Sowell played next to veteran Reid Neely last year and leaned on him heavily while he learned the ropes. Now, Alex Washington, most likely, will be leaning on Bradley.

Bradley Sowell

"Tank is a redshirt junior, so he's been around a while, but it's still different in games, getting blitz calls and doing the right things automatically," he explained. "The difference in where I was last year and where Tank is now is that he's further along mentally. Man, I was just there part of last year until it started to click. Tank is clicking now mentally."

Bradley is aware the progress of the young offense will hinge on what takes place up front.

"Hey, it's simple. If you can block, you can run. If you can protect, you can throw," he stated. "It's no mystery. It's no secret."

Sowell is confident about where the OL is going.

"We've got big, strong guys who work hard and watch film. It's just a matter of putting it all together," he explained.

The Bradley Sowell of 2010 ain't the Bradley Sowell of 2009.

But new experiences still come his way.

"We were in that small jet coming over here this morning and it was a new experience for me and Kentrell and Jerrell. We were holding on tight. That thing can go," he smiled. "We were sweating, but we made it."

Just another obstacle the new and improved Bradley Sowell has overcome.

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