"They are doing everything we have asked them to do," said 23rd-year assistant coach Steve Boyd, who coaches cornerbacks, strong safeties and also serves as the Bobcats' defensive coordinator. "We have a good mix of older guys and newer guys. Hopefully, they will be ready to go for that first game."
The Bobcats will have two newcomers at the cornerback positions.
Kadarius Cross (5-9, 170) of Picayune is the leader at field corner and Jaylon Lane (6-1, 175) of Nacogdoches, Texas, has the edge at boundary corner. Lane was an Oklahoma State University commit and had numerous Division I offers.
"Kadarius is short, but he is a real good cover guy," Boyd said. "Lane is a tall, lanky guy more suitable for boundary corner and Cross is more of a field corner player. But we try to teach them to play both sides because everyone today plays that hurry-up offense and you don't have time to run back and forth across the field.
"Both are freshmen and are going through growing pains. But they are catching on well and practicing hard."
Backup cornerbacks include Mize sophomore Jamal Blackwell (5-10, 165), Bay Springs' freshman Javien Hamilton (5-11, 165) and Louisville sophomore Nick Shields (5-11, 175), a transfer from Northwest Mississippi. Blackwell, who had 24 tackles, one tackle for a loss and three pass breakups in 2014, can also play free safety.
"Jamal is a guy that can play multiple positions," Boyd said. "He is a smart player who makes good grades. He is a player we are trying to have be the swing guy. If someone goes down, we can put him in there and not lose a lot. He was here last year and went through spring training, so that puts him ahead of the curve on just knowing what to do.
"We recruited Shields out of high school. He is a sophomore so that helps. Javien has been with us all summer and has good speed at field corner. He is a track guy and can really run."
Leading the way at strong safety is a returning starter, sophomore Daveon Greene (5-10, 210) of Picayune. Greene had 28 tackles, one interception, one pass breakup, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery last year.
"Daveon is back at strong safety, so he should be a lot better this time around," Boyd said. "Eric is backing him up. They both have about the same body style. They are not real tall, but they are physical. They are good against the run. Shelton is a bigger, leaner player. He actually looks like the way you're supposed to back there."
Jones started the season with a 42-20 loss to Northwest Mississippi last Saturday. This Thursday, the Bobcats will face off against Itawamba on the road.