Monday, August 8, 2022

Lewis: Winning the Summer for Rebel Football

Photo courtesy Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics
Photo courtesy Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics

As the summer months are finally upon us, a calm is beginning to settle over Oxford. The students have gone their separate ways for a much-needed break. They will be pursuing a wide range of possibilities. Some will head to their hometowns for rest and relaxation, others will clock in for their summer jobs or internships, some will hit the open road and a few will even find themselves back in the classroom for summer school. While they all go about their summer breaks in their own way, the Ole Miss Football team will be doing some of the most important work of the year — they will be winning football games.

It often goes without notice and, unless experienced for oneself, can never be fully understood, but there’s something that happens over the summer months that should be given a long-standing ovation. Long before taking the Walk of Champions or wearing the Red and Blue under the shining lights of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, the Rebels will be putting in the work that will make them champions.

They will be in the weight room becoming the players they need to be in order to be successful this fall.

They will be on the practice fields running sprints, pulling sleds, doing rope drills all in the midst of the relentless Mississippi summer heat. They will sweat and they will hurt and they will do so without a single fan looking on and cheering them as they push through. They only have each other. It is where bonds that will last a lifetime are formed.

They will spend countless hours in the film room learning from their past mistakes as well as learning their opponents’ weaknesses. They will also be in the classroom for several hours a day and in study halls, making sure their academics remain in order.

It is all work and no play, but it’s these summer months that their minds will go back to this fall when they are locked in a battle late in the fourth quarter, searching for something to give them strength.

Then they remember.

They remember the pain and that this is why they hurt. They remember the blood and that this is why they bled. They remember the work that they put in and that this is why when they find themselves with their backs against the wall they cannot be denied.

To these young men, there is no such thing as a summer break. There is only the work that has to be done. Their hard work and sacrifices this summer will win football games in the fall.

Winning the summer wins the fall.

Webb Lewis of Southern Elite Sports Media is a contributor and can be reached at

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