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Competition All Over Field as Fall Camp Continues

Photo by Nathan Latil/ Ole Miss Communications
Photo by Nathan Latil/ Ole Miss Communications

The Ole Miss football team took the practice field early Wednesday morning on an unseasonably cool day as they continued preparations for the upcoming 2015 football season.

The theme of camp to date has been competition offensive coordinator, Dan Werner, co-defensive coordinator Jason Jones and offensive line coach Matt Luke stressed when asked about the progress they have seen just a week into fall camp.

Werner was pleased with what he’s seen over the course of the week from the Ole Miss offense, but acknowledged that the defense is strong so it’s been a battle.

“Each day is a battle and every competition we have has been close,” said Werner. We feel like if we can compete and play well against our defense we should be able to compete with anybody.”

When asked about the players behind Evan Engram at the tight end spot, Werner was complementary of the entire group and mentioned that Oxford native Jeremy Liggins will certainly fill a roll.

“Jeremy is big and physical and picked right up from where he left off last year,” said Werner. “There is a lot of carry over and we’re pleased with that from him, but we’re really pleased with the entire group.”

The quarterback spot continues to be one that is tightly contested. When asked if anyone was starting to separate themselves from the group, Werner said it was too early to tell.

Werner acknowledged that the defensive line is special, but he said the entire defense is a force to be reckoned with. One name that the coaches mentioned is true freshman and early enrollee Javon Patterson. Werner said he often forgets he’s a true freshman and sees him as a sophomore while Luke also said he often forgets he’s a freshman.

“The line is a big reason, but the corners are really good cover guys,” said Werner. “If they are physical up front so you can’t run the ball and they are covering the outside, you’ve got problems.”

On the defensive side of the ball, Jones talked about Tony Bridges and Tee Shepard.

“Both are still learning the defense but out there competing,” said Jones. “They are making plays and we’re continuing to bring them along by getting them in the film room. We’re looking to get them to the point where they aren’t thinking. Both are what we need size-wise and speed-wise and they will help our football team.”

In keeping with the theme of competition, Jones mentioned some of the great battles between the defensive backs and receivers.

“We have some good battles out there on the perimeter. The wide outs make us better and both Tony and Tee are physical, long and good in the air, so when the ball is in the air they are able to go up and challenge. When you’re going against guys like Laquon (Treadwell) and (Damore’ea) Stringfellow they match up well with the big wide receivers.”

A standout thus far has been Kendarius Webster, who has been having an outstanding camp.

“He’s having a great camp,” said Jones “He’s made some plays and is doing a great job. Coupled with Tee and Tony, those three will be rolling and helping us stay fresh.

Luke talked about working Justin Bell into the mix at center with the twos and noted that Patterson was currently working with the ones.

“I’m pleased with the competition and with Javon getting reps,” said Luke. “It just creates a lot of competition and increases accountability in guys trying to do things the right way.

When asked about how the offensive line looked against the defensive line, Luke was pleased, but is looking for consistency.

“They’ve had their moments and we’ve had our moments, but I want to be consistent,” said Luke “I think we’ve held our own, but when the pressure starts happening we need to be able to handle that. That’s going to be the bench mark — how we handle pressure.”

Notes and tidbits:

  • Jones said he thought Laquon Treadwell was back to his old self and mentioned that he has been making outstanding catches and plays all throughout camp and that he has been hit.
  • Kailo Moore is entering his second season on the defensive side of the ball and is having a good camp and will help out the defense this year.
  • Mike Hilton, the Chucky Mullins award winner, has taken on a leadership role among the corners this season, helping them acclimate to the system, watching film and helping them get adjusted and prepared for the upcoming season.
  • Luke noted that Laremy Tunsil looks good and is probably about 90% at this point.

Follow Ole Miss Football on Twitter (@OleMissFB) and Facebook (Facebook.com/OleMissFootball), in addition to www.OleMissSports.com.

Courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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