Latest Team Rankings
Free Text Alerts
|ShopMobileRadio RSSRivals.com Yahoo! Sports|
|College Teams||High Schools|
September 17, 2012
OXFORD, Miss. -- One week ago, Trae Elston was learning of a one-game suspension being handed down against him from the Southeastern Conference.
One week later, Elston is in line to make his first collegiate start "if everything goes like we think it will this week," Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said.
Elston did not play in Ole Miss' 66-31 loss to then-No. 14 Texas on Saturday in Oxford. Instead, the freshman from Oxford, Ala., served a suspension for a hit on a UTEP wide receiver in the Rebels' 28-10 win over the Miners on Sept. 8.
"He's as talented as we have," Freeze said. "It's true that in the future, our program gets to the point where we don't have to start a bunch of true freshmen unless they really deserve it, and he does deserve it in the situation we're in. He'll run and hit and he competes. It's a matter of him being the best fit for us right now. He's going to make some mistakes. He's a freshman. He's going to help us back there. He would have helped us the other night (against Texas). There's no doubt about that."
Elston's promotion will allow the Rebels (2-1) to move Charles Sawyer and Quintavius Burdette to cornerback in time for Ole Miss' first road game of the season, a Saturday 11 a.m. kickoff against Tulane (0-2) at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
"(Sawyer) is a little tentative at safety," Freeze said. "You can just tell it wasn't his natural deal in fitting the run fits and things. It wasn't something that came natural to him. He gives us a longer corner with a little more experience. We're going to try him out there. We're playing those corners too many snaps. We need more bodies. We've just got to be more physical at corner and stay in contact with the receiver. There were two deep balls that were right there, but we lose contact with the receiver goes and makes a play on them just like (Ole Miss wide receiver) Donte (Moncrief) does. We've just got to keep drilling and drilling technique."
Defensive secondary coach Wesley McGriff said Sawyer gives the Rebels' cornerback corps "quality depth" and give the Rebels' defense "a shot in the arm." McGriff said he wouldn't know who would start at cornerback against Tulane until Thursday.
COLEMAN NOT THRILLED WITH START: Sophomore Cliff Coleman made his first start of the season at cornerback on Saturday, recording a career-high eight tackles and two pass break-ups against Texas.
"I don't think I did too well," Coleman said. "A lot of people said I had a pretty good game, but I still have things to work on and we have things to work on as a team."
Senquez Golson and Wesley Pendleton also drew starts at cornerback against Texas. The Longhorns rolled up 676 yards of offense, including 326 through the air. Coleman said he expects future opponents to test the Rebels' secondary to see if they can replicate Texas' success.
"I expect more challenges," Coleman said. "I'm not afraid of any of them, so it's nothing to me."
MORE SIZE, MORE SPEED NEEDED: Freeze said there's a size:speed ratio that has to be factored into recruiting in the SEC. That ratio will be the criteria for Freeze and Co. moving forward in recruiting.
"We have certain needs in the secondary and at linebacker and defensive end," Freeze said. "We'd love to get another interior guy also. They haven't changed as far as the priorities, but (the Texas game) has reminded me that you better know what you're looking for, and I've reminded our coaches there's a certain size:speed ratio that you need in this league to be able to play and be effective."
HITTING THE ROAD: Saturday's trip to the Crescent City will be Ole Miss' first trip of the season and the first of five this year. Ole Miss will also play at Alabama, at Arkansas (in Little Rock), at Georgia and at LSU this season. The timing of the trip to New Orleans, Freeze said, is perfect.
"I actually love that. I mean, we'd rather be at home, but there's something about coming off a disappointing loss where I like going on the road. I think you kind of get off to yourself with your team and you enjoy the process of getting ready to play another game and get this bitter taste out of your mouth. I think going on the road sometimes increases your focus with that.
"I think our kids had a good week with that last week. I thought we might have been a little loose Friday night. I want them loose. There's a difference between being loose and kind of goofy and I thought Friday night we were kind of borderline with that, particularly with some of our young kids. I think going on the road will help with that preparation."
REBEL RUMBLINGS: Safety Ivan Nicholas, who has missed the past two games with injury, will be back in the rotation for Saturday's game at Tulane. Freeze said the Rebels are "looking at all situations there and all possibilities" to improve their linebacker play. He declined going into specifics on Monday but said media at Tuesday's practice would likely notice changes in personnel. Freeze said there was a "mixed" response from Saturday's game at Sunday's practice. The Rebels' offense, Freeze said, was in relatively good spirits. The defense was sore and "disappointed in the way that they played." Ole Miss resumes practice on Tuesday afternoon.
Ole Miss NEWS