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April 3, 2012

Singleton shifts to running back



MORE: RGTV: A.J. Hawkins

OXFORD, Miss. -- Tobias Singleton's only recent tailback experience happened back in Madison, Miss., when he helped his brother practice.

Before that, Singleton said he played running back for Madison Central as a freshman.

Well, on Tuesday, he great increased his previous reps at the position. Singleton moved from wide receiver to tailback due to Ole Miss' limited depth at the position and showed signs of his true 4.4-second speed transitioning to the new spot.

"We all know how thin we are there," head coach Hugh Freeze said. I" thought he looked pretty decent not knowing what he was doing. He'll get more reps at it… He's got a burst."

Freeze and Singleton discussed the move earlier Tuesday, and Singleton was immediately excited about the possibility.

"I've kind of fell in love with it," Singleton said. "It's kind of normal for me. I love receiver, and I'll still play a little there, but running back is where my heart is."

Devin Thomas and Nick Parker got the majority of the other snaps at running back.

Singleton, who had only two catches for 10 yards last season, said his time as a kick returner in 2011 was a valuable tool to prepare him for running back. As a freshman, he averaged 24.6 yards per kick on 21 returns.

"It helps a lot because you have to keep the ball up high and keep the ball tucked and stay down low," Singleton said. "That's all techniques for a running back.

"It's a big opportunity. I just want to help my team."

OLE MISS MOVES INDOORS: With rain pelting the Oxford area, Ole Miss practiced approximately two hours in full pads inside the IPF on Tuesday.

The defense dominated the day with Denzel Nkemdiche having a solid day at strong linebacker. The freshman sacked Barry Brunetti twice during team drills and made several other nice tackles.

There were some changes on the offensive line Tuesday, as Pierce Burton was demoted to the second team. To facilitate the move, Emmanuel McCray moved to right tackle, and Aaron Morris shifted out to left tackle. Justin Bell moved up to left guard.

"The depth chart is etched in sand," Freeze said. "We grade it every day, and Tuesday morning I didn't think (Burton) liked to get up early… He'll fight to get it back."

Zack Stoudt missed Tuesday's practice with an ongoing back issue. He received an injection prior to practice. C.J. Johnson missed the final portion of practice due to a blow to the head when his helmet came off. Bryon Bennett is still sidelined. Jeff Scott missed his second straight practice with a lingering fever.

Ole Miss will practice at 5:30 a.m. Thursday before taking off for Easter.


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