RebelGrove - Senquez Golson: Ole Miss' McGriff, Jones are a 'crazy combination'
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Senquez Golson: Ole Miss' McGriff, Jones are a 'crazy combination'

Senquez Golson credits part of his career success to Wesley McGriff
Senquez Golson credits part of his career success to Wesley McGriff (Associated Press)

Wesley McGriff only coached Senquez Golson at Ole Miss for one season before moving on to the New Orleans Saints.

However, that one year and the building blocks McGriff instilled in Golson — on and off the field — helped the current Pittsburgh Steeler have one of the most prolific defensive back seasons in program history.

Golson, who turned down a lucrative baseball contract from the Boston Red Sox out of Pascagoula (Mississippi) High School, led the SEC and was second nationally with 10 interceptions in 2014, helping Ole Miss top the country in scoring defense.

He parlayed the success into a second round selection from the Steelers. Golson also credits Jason Jones with refining his skills, and with both coaches now on the same staff, Golson expects a formidable secondary for the Rebels.

[Recruiting: McGriff may impact these prospects]

“The energy is probably the first thing about McGriff and what he brings to a defense,” Golson said. “He taught me a lot and steps and wide receiver action and formations and he brought that to my game. Then I started working with Jones, and he brought more knowledge.

“Man, those two together. That’s a crazy combination. I still can’t believe it.”

Hugh Freeze also mentioned McGriff’s energy as a reason for the decision. The Rebels will continue to base out of a four-man front, and with Jones and McGriff handling the secondary, Ole Miss will add a run game coordinator and finalize the defensive staff soon.

Golson admits he was a “knucklehead” when he got to campus, but McGriff’s consistency and attitude made an impression. He also taught him the position, since cornerback wasn’t familiar to Golson at Pascagoula.

“I don’t know if I would have had success without McGriff,” Golson said. “So many things I learned from him I carried over. Then I had two years with coach Jones, and we meshed so well by year two. Jones is a quieter version and smooth. Man, they are going to be so good working together and communicating with players.

“I feel like McGriff is great as a recruiter and a coach because can relate to the players. It’s his personality. We clashed when we first met. He stayed on me. He didn’t care what I did. He wasn’t giving up. It was his consistency and positive attitude.”

Golson watched some of Ole Miss’ 5-7 season. He viewed a lot of the coverage breakdowns and difficulties defending the pass. He sees a defense that got better with McGriff’s hiring.

“Man, those kids had to deal with adversity, and I understand what that’s like,” Golson said. I’ve been injured two straight years. I still get it. But I know those coaches, and I know what they were able to do separately.

“That’s going to be special. McGriff is real, and he has NFL experience now, too. I’m telling you, it’s special.”