Monday, May 3, 2010

An Early Look At Ole Miss

A lot of Jacksonville State fans are planning to attend the season opener against Ole Miss. Here is a preview of them by Parish Alford which was part of an article on


Quarterback status: Nathan Stanley is the starter. He has scant game experience but has shown a nice touch with deep balls. His decision-making improved, and he won the job on his own merit, not based solely on the fact that his chief competitor, redshirt freshman Raymond Cotton, missed a handful of practices with shoulder soreness and may need surgery.

Injuries: Cotton has a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, but the tear is in the back of the labrum, not the front. That makes the pain tolerable. Surgery is likely, but it's not clear at this point whether that will be in the summer or after the season.

Spring strengths: Defensive line. Rebels are two deep with four senior tackles. Kentrell Lockett is a senior playmaker at one defensive end. Junior college transfer Wayne Dorsey is capable at the other end, but like all newcomers, he'll have a period of acclimation.

Spring weaknesses: Offensive line. Left tackle Bradley Sowell developed into a pretty good pass blocker as the season went on last year. Right tackle Bobby Massie started only four games. Three new starters from guard to guard, and depth is thin. Key is guard Rishaw Johnson. He has a physical streak that the tackles haven't shown. Johnson was expected to be a starter last year but struggled with off-field problems, and was eventually suspended.

Player who will make a splash: Receiver Jesse Grandy. Returned a couple of kicks for touchdowns last year but was used sparingly in the passing game. Very fast and showed dependable hands in the spring. He'll make catches downfield, but there was great emphasis in the spring in getting the ball in his hands quickly with short passing.

Player who will be missed most: Dexter McCluster. Perhaps the top athlete among football players in the SEC last season. Rushed for 1,000 yards in roughly five games. First player in SEC history to rush for more than 1,000 yards and have more than 500 receiving yards in the same season. Replacing him will be done by committee. The top three backs - Brandon Bolden, Enrique Davis and Rodney Scott.

-- Parrish Alford

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