Swinney Emracing Leadership Role Among Rebel Running Backs

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When Eric Swinney looks around the running back group meeting room, he can quickly see he's now the oldest guy in the room. That comes a leadership role he's beginning to embrace.

He's now taken it upon himself to mentor some of the younger running backs that Matt Luke has been bullish on throughout spring ball.

"It's different taking on a leadership role," Swinney said. "I am trying to help the new guys out like Isaiah and Armani (Linton), even Scottie. Telling them to study the playbook, get in the film room and getting the calls even when they are not on the field."


Luke said after practice on Tuesday the two biggest surprises of the spring have been newcomers Isaiah Woullard and junior college transfer Scottie Phillips. Swinney tends to agree with his head coach.


"They're learning the system really fast and making plays, man. Isaiah is quick an strong. Scottie is making big time plays and they're going to do well for us," Swinney said.

Swinney's a guy who's endured a pair of catastrophic leg injuries, the second coming on his first touch in game action after surviving the first in the Rebels' 2016 season opener against Florida State. It forced him to sit out a second straight college season.

Last year, Swinney finally got back onto the field, carrying the football 41 times for 195 yards. It was a start, and more importantly, Swinney began to feel like his old self again.


"I am not really adjusting to it, but I feel like I am getting back to myself a little bit when I am out there," Swinney said.

He says he's put on more weight and has become a more deliberate back as a result of the injuries. Aside from that, he doesn't feel any major lingering effects anymore. He's healthy again.

"Everything feels like it has balanced out," Swinney said. "My body is feeling great. I am taking care of myself. Just learning how to take care of my body has really helped me."

Swinney's enjoyed seeing some newcomers emerge around him. Between he and D'Vaughn Pennamon, he hopes this team will begin to compile some depth in the backfield. Phillips and Woullard's emergence will only add to that.

"We're working well together," Swinney said. "We're competing out there just working every day and getting in the film room. We're trying to make this team better."

Ole Miss is now on the back end of of spring practice as the culmination nears with the Grove Bowl in two weeks. The Rebels are banged up and have held some guys out of practice as a precaution. It's allowed some of the younger players to get more reps, like Ben Brown on the offensive line. He's been working with the first team the last couple of days.

"It helps out a lot," Brown said. "It's a lot faster paced for sure. There are a lot of very talented players. I am just happy to be getting the reps."

Brown got adjusted to the speed of the college game as a freshman last year as he redshirted and the coaching staff is hopeful he will be a contributor this fall to pad the offensive line depth with the departure of Daronte Bouldin and Rod Taylor. Depth up front helped the Rebels battle some attrition on the offensive line last season and kept the running game afloat late in the season.

"I feel really prepared," Brown said. "Getting to learn from the older guys has been a big time help."

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    Tiffany J. Moore said:

    This is amazing with what he have done so far! Hope that he'll achieve more in the future!

    in post Evan Engram Hauls in Midseason Accolades

    Fiftyyears fan said:

    How can you have five straight top 25 recruiting classes and look as bad as Ole Miss has this year. Easy lack of coaching fundamentals. Look at Mason at Vandy, nothing but 2 and 3 star recruits out of high school and he developers players that want to win. Hugh freeze has 3, 4 & 5 recruits and he expects them to win because of what they were in High School. Mr. Freeze you have not been teaching the fundamentals of football or winning in life. Mr. Freeze you have quit on your players because you have some false expectations of what they are instead of what you can develop in them. Either do your job or quit. Oh yea, please quit running your smoke and mirrors offense, everyone has figured it out. Run a physical offense that can open up holes for your running backs and then your pass attack want require 12 are 14 four and five star receivers. Mr. Freeze you have problems and you need to know that you are not smarter than the rest of the coaches in the SEC.

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    Karen Holden said:

    Not every pass can be caught. Too low, too short whatever. Not every Kelly pass is perfect. Records were broken by receivers also. But they sre not going to catch every ball thrown. The loss to Auburn was not one players fault. You win or lose as a team.

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    Trent browning said:

    Hey I was just wandering if these are the only 2 olemiss players signing. If there are more signing please respond to me ASAP. Also wondering if neil everett will sign any autographs. Thank you very much

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