Spring Update 03.29: Rebels Focus on Competition and Depth
March 29, 2016

OXFORD, Miss. - The Ole Miss football team returned to the practice field on Tuesday as it continued to work towards replacing the players that participated in the program's pro day the day before.

"Our guys have bought into our system," Ole Miss co-offensive coordinator Dan Werner said. "We're getting better every day. The young guys, we've been harping on them, you guys have to be ready to go. You think we have all spring, all summer, all fall, but it happens fast."

The Rebel defense has been gaining more confidence with each spring practice, as some new faces that will be counted on this upcoming season are getting more comfortable with their roles in the scheme.

"We're counting of some of these guys just got here and some of the redshirt freshmen to help us in the two-deep," Ole Miss co-defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said. "We've gone a little slower than we have in the past. They're starting to pick things up. They've gotten better every day."

With both Issac Gross and Fadol Brown not participating this spring, it gives chances for others to compete and gain valuable experience. 

"It's a good thing and a bad thing that Issac and Fadol are not there because you're developing some of that (depth)," Wommack said. "In this league, we want to have eight or 10 guys. We'll need them all when the time comes."

That defense is benefited especially by facing the difficult task that is defending the SEC's top returning signal caller Chad Kelly each time out.

"He can throw the ball down the field," Wommack said. "There were a couple of them out there where we were really in good shape and had our linebacker underneath the seven route. He just sticks it in there and makes it."

The safety position in particular has seen some reorganizing of personnel to better suit the defense and create more competition among units.

"We moved (Zedrick Woods) over to free safety and moved Myles (Hartsfield) over to rover to create some more competition," Wommack said. "It's been good for us. This is our third day doing that and creating some competition. It was really slow at first, and it's picked up in the last week."

Throughout spring practice to this point, the offense and the defense have swapped victories against the other.

"We've had a couple that we've won," Werner said. "They've had a couple that they've won. It's good that way. When I've been on championship football teams, the defense is really, really good. If we were winning every single day, I wouldn't feel good about next year."

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