'Schedule Shock': A Day In The Life Of Justin Bell
Redshirt sophomore Justin Bell and me in the players' lounge at the Manning Center

Nov. 6, 2013

 By Austin Miller, OleMissSports.com

OXFORD, Miss. — “He’s my bodyguard,” said Justin Bell, while laughing. “He’ll take everything but a bullet for me.”

That was how Bell, a redshirt sophomore offensive lineman from Jackson, introduced me to his friends, teachers, classmates and teammates, as he gracefully allowed me to follow him around for a day to give me a glimpse of student-athlete life at Ole Miss.

The Thursday before the Rebels’ recent bye weekend started out as me following Bell around from the training room, to class, to tutoring, to the Manning Center, but it soon became hanging out with my new friend Justin.

We met up in the training room at 8:15 a.m., Bell having woken up around 7:30 a.m. and already through his morning routine. He was getting treatment on his lower back with electrical stimulation and heat, and then he proceeded to rice bucket exercises to strengthen his hands.

“A lot of days end in the training room,” Bell said. “Most of my days end in the training room, but this week, it’s my third time in here. It all depends on how your body is feeling that week. After practice, you may have one or two tables free, but the cold tubs and hot tubs will be packed after practice. We use it mostly for recovery and maintenance.”

He didn’t recall any broken bones but just bruises and the gradual wear and tear of offensive linemen who use their hands, like the time he banged his fingers into an opponent’s facemask.

On the way to his 9 a.m. class, he stopped by his locker in the recently renovated locker room, where he ran into sophomore offensive lineman Ben Still and they talked about the previous day’s practice, what they expected from that day’s practice, and so forth.


 

 

“It’s all about learning the game and having it slow down for you, and then after that, it’s up to you, whether you want to be great or not,” said Bell, relating back to some of the conversation he had with Still. “It slowed down for me after my true freshman year.

“My redshirt freshman year, I started getting ready about this time last year to be honest. I took the spring and took the time to improve and get better. I used to go in and work with (strength) coach Matt (Shadeed) about hip flexibility and stuff, every Wednesday, which was usually an off day for us. One step at a time.”

Bell, an exercise science major, then started his coursework for the day, with a 9:30 a.m. exercise science class in the Turner Center where the students learned about establishing and maintaining personal, commercial, corporate or clinical-based exercise programs.

After a quick stop at Einstein Bagels in between classes for coffee, we went to his second and final class of the day, an 11:00 a.m. health promotion class in Hume Hall. That class featured an analysis of injuries most common to each sport, safety procedures and practical procedures for administering first aid.

The schedule, and not just class and football, Bell said, was the biggest transition from high school to college.

“You got to think in high school, you went to class, you went to football, and you were done,” he said. “You didn’t have meetings, you didn’t have tutors, and you didn’t have to go watch film. It’s just getting used to the routine and the schedule with everything back-to-back, this and that.

“The first fall, it was shocking to me. As a freshman, you pick your classes, but there are only certain times you can schedule classes, and I was redshirted, so we had redshirt workouts. I wouldn’t say it was culture shock, but it was schedule shock to me. It’s like the norm to me now.”

After the two morning classes, he had some down time before tutoring at 12:50 p.m. in the FedEx Student-Athlete Academic Support Center.

Bell gave me an informal tour of the facility, introducing me to some of his teammates and other student-athletes, while also showing me the various computer facilities, classrooms and other space for study halls and tutoring.

“He knows everybody, and they know him,” administrative assistant Andrea Getzin said. “He’s one of those.”

At a joint tutoring session with junior wide receiver Collins Moore, they talked about the exercise science class from earlier that day, as well as an upcoming paper in the class. Afterwards, they shared funny YouTube videos on their iPads, and then Bell showed me how he watches game film on the ThunderCloud Playbook iPad app.

And then one of the many highlights of the day: the players’ lounge.

Before the team meeting and practice, Bell got in a quick game of NCAA ’14 on the lounge’s 130-inch TV against freshman offensive lineman Daronte Bouldin, while some players played ping-pong, and others were just enjoying some down time.

Bell and Bouldin only played 2-minute quarters, having had to wait for offensive graduate assistant Ben Aigamaua and freshman offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil to finish their game.

When Bell and Bouldin had to end the game to walk down the hall of the Manning Center to the team meeting room, Bell was leading Bouldin by a touchdown.

It was interesting to hear the players use their own language to describe some of the play-calls in the game, as well as the trash-talking and commentary from both the players playing and the ones watching the games.

“In the team meeting, the coaches gave us our itinerary for the bye week weekend and let us know what time we needed to be back and let us know that our decisions affect the team and to make the right decisions this weekend,” Bell said.

After the team meeting, it was the team’s final practice until Sunday, followed by a voluntary bible study in the players’ lounge, which Bell said he and about 30-35 guys attended, and then he and his teammates were off for the day and the rest of the weekend.

“I try to knock out my homework first before I do anything and then try to get some down time to unwind,” Bell said. “I typically have about an hour or two of homework every day. A lot of the downtime is sleep. I also try to catch up on some shows I watch on Netflix and stuff. I got some naptime in because we had a little less time with practice. Not a lot of naptime during game weeks.”

Austin Miller is a writer and blogger for OleMissSports.com. He joined the staff in June 2013 after serving as sports editor of the Daily Mississippian. Follow him on Twitter @austinkmiller

    • Former Rebel Coach Ron Aldy Honored at Kirk Academy

      Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - Women's Basketball

      Former Women's Basketball Head Coach Ron Aldy and his family at gym floor dedication at Kirk Academy today. pic.twitter.com/Ruyc9TFui5-- Holmes Athletics (@holmesathletics) January 14, 2017 p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px... read more

    • Tunsil Named AFC East Rookie of the Year by ESPN

      Monday, January 16, 2017 - Football

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Miami Dolphins offensive lineman and Ole Miss' former blind side protector Laremy Tunsil was named AFC East rookie of... read more

    • Three Rebel Coaches Among Top-20 Recruiters Nationally

      Friday, January 13, 2017 - Football

      With the hiring of Jacob Peeler as wide receiver coach, #OleMiss now has three asst coaches ranked in @247Sports '16 Top 20 best recruiters.-- Brad Logan (@BradLoganCOTE) January 10, 2017 Ole Miss football bolstered its coaching staff by adding coaching... read more

    • Know the Opponent: Georgia

      Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - Men's Basketball

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Georgia (10-5, 2-1) KenPom ranking: 61 Best win: at No. 103 Auburn Worst loss: at No. 79 Oakland Ole... read more

    • Know the Opponent: Auburn

      Saturday, January 7, 2017 -

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Know the Opponent: Auburn (10-4) KenPom ranking: 105 Best win: No. 28 Texas Tech Worst loss: No. 172 Boston... read more

    • Longo Named FCS Coordinator of the Year

      Wednesday, January 4, 2017 - Football

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} p.p3 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; color: #333333; -webkit-text-stroke: #333333; background-color: #ffffff; min-height: 17.0px} p.p4 {margin:... read more

    • Freeze to Join Finebaum Film Room During Peach Bowl

      Friday, December 30, 2016 -

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Helvetica; min-height: 16.0px} ESPN is providing fans multiple ways to view the College Football Playoff, and Ole Miss head coach is playing... read more

    • Know the Opponent: Kentucky

      Thursday, December 29, 2016 - Men's Basketball

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; min-height: 14.0px} Know the Opponent: Kentucky (10-2)KenPom ranking: 4Best win: No. 3 North CarolinaWorst loss: No. 13 UCLAOle Miss opens up... read more

    • Know the Opponent: South Alabama

      Thursday, December 22, 2016 - Men's Basketball

      Know the Opponent: South Alabama (7-5)KenPom ranking: 218 Best win: at No. 187 UNLV Worst loss: at No. 303 Stetson Ole Miss has one final tuneup before conference play begins and it comes in the form of South Alabama. South Alabama on Offense:... read more

    • Know the Opponent: Bradley

      Monday, December 19, 2016 - Men's Basketball

      Know the Opponent: Bradley (5-6) KenPom ranking: 235 Best win: at No. 222 Eastern Illinois Worst loss: No. 253 Delaware Ole Miss faces Bradley in the second-to-last nonconference matchup before SEC play begins. Bradley on Offense: Bradley has not been great this season on... read more

    • New Coordinators Help Address Critical Areas

      Friday, December 16, 2016 - Football

      Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze had specific deficiencies that he wanted his coordinator hires to address. On offense, he wanted to improve the rushing attack, third down efficiency, and red zone scoring. On defense, Freeze wanted his new coordinator... read more

    • Know the Opponent: Murray State

      Thursday, December 15, 2016 - Men's Basketball

      Know the Opponent: Murray State (5-5) KenPom ranking: 162  Ole Miss returns home to face Murray State in its first home game in nearly two weeks in a matchup of two strong offenses.Murray State on Offense: Once again, Ole Miss... read more

    • Haynes' Return a Boon for Ole Miss Defense

      Wednesday, December 14, 2016 - Football

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; min-height: 14.0px} p.p3 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 15.4px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #292f33; -webkit-text-stroke: #292f33} p.p4 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px... read more

    • Know the Opponent: Virginia Tech

      Sunday, December 11, 2016 - Men's Basketball

      Know the Opponent: Virginia Tech (7-1) KenPom ranking: 36 Ole Miss faces one of the most well-rounded teams in the nation Sunday in Blacksburg, Virginia. Virginia Tech. Va Tech's offensive efficiency ranks 24th nationally, while their defensive efficiency also strong at 67th.... read more

    • Archie to Receive Gold Medal from NFF on Tuesday

      Monday, December 5, 2016 - Football

      Ole Miss legend Archie Manning will be receiving the National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Hall of Fame Gold Medal on Tuesday, December 6, at the 59th NFF Annual Awards Dinner. The highest and most prestigious award presented by the National... read more

OFFICIAL STORE

GET SOCIAL

Twitter

  • Loading Tweets...
    1 second ago

Instagram

Facebook