Stringfellow says WR group can find consistency Freeze wants

Laquon Treadwell’s rehab and comeback, his belief that he’s not only healed but will be better in 2015, tend to dominate the discussion about Ole Miss wide receivers.
Truth is, it’s an interesting group, but it’s not one you can hang a hat on right now, even with Treadwell.

Hopefully his transition back to the physical part of football goes as easily as he thinks it will.

With or without Treadwell there seems to be a lot of talent at the wide receiver group, and that’s what had Hugh Freeze a little frustrated in the spring.

He didn’t feel like he was getting enough out of the group as a whole.

It’s an interesting collection. There’s a Washington transfer who has a very similar size and shape as Treadwell.

There’s the guy that Freeze called the “sleeper” of the 2013 signing class, Derrick Jones, because of his athleticism.

There’s returning experience in Cody Core who burst onto the scene this time a year ago after beginning camp as a relative unknown. His 41 catches were second to Treadwell’s 48 last year, and Core caught six touchdown passes.

There’s Quincy Adeboyejo, another member of the 13 class, a guy Freeze described as special in ability back then.

Markell Pack also contributed last year as a freshman.

The Ole Miss media guide boasts that the Rebels could have one of the top receiving corps this fall but after a mention of Treadwell shifts immediately to tight end Evan Engram.

The group adds a couple of interesting pieces in highly rated recruits DaMarkus Lodge and Van Jefferson.

But it’s the returning group as a whole that Freeze took issue with in the spring.

Beyond Core’s 41 grabs there’s not a lot of production that screams “outstanding.”

Freeze wants to see the potential turn to production. He didn’t see the consistency he wanted in the spring and spoke as strongly about a position group as I’ve ever heard him speak when he discussed them earlier this week.

“Coming out of spring I challenged them. I thought we needed more consistency out of them. I think we have the ability, or I wouldn’t say that. I really wouldn’t. If you have a group of men who have trusted in you to come play for you and they’re doing all they can with what they’ve been gifted, I would never say that. These young men, we need more out of them. To whom much is given much is required, and they’re a talented group. We need more out of them, and I think we’ll get I.”

Consistency among receivers often equates to dropped passes. It can mean other things too, route running, blocking and such.

But the biggest measure of a wide receiver is how he catches the football.

I discussed consistency and the alleged lack thereof with Stringfellow this week.

Damore'ea Stringfellow/Ole Miss photo Joshua McCoy

Damore’ea Stringfellow/Ole Miss photo Joshua McCoy

“I totally agree with coach Freeze. As a group I don’t think we came in and gave it our all. I can say that for myself. I know I didn’t give it my all this spring, and it showed, I guess. The only thing we can do about it is to come out this fall camp with our heads on fire and expect more of ourselves,” he said.

The obvious question then is why didn’t you give it your all?

This is a guy who seemed to come into his own late in his freshman season at Washington, finishing with 20 catches for 259 yards and a touchdown. He’s in new surroundings now with an opportunity to be a really big part of this team.

He may become that really big part by playing a head of fire in camp. It just seemed a little odd that there was not much urgency in spring when Vince Sanders’ starting spot was open, and Treadwell wasn’t doing much.

“It’s hard to say why. I’m not really sure, but I know this fall camp, I’m going to have my head on fire. I’ve been looking forward to it,” Stringfellow said.

Freeze was talking about the group, not just Stringfellow.

Maybe they will all be motivated to play with burning heads. If so, Stringfellow says it won’t be hard to deliver the consistency the head coach is looking for.

“That’s not a problem. Being great is based on how much work you put in. Once you have your mind set on how much work you’re going to put in and where you want to go consistency is a breeze.”

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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