Reasons appear in random order. Here's another reason Ole Miss will be improved in 2011 …
Back in 2008 Brandon Bolden was a freshman and the running back threesome included Cordera Eason and fellow freshman Enrique Davis.
Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt has always liked multiple backs, but someone had to separate, and it was Bolden.
Late at the end of that freshman year he began to show a nose for the end zone, and the coaches showed confidence in using him in goalline situations.
Going into 2009 offensive coordinator Kent Austin was ready to hang his hat on Bolden in the run game. “He has the skill set we want,” Austin said.
Turns out the sophomore season was so stellar for Bolden. The offense sputtered, and Nutt eventually turned to Dexter McCluster. Bolden became more of an H-back. It was an easy transition, because his skill set is so diverse.
Bolden rushed for 969 yards last year but had some weaker games when the offensive line was having injuries and other issues. Bolden rushed for only 46 yards against Vanderbilt, just 9 against Arkansas.
Still, he was in position for 1,000-yard season late in the year.
Bolden rushed for 476 within the league, not eye-popping, but neither were his carries at 102. He averaged 4.6 yards per carry against SEC defenses, not bad.
Through it all he's increased his ability to take a hit and keep going, and some of his biggest runs have come when he's used his quickness and lateral movement to bounce outside.
I am interested to see if the Ole Miss offensive line is as good as advertised and if it is, what that means for Bolden. It should mean some good things on the right side running behind Matt Hall and Bobby Massie. We'll see.