This is a random order. Here's reason No. 14 Ole Miss will be improved in 2011.
A reminder of this process. Brad Locke and I set out to see what we could have on the blog for every day in August leading to kickoff. Every one of these reasons that I trot out here will make the Rebels an improved football team if all the reasons materialize. Everybody knows it doesn't usually work out that way.
Ole Miss needs a better than average number of these reasons to play out, particularly as it relates to help from new people.
No where is that more true than with Uriah Grant.
I think the DL has played well in the first week of camp, but on paper, here's what the Rebels have: At one end, a juco player who wasn't very good his first season but that they they believe will be a lot better his second season. A question mark. They have a proven playmaker and leader at the other end. Lots of players come back from major knee surgery and are very successful. Some less so. Another question mark. There was good news Saturday when both Wayne Dorsey and Kentrell Lockett performed well in the first major scrimmage of camp.
On the interior, if senior Justin Smith makes the 2-deep, and right now he's there, Ole Miss will have one lineman who has played in a college game. Smith has battled injuries and has 16 tackles through 21 games in three years.
This team needs a junior college transfer to make a fast impact and to play with consistency all year.
Grant once signed with West Virginia. His route to Oxford included a 2009 season at Eastern Kentucky in which he posted five tackles for loss and two sacks. He had 17 tackles for loss and six sacks last year at Fullerton (Calif.) Community College.
Grant has quickly risen to first team, and Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt says he's a guy who pushes the pile. He showed that with a pair of tackles Saturday. Generally, Grant was held his space or got in the backfield.
Given depth issues at linebacker, a lineman who attracts attention and requires double teams is a must to help those guys do their jobs.