This is a random order. Here's reason No. 9 that Ole Miss will be improved in 2011.
I hesitate to heap praise or contribute to high expectations for true freshmen, but there are two reasons to do that with Nick Brassell.
One, his head coach has already done it – repeatedly – and I've seen his play in practice.
Practice is a long way from game day, and the pads haven't even gone on yet. That comes tomorrow.
But there are things you can see in shorts and helmets. You can see speed, you can see footwork, and you can see understanding.
Brassell has all of those things. The understanding part may come and go as digesting the playbook becomes a more difficult process.
But I thought Brassell responded well to coaching on a certain play I saw over the weekend. He took what he heard, applied it, and was in position to make the play.
The coachability part, being in position to make the play, can off-set a lack of great speed. That isn't necessary here. With Brassell, being in the right place and having the speed too will make him a great player not an average one.
Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt said the first time he saw Brassell run a post pattern he thought of Mike Wallace. Well, Ole Miss hasn't had Mike Wallace-type speed since Mike Wallace. The desire to start him out at wide receiver is understandable.
So offense is Brassell's primary responsibility right now, but that could change. He also worked with defense and special teams on Monday.
At his media day presser earlier in the day, Nutt left open the door that Brassell's focus could become more about defense, less about offense. There is great need at cornerback, perhaps greater need for Brassell's speed there than at wide receiver. How the other freshmen receivers develop could help decide where Brassell spends most of his time, Nutt said.
He can play both positions, but can't play them at the same time in practice and can't play them both every snap throughout a game.
Struggling to decide how to use Nick Brassell is a nice problem for Nutt.