By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Senquez Golson says he’s comfortable in the secondary, and his play early in the Ole Miss camp supports that declaration.
Confidence from Golson – a gifted sophomore who turned down a $1.4 million offer from the Boston Red Sox last year – is a good thing in light of the fact that he missed spring drills with the new coaching staff while he played with the Ole Miss baseball team.
Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack last week compared Golson more to a true freshman than a sophomore, because Golson missed spring drills while a new staff was installing a new scheme.
Five days into camp, Golson continues to hold a starting job at cornerback, and the secondary is becoming a strong point as a defensive personality appears to be emerging for the rebuilding Rebels.
Hugh Freeze was hired to implement an up-tempo, high-scoring offense. Depth is thin, and progress has been slow. No leader has emerged in a quarterback race between junior Barry Brunetti and junior college transfer Bo Wallace.
Defense, though, has been consistent.
“Our secondary continues to play with a swagger and a chip on their shoulder,” Freeze said. “We’ve said all along that defense is where most of our experience lies. If they can keep getting turnovers in games like they do in practice we’ll be all right. We’ll have some chances.”
Golson is one of three starting cornerbacks in the 4-2-5, an effort to get more speed on the field.
Junior college transfer Dehendret Collins, who played cornerback in the spring, has been moved inside to what is called the “Husky” position.
Senior Wesley Pendleton holds the other outside position.
Pendleton had two interceptions in Tuesday’s workout, one where he tipped the ball then made the catch, another where he read the play, broke on the ball and sprinted in front of receiver Vincent Sanders to make the catch.
It was a good day as well for Golson, who made a couple of plays in the red zone.
Coming out of Pascagoula two years ago, Golson was rated the No. 10 player in Mississippi, the No. 33 cornerback in the nation by Rivals.com.
Golson appeared in 12 games as a freshman and finished with two pass break-ups and an interception, though he may be best known for getting juked on a long touchdown run by Trent Richardson en route to a 52-7 win by Alabama. The play frequently appeared on ESPN.
He says his technique is “sloppy” right now, but he’s putting in the time to change that. It hasn’t affected his confidence.
“Confidence comes in being comfortable with the person next to you. I’m comfortable with all those guys,” he said. “That helps me come down on those comeback routes. I know I’ve got help over the top.”
There is no help for Golson in the playbook. That’s one-on-one all the time.
“Playing-wise, it hasn’t been too hard to get back into it, it’s just learning the playbook. I’ve got to stay in it.”