By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – SEC football coaches have departments full of employees to get the words out about their players.
Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt gave Wayne Dorsey an extra little push when speaking to various support groups and at SEC Media Days this summer.
“Wayne Dorsey has had a tremendous off-season,” he said.
Dorsey, perhaps, needed image crafting as much or more than any other player on the Ole Miss team.
He was ranked among the top junior college players in the nation at Gulf Coast Community College for the 2009 season.
He was a mid-year signee who went through spring drills in 2010 and was primed to take the place of Marcus Tillman, a four-year starter and team captain.
That’s the way it began.
The season ended with Dorsey as a role player who wasn’t showing much impact in the final stats. He started the first four games but was in a reserve role for the trip to Alabama, and had just two tackles over the last four games.
Dorsey’s most impressive play of his debut season was a solo tackle for a 9-yard loss of a Tulane receiver on a reverse when the Green Wave was working its way back into the game in the fourth quarter. Dorsey’s stop forced Tulane to take a field goal, and the Rebels kept a 24-13 lead.
“I don’t think last year met expectations for anybody. A lot of bad things happened including things for myself,” Dorsey said. “Nothing I showed last year felt like myself. I felt like in the off-season I had to go back to the drawing board and figure out why I wasn’t myself.”
Dorsey’s quest for answers led him to the video room.
“I started watching tape from Gulf Coast, trying to figure out how I can make myself better. I am excited for this season.”
Unwilling to share what his video study turned up, Dorsey keeps his reasons for that excitement close to the vest.
“Just little things, real little things. I’d just rather show it than say it,” he said.
Defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix, like Nutt, senses change in Dorsey.
“His attitude, his work ethic, his body language. Wayne’s done a lot of good things, he actually helped finish a 10 minute drill the other day, one of the first time’s I’ve seen him finish some of our plays like we expect him to,” Nix said. “Wayne’s headed in the right direction. I think he has a bright future if he’ll continue to improve.”
Dorsey was reluctant to share his findings in viewing his old junior college tapes, but people who watched him at Gulf Coast saw a player who played with speed and aggression.
He had 10 sacks as a freshman, five more in a sophomore season limited to six games by injury.
It’s not uncommon for junior college transfers to blossom in the final season.
One case in point is Emmanuel Stephens went from five tackles for loss and a sack in 2008, his first season, to 71⁄2 tackles for loss and 51⁄2 sacks in 2009.
Nutt believes Dorsey, who is currently running second team behind junior Jason Jones, will make a similar leap.
“You get a junior college guy to come in and help immediately, but sometimes it takes a while for a guy to get used to the SEC,” he said. “I think Wayne is one of those guys.”