OXFORD – Ole Miss defensive tackle Jerrell Powe has taken it upon himself to bring Jeremiah Masoli up to speed on SEC defenses.
“I don’t know too much about SEC defenses,” Masoli said. “We had really great opponents in the Pac-10 last season. We’ll see what happens after I get in the film room and when the season rolls around.”
Masoli has spent his last two years at Oregon, guiding the Ducks to a 20-6 record and a Pac-10 championship and Rose Bowl berth last year.
In 2009, two Pac-10 teams ranked in the NCAA’s top 25 in total defense, Arizona State at No. 13 and Arizona at No. 25.
The SEC, meanwhile, had half its teams ranked in the top 26, led by Alabama at No. 2. Following were Florida at No. 4, South Carolina No. 15, Ole Miss No. 21, Tennessee No. 22 and LSU No. 26.
“When he first came down here I told him, ‘Now Jeremiah, everybody I know in the Pac-10 is small,’ ” Powe said. “‘You’re going to see some big and fast guys out here.’ In the dining hall after practice I asked him what he thought, and he said, ‘Everybody is big, tall and fast.’”
Ole Miss is considered to have one of the top defensive lines in the SEC. On Sunday and Monday, Masoli was able to glimpse the speed of an SEC defense.
He’ll see the size later this week when the Rebels put on pads.
“The first thing I noticed yesterday was that D line,” Masoli said. “It’s pretty vicious. Those guys are no joke. There’s great talent here.”
Extra year for Powe?
n Speaking of the senior Powe, there’s the possibility, however slim, that he could play at Ole Miss next year.
He was a partial qualifier in 2008, thus beginning his college career as a sophomore. Partial qualifiers can regain their lost season of eligibility if they maintain their academics.
“We’ll keep that in the back of our minds,” said Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt, who has subtly reminded Powe of this unique opportunity.
If Powe has the season many project for him, he’ll have opportunities beyond Ole Miss. That’s what he expects to happen.
“If I have to use that extra year I will, but I think I’ve paid my dues here,” he said.
Conditioning was Powe’s biggest nemesis early in his career. He reported Saturday with the veterans at 6-foot-2, 320 pounds
“He’s in the best shape of his life,” defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix said. “Hopefully we’ll see his best performance.”
Grant stays put
n Freshman Vincent Sanders joined a thin receiver group Monday, but Nutt is eager for others – like Quadarias Mireless – to arrive as well.
Nutt said over the weekend he was hopeful clearance for a handful of players would come by mid-week.
The Rebels lost Shay Hodge, the SEC’s leading receiver in 2009, then Pat Patterson, a promising young player, was dismissed earlier this summer.
The only position change to offset that depth was to move running back Korvic Neat (5-8, 165) to the group.
Redshirt freshman Terrell Grant signed as a receiver but was moved to safety last December. There’s no plan at the moment to move him back to offense.
Grant caught 35 passes for 481 yards as a senior at Cleveland High School. He also rushed 12 times for 198 yards.
Senior Jeremy McGee and junior Marcus Temple are slated to be the two new starters at cornerback, but that could change.
“I think all those guys are very close. Nobody has separated himself above the others,” Nix said. “It’s a great competition, and I feel like the cream will rise to the top. I hope someone separates themselves, but if not, we’ll rotate in a lot of different players.”
McGee has appeared in 26 games with two starts. Temple has appeared in 25 games with three starts coming when the Rebels began the game in a nickel situation.
Charles Sawyer turned heads with solid play in the spring. He’s listed as a backup to Temple on the left side.
Ryan Campbell is listed as McGee’s backup on the right side, and Frank Crawford was recently moved to corner from safety.
All three are redshirt freshmen.
Parrish Alford / Daily Journal