By Parrish Alford | NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – The freshman class continues to emerge at Ole Miss.
The latest noteworthy accomplishment comes at the expense of wide receiver Ja-Mes Logan, a third-year sophomore, who had been the starting flanker.
Last week, Logan – who entered the Arkansas game as the Rebels’ leading receiver with 16 catches – was listed No. 1 on the depth chart, followed by freshmen Nick Brassell and Tobias Singleton.
The depth chart lists two players at most positions, sometimes three. Monday’s revised depth chart listed Brassell, then Singleton, with no mention of Logan.
“Donte Moncrief, Tobias Singleton, Vince Sanders and Collins Moore have stepped up on the depth chart,” Nutt said. “One good thing about the young guys is that they are pushing, and they have to stay on point. We used (Logan) at the end of the game Saturday to run a route he was familiar with. He made a big catch for us. We haven’t thrown him to the side, but there is competition there and I like that.”
Moncrief had five catches for 73 yards and two touchdowns – and one high-profile drop – against Arkansas. Brassell had eight catches for 70 yards and played defense also.
Singleton was used in the running game, rushing once for 3 yards. He caught no passes but returned two kicks for 52 yards.
“Tobias is coming along real good. He’s a great team player, he listens to the coaches, and he’s getting used to the speed. He didn’t catch on to the speed as fast as me and Nick did, but now he’s getting used to the speed, and he’s getting better,” Moncrief said.
Logan still leads the team in receptions with 17, followed by Moncrief with 16 and Brassell with 15.
Moncrief has four touchdown catches and is averaging 19.0 yards per reception.
Brassell on Monday sported the red shirt that Ole Miss defensive assistants Tyrone Nix and Keith Burns were wearing on the sideline against Arkansas.
On the front it says, “Code Red.” The back says, “Be prepared, play hard, maximum speed, finish.”
Defensive players can earn the shirt.
“I earned, because I’m out there playing with the defense, and they have the confidence they can put me in there, and I will make plays,” Brassell said.
He has been a two-way player most of the season, though more of his snaps have come on offense. Defensively, Brassell plays cornerback in certain packages and has posted 10 tackles, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble.
He and two other players share the team lead in pass break-ups with four.
Confidence in run
When Ole Miss had success running the football against Arkansas, it wasn’t only running at the edges.
The Rebels were stronger inside than they’ve been many times this season, and much of that success came behind the right side with Arkansas transfer Matt Hall at guard and junior Bobby Massie at tackle.
Hall felt like the play-calling might have been tailored to his side because of his past with the Razorbacks.
“I think it was, the way me and Bob, the way we’ve all been playing. They might have put a little more on me since that was my old team, and they knew I was going to play hard against them,” he said.
The better runs came in the first half, but Ole Miss finished the game with 151 rushing yards. Its previous SEC high was 85 against Vanderbilt.
Ole Miss had 128 yards at halftime. Hall said he noticed more stunts and twists from Arkansas in the second half.
He says the Rebels’ success in the first half will give them more confidence going to Auburn this weekend.
“It’s a good feeling. We know we can do it, and we had an excellent week of running the ball against the No. 9 (BCS rankings) team in the USA. It helps us out knowing we can do that, knowing we have Brandon back and the other running backs who can help us do that,” he said.