Rebel football

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 17, 2007

Former South Panola standout Jamarca Sanford (left) stands during the media day Monday with his Ole Miss teammates Marshay Green, No. 8, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis, No. 6. The Panolian photo by Angie Ledbetter

Rebels get fired up

By Angie Ledbetter

For three hours under the hot temperature of 100 degrees or more, the press got to watch the 2007 Ole Miss Rebel football team on the practice field in full pads on Monday, August 13. The players showed what they had for the upcoming season. The press also got to interview the players and take pictures of them after having lunch in the indoor practice facility with them.

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Coach Ed Orgeron held a press conference at 1:30 p.m. showing his excitement for the players and his coaching staff.

“I love the attitude of this football team and coaching staff,” said Orgeron. “We’ve been working very hard in conditions that will be similar to those in which we’ll be playing.”

Orgeron talked about the starting quarterback position also.

“Our quarterback position is still open. They are all competing out there. It’s going to remain an open race.”

Orgeron talked about the players from South Panola who are starting this year.

“John Jerry is really becoming a leader for us at 350 pounds and a 5.0 flat 40. He is tremendous guard and is learning our offensive scheme and making calls at the line of scrimmage.”

Orgeron said the team has a shot with everything falling the right way with the defense.

“Peria Jerry is practicing about 70 percent of the time and has not been blocked yet,” said Orgeron. “He’s got a great attitude and is having a great camp. I think he’s ready for an outstanding year.

“At linebacker it’s all about what I expected,” said Orgeron. “We have to keep on fighting and keep changing jerseys and positions. We don’t have the guys in place yet that have the experience to be a great line backing corps. But after one day of practice with shoulder pads on, we put Chris Strong as our starting mike linebacker and we feel he can handle it. We feel he is going to be a great football player. He has to get cleared through the clearing house, but he is exactly what we want in there. He can filll the gaps and be a run stopper. We are excited about him.”Jamarca Sanford also received some praise.

“We are very excited to have a guy like Jamarca Sanford in the defensive backfield,” said Orgeron. “He’s a leader and very solid. John Thompson is using him in some blitzes and defenses that are a little bit different, and you can see him blossoming on defense.

“He should be a force,” Orgeron continued. “He gets everyone lined up and is always talking. He’s got a great spirit about him and is probably the best tackler on the team. He’s always learned how to cover man to man. I think that he does his best work off the field.”

Orgeron described Sanford as an “inner fiber” to get the team going in the right direction.

“You can see a chemistry on our team and I think he’s (Sanford) one of those leaders.”

Sanford said every year he tries to lead his team.

“I’m not a big talker like Patrick was,” Sanford said. “I just try to lead by example. I go out and just do what I have to do and everybody else just follows me. I think that we are on the right road with this year’s team. It’s all about finishing this year.”

Peria Jerry described the team as being really young this year.

“I think that we are going to have a great chance at being good,” Peria said. “Everybody is working hard, especially the freshmen, learning the plays because they are going to have to play a lot. I think that we are going to be a great defense.”

John “Baby J” Jerry missed most of practice on Monday for unexplained reasons. He said he was fine.

“I think that we have come a long way and all the work that we have done in the off season is going to pay off,” he said.

John talked about being able to play with Jamarca, Chris, and Peria, all the South Panola boys.

“Basically where we came from, we are just hard workers,” he said. “We just lead our team by working hard. We know what it takes to win so we just try to show everybody else what it takes to win.”

Ole Miss fans will have a chance to meet these players and the rest of the team, along with the volleyball and soccer teams, at the annual Meet the Rebels Day tomorrow at the Indoor Practice Facility on campus.

The event begins at 11 a.m. with the UMAA Foundation membership luncheon on the IPF playing field. The price is $10 per box lunch and may be paid on Saturday by cash or check.

 Ed Orgeron and the Ole Miss football coaches will address the crowd at noon, and the Rebel players from all three fall sports will be available for autographs and to meet fans from 12:30 until 2:30 p.m.

Posters and schedule cards will be handed out, and in a rare opportunity, the athletics department will be selling official team gear. Ten football helmets will be sold at $150 each, while game jerseys, coaches‚ polos and an assortment of practice apparel will be available. The 2007 media guide will also be on sale for $15.

 Three prizes will be raffled off Saturday by the UMAA Foundation: a football signed by the entire Ole Miss squad; two pre-game field passes for the Florida game; and two Rebel Club passes for the Alabama game. Raffle tickets are $5, and you must be present to win.

“Meet the Rebels Day” will conclude with the Rebels holding an intra-squad scrimmage inside of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The practice is set to begin at 3:30 p.m. and will be open to the public.

 For more information on “Meet the Rebels Day,” please contact the UMAA Foundation at (662) 915-7159.