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INSIDE
Team Page MSU ............................. 2-5 EMCC ............................. 6 Itawamba C.C. ................ 8 Ole Miss ..................... 9-10 Alabama ................... 11-12

mississippi state UNIVERSITY bulldogs


Athletic Website: www.hailstate.com; Twitter: http://twitter.com/HailState

THANKS / ABOUT US
n The Dispatch would like to thank the media relations and sports information departments at Mississippi State University, East Mississippi Community College, Itawamba C.C., the University of Mississippi, and the University of Alabama for their help in gathering all of the information in this years section. n Each week during the season, we will have special features for MSU and EMCC, as well as stories about former local football players who are playing football at other state junior colleges. Every Wednesday or Thursday, we will spotlight JUCOs. Every Friday, we will preview MSUs game that week. n A special thanks to Stacy Clark for designing the cover. n Fans can follow Matt Stevens coverage of MSU at www. cdispatch.com and on his blog, which you can access on the website. You can also stay abreast of the latest MSUnews by following him on Twitter at: @matthewcstevens. n The Dispatch encourages all fans to call us with their comments and questions. You can reach us at 662-327-1297 or e-mail information to sports@cdispatch.com. n Also, if you know of any former local high school athletes playing a sport in college, call us at 662-3271297 or e-mail us at sports@ cdispatch.com.

Aug. 31  Vs. Oklahoma St. (At Houston, Texas) Sept. 7 ALCORN STATE Sept. 14 At Auburn Sept. 21 TROY Oct. 5 LSU Oct. 12 BOWLING GREEN Oct. 24 KENTUCKY Nov. 2  At S. Carolina Nov. 9 At Texas A&M Nov. 16 ALABAMA Nov. 23 At Arkansas (Little Rock) Nov. 28 OLE MISS HOME GAMES IN CAPS

2013 Schedule

Mississippi State University running back LaDarius Perkins had 1,024 yards and eight touchdowns as the Bulldogs primary back. He likely will be called on to play an even bigger role to make sure coach Dan Mullen has the balance on offense he wants.

Dispatch File Photo

Msu hopes Moneyball EQUALS balance


Mullen, coaching staff use sabermetrics to analyze numbers, find ways to maximize weapons
By MAT THEW STEVENS mstevens@cdispatch.com

STARKVILLE Football is usually about loud, inspirational speeches. The sport is normally seen as a physical battle won in weight rooms. Conventional wisdom suggests violence cant be hardwired into a microchip. At Mississippi State University, the game of football is still about those things, but the math geek is much more involved, too. In Starkville, MSU coach Dan Mullen is trying to build synergy by combining the physical side and the sta-

tistical aspect of the game. Football is a big, big math game, Mullen said. Theres a lot of statistics in it and a lot of geometry in it. It just also happens to involve a lot of testosterone and other things that arent described in the same way as math. Mullens coaching staff has taken a page from Oakland As General Manager Billy Beane, one of the men who helped bring sabermetrics to Major League Baseball and Hollywood, with the movie Moneyball. Sabermetrics is the specialized analysis of baseball through objective evidence, especially baseball statistics that measures

in-game activity. While Beane and the As used the analysis to find the players best suited to help the offense, Mullen and his coaches have crunched the numbers to develop guidelines that establish a direct relationship between success and the number of times players touch the ball. The big issue when you start getting into SEC play is changing the field position, MSU offensive coordinator Les Koenning said. If we can sustain those long drives and get in the end zone, thats the goal right. Do we want big plays? Yes, but we have to put it in our See MSU OFFENSE, 5

Sept. 1 W, 56-9 JACKSON STATE Sept. 8 W, 28-10 AUBURN Sept. 15 W, 30-24 At Troy Sept. 22 W, 30-10 SOUTH ALABAMA Oct. 6 W, 27-14 At Kentucky Oct. 13 W, 41-31 TENNESSEE Oct. 20 W, 45-3 MIDDLE TENNESSEE Oct. 27 L, 7-38 At Alabama Nov. 3 L, 13-38 TEXAS A&M Nov. 10 L, 17-37 At LSU Nov. 17 W, 45-14 ARKANSAS Nov. 24 L, 24-41 At Ole Miss Jan. 1 L, 20-34 Vs. Northwestern TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl HOME GAMES IN CAPS

2012 Results

FOOTBALL 2013
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ABOUT THE COVER

The Dispatch
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A publication of

Managing Editor Slim Smith Sports Adam Minichino Matt Stevens Scott Walters Cover Design Stacy Clark

Photographers Luisa Porter Micah Green David Allen Williams Stan Beall Graphic Artists Jackie Taylor Ernest Rogers Production Tina Perry Anne Murphy

Last season, the University of Mississippi pulled away in the second half to beat Mississippi State University to win the Egg Bowl Trophy. This season, the game is back in Starkville, and the Bulldogs will try to regain control of the coveted piece of hardware.

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Defense needs McKinney to live up to All-America accolades


By MAT THEW STEVENS mstevens@cdispatch.com

STARKVILLE At Mississippi State University, each player goes through what the coaches describe as a four-step progression that involves answering four questions. What to do? How to do it? When to do it? Why youre doing it? In just his third season on the campus and his second on the active roster, MSU sophomore linebacker Benardrick McKinney has arrived at the final stage of his college career. The returning middle linebacker and new leader of the Bulldogs defense now must know why his coaches are doing things to help younger players understand and join him on the field faster. Last season, MSUs wizard of the why stage was senior linebacker Cameron Lawrence McKinneys mentor in his first season. Any time Lawrence said something in a positional meeting, McKinney wrote it down. Any time McKinney had a question, he knew where to go for the answer. About the only thing Lawrence and McKinney didnt see eye to eye on last season was hair length. He is a guy that is like a sponge picking up everything I do or say out there every day, Lawrence said last year. He is going to be a really scary player. After Im gone, hell be the man. Hes already doing special things. Lawrence was famous for understanding MSUs defensive philosophy and concepts. He also gained notoriety for his ability

He is going to be a really scary player. After Im gone, hell be the man. Hes already doing special things.
Former Mississippi State University linebacker Cam Lawrence
to read the opponents schemes, like he claimed he was able to do in MSUs 28-10 victory against Auburn University in its Southeastern Conference opener at Davis Wade Stadium. Lawrence said he was so locked in to Auburns play calling that he was able to use hand signal to let his secondary

Its time for me to lead and show guys how things in this program need to be done.
Mississippi State University redshirt sophomore linebacker Benardrick McKinney

TOP: Benardrick McKinney tied for second in the nation among freshman and sixth overall in the SEC with 102 tackles. He will be counted on to anchor the defense with rising senior Denico Autry (ABOVE), who had four sacks and was second best on the team with nine and a half tackles for loss.

David Allen Williams/Dispatch File Photo; Dispatch File Photo

teammates know when the Tigers were passing or running. When you play us, Im going to get in your head early on, and I saw they werent ready for our plan from the first snap on, Lawrence said. There was a point in the first half where we knew what the play was and who

was going to get the ball. They couldnt confuse us on anything they were doing. Lawrences knack for reading the other team attracted attention, which meant more opportunities for McKinney, who capitalized and was named to the leagues All-Freshman team. McKinney was named a freshman All-American by CBS Sports, Phil Steele, Scout. com, and FoxSportsNext after tying for second in the nation among freshman and sixth overall in the SEC with 102 tackles. He also earned Co-SEC Freshman of the Week honors after making 12 tackles (10 solo), one tackle for loss, and his first two career pass breakups in a victory at Kentucky. I think everybody knows where No. 10 (Lawrences number) is on the field now and maybe Benardrick is getting the benefit of that with the opportunities to make plays, MSU linebackers coach Geoff Collins said in October 2012. Without Lawrence this season, McKinney must now think more for himself, figure out patterns and tendencies, and use his athletic ability to make stops. After finishing second on the team in tackles behind Lawrence (120), more will be expected from the 6-foot5, 235-pound McKinney, who was named this summer to the Butkus Award and Bednarik Award Watch Lists for college linebackers and defensive players. From Day One guys on this team know I like to be a vocal leader on and off the field, McKinney said. Its time for me to See MCKINNEY, 13

Head Coach Dan Mullen n Tony Hughes Assistant Head Coach / Safeties / Recruiting Coordinator n Geoff Collins Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers n Billy Gonzales Wide Receivers n John Hevesy Offensive Line / Running Game Coordinator n Greg Knox Running Backs n Les Koenning Offensive Coordinator / Quarterbacks n Scott Sallach Tight Ends n Deshea Townsend Defensive Backs n David Turner Defensive Line n Matt Balis Head Strength Coach n Jon Clark Assistant AD / Football Operations n Rockey Felker Director of Player Personnel / High School Relations

Coaching staff

Radio affiliates
City Station Frequency Aberdeen WWZQ 1240 AM Amory WAMY 1580 AM Batesville WBLE 100.5 FM Biloxi/Gulfport WBUV 104.9 FM Clarksdale WROX 1450 AM Clarksdale WROX 96.1 FM Columbia WCJU 104.9 FM Corinth WKCU 1350 AM Ferriday KWTG 104.7 FM French Camp WFCA 107.9 FM Greenville WDMS 100.7 FM Greenwood/Indianola WTCD 96.9 FM Grenada WOHT 92.3 FM Hattiesburg WMXI 98.1 FM Jackson WRKS 105.9 FM Lucedale WRBE 106.9 FM Memphis, Tenn. KQPN 730 AM Meridian WMOX 1010 AM Monticello WRQO 102.1 FM Philadelphia WWSL 102.3 FM Starkville/West Point WKBB 100.9 FM Tylertown WTYL 97.7 FM Tupelo WXWX 96.3 FM Vicksburg WVBG 105.5 FM Waynesboro WABO 105.5 FM Winona WONA 95.1 FM Yazoo City WBYP/WELZ 107.1 FM/1460 AM n The Biloxi/Gulfport and the Waynesboro stations are the only ones that wont carry Mississippi State University football coach Dan Mullens weekly call-in show, DawgTalk. In 2012, the show was from 7-8 p.m. Thursdays from Aug. 30 to Nov. 21. Fans can call into the show by dialing 866-998-4893. n In 2012, a relationship began between the Southeastern Conference, its member institutions, and Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, which became the exclusive providers of satellite radio in the SEC in 2007. MSUs regular-season games will be offered through XM this season, a minimum of eight of which will feature the official MSU broadcast. For more information, please visit Sirius/XM.

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2012 Statistics
SCORING Points Per Game FIRST DOWNS Rushing Passing Penalty RUSHING YARDAGE Yards gained rushing Yards lost rushing Rushing Attempts Average Per Rush Average Per Game TDs Rushing PASSING YARDAGE Comp.-Att.-Int. Average Per Pass Average Per Catch Average Per Game TDs Passing TOTAL OFFENSE Total Plays Average Per Play Average Per Game KICK RETURNS: #-Yards PUNT RETURNS: #-Yards INT RETURNS: #-Yards KICK RETURN AVERAGE PUNT RETURN AVERAGE INT RETURN AVERAGE FUMBLES-LOST PENALTIES-Yards Average Per Game PUNTS-Yards Average Per Punt Net punt average KICKOFFS-Yards Average Per Kick Net kick average TIME OF POSSESSION 3RD-DOWN Conversions 3rd-Down Pct 4TH-DOWN Conversions 4th-Down Pct SACKS BY-Yards MISC YARDS TOUCHDOWNS SCORED FIELD GOALS-ATTEMPTS ON-SIDE KICKS RED-ZONE SCORES RED-ZONE TDS PAT-ATTEMPTS ATTENDANCE Games/Avg Per Game Neutral Site Games MSU 383 29.5 262 95 149 18 1874 2123 249 424 4.4 144.2 18 3091 7.3 12.4 237.8 28 4965 848 5.9 381.9 23-171 19-349 23.1 7.4 18.4 17-7 61-538 41.4 41.1 39.9 60.2 54.6 30:01 57/164 35% 13/21 62% 19-148 -20 49 14-22 1-1 OPP 303 23.3 278 134 128 16 2153 2413 260 504 4.3 165.6 16 2883 7.0 10.9 221.8 17 5036 918 5.5 387.4 13-6 10-253 20.2 0.5 25.3 19-14 70-631 48.5 39.1 35.8 61.8 38.9 29:59 77/183 42% 11/15 73% 19-130 6 37 15-20 1-1

Mullen eager to see MSU answer questions


By DAVID BRANDT The Associated Press

5 THINGS TO WATCH

249-424-10 265-414-19

44-1016 53-1072

57-2340 63-2464

73-4395 64-3957

(39-51) 76% (35-44) 80% (31-51) 61% (23-44) 52% (47-48) 98% (36-37) 97% 389396 334168 1/48612 7/55628 5/66834

STARKVILLE Mississippi State Universitys football program is in better shape since coach Dan Mullen took over five years ago. The Bulldogs have been to three straight bowl games for only the second time in school history and are in the midst of a $75 million renovation to Davis Wade Stadium that will increase seating capacity and add more amenities, like a second high-definition video board. For all the good news, heres the bad: The SEC Western Division is still a tough place to reside in college football. The Bulldogs will once again try to figure out a way to muscle past powers University of Alabama and LSU. Mullen said the programs ultimate goal is to find a way to get to Atlanta and compete for an SEC championship. MSU has some key players returning, including senior quarterback Tyler Russell and senior running back LaDarius Perkins. But there are many new faces especially on defense. There are a lot of opportunities for young guys to step up, not just as playmakers on the field, but young guys need to step into leadership roles for us this year, Mullen said. I think thats going to be a real defining factor of our season, how fast these young guys, not just step into the play-making role, but step into leadership roles and take over for that big senior class that we had last year that walked out the door.

Mississippi State University coach Dan Mullen will try to build on a run that has seen the Bulldogs earn invitations to bowl games the past three seasons.

David Allen Williams/Dispatch Staff

I think thats going to be a real defining factor of our season, how fast these young guys, not just step into the play-making role, but step into leadership roles and take over for that big senior class that we had last year that walked out the door.
Mississippi State University football coach Dan Mullen

One of the most talented young players is linebacker Benardrick McKinney, who was second on the team with 102 tackles last season as a freshman. Hell headline a defense that lost sever-

al productive players like linebacker Cameron Lawrence and cornerbacks Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay. Russell returns after a junior season that included 2,897 passing

yards, 24 touchdowns, and just 10 interceptions. Like most of the team, he played well last season in a 7-0 start before faltering down the stretch when the Bulldogs lost five of six games. Russell said that collapse has motivated the team in the offseason. We got to a point in the year that we said we couldnt be beat, and then we got one loss, and that changed everything, Russell said. This year our focus is one game a time. You have to have the mental toughness to get back on that horse if you get knocked down. Thats something we struggled with last year, and thats one thing Im trying to change.

n 1. RUSSELLS PLAY: Tyler Russell was fantastic early last season as the Bulldogs bolted out to a 7-0 record, but faltered down the stretch with an especially bad game against Northwestern University in a Gator Bowl loss. Russell still finished the season with good stats 2,897 yards, 24 TDs, and 10 interceptions and when hes on, the senior can be one of the Southeastern Conferences best. n 2. MULLENS GLASS CEILING: Fifth-year coach Dan Mullen has done a good job beating the teams hes supposed to beat in his tenure. But the Bulldogs have never beaten LSU or the University of Alabama under Mullen and the road to an SEC Western Division title usually goes through one of those teams. n 3. BENARDRICKS TIME: Linebacker Benardrick McKinney was one of the leagues best freshmen last season, finishing with 102 tackles in the middle of the defense. Now the 6-foot-5, 235-pound sophomore will be counted on to provide a much bigger leadership role and carry out first-year defensive coordinator Geoff Collins plan. n 4. REPLACING THE CORNERS: The Bulldogs have big shoes to fill at both cornerback positions after losing Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay to the NFL. Pass coverage has been one of the teams strengths the past few seasons. Now the Bulldogs will rely on former backups like Jamerson Love to fill the gaps. n 5. GROUND GAME: LaDarius Perkins might be a little undersized for an every-down back at 5-foot-10, 195 pounds, but the senior has proven to be a durable option. He rushed for 1,024 yards and eight touchdowns last season. With another good season, will be among the schools most productive running backs. David Brandt/ The Associated Press

Ameriprise Financial and Stevan Black would like to wish best of luck to all area teams on having a great season!

More Mississippi State University fans will soon have a chance to experience gamedays at Davis Wade Stadium. The expansion to the stadium will expand the north end zone and take stadium capacity from 55,000 to more than 61,000. This expansion is aimed at offering more Bulldog fans the opportunity to experience game day in Starkville with various seating options. Preliminary ground work began in August of 2012 and the project officially broke ground immediately following the 2012 season. Construction is expected to be completed in time for the 2014 home opener against the University of Southern Mississippi.

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MSU offense
Continued from Page 2
guys hands and make sure they can do something positive with it. On Oct. 21, 2011, Mullen surprised an 8 a.m. macroeconomics class with a lecture about how he, football staff members, and players study statistical analyses of plays, formations, pass concepts and other aspects of the game. Fifty is the primary number Mullen is focused on because it shows a balance between the number of passing and running plays called in a game. Last season, for the first time in Mullens tenure at MSU, the Bulldogs had the same number of passing and running attempts (424). A lot of times stats can get that way simply because of the nature of a season, but, at the same time, it also tells you can do both in any scenario, Mullen said. When I talk about finding a personality to your football team, people forget balance can be a style. The offensive staff will monitor the number of touches for skill position players like returning leading rusher LaDarius Perkins. Last season, Perkins had at least 20 offensive touches in six of the Bulldogs eight victories. In his three previous seasons, Perkins has averaged 5.12 yards from scrimmage every time he has touched the ball. To maximize the teams productivity, Perkins has been working with the first-team punt return unit to help make up for the losses of Chad Bumphis and Johnthan Banks. In 2011, when Perkins was a backup to Vick Ballard at tailback, he had 297 yards in the return game and averaged 8.9 yards per touch. People get this wrong a lot because its not about energy conservation when youre doing special teams and offense, Perkins said. People think you get tired physically, and thats not it. What its about is mentally preparing yourself to flip that switch from two different concepts. While the MSU coaches always have broken down the offensive game plan with a post-game statistical analysis that charts patterns on downs, against yards to go, and formations, Mullen said a support staff member also monitors and counts the number of touches by Perkins and all the skill position players for a twofold meaning. However, Mullen said in July he wont be tied to the numbers in an uncomfortable way. I think in the middle of a game you can coach your way into a corner by saying we need to get so and so the ball more or less because youre not worried about the big picture of the team, Mullen said. What you have to do is make it a natural thing to get your best players the ball as much as possible. Doing that without intentionally changing things to get to a number that moves the chains and scores touchdowns in the red zone instead of kicking field goals. MSU even supplied every player with an iPad this summer that they can use as their electronic playbook and notebook to use in the classes. The iPad has audio capabilities that describe how each play is supposed to be run and whats important about each option. The new Seal Family Football Complex position meeting rooms can sync every players iPad with what is being taught or reviewed in real time. That is how kids use things (and) how they learn today, so its actually neat for them and easier for us, Mullen said. When you look at what is out there, to me were educators, so what is the best way to educate 18- to 22-year-olds, and the best way in which they learn? New MSU wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales doesnt want to look at numbers. Gonzales already knows the statistics of the returning players at his position group. He is well aware that Perkins, junior wide receiver Robert Johnson, and senior tight end Malcolm Johnson each had two touchdown catches, the most of any returning players, out of the 28 the team threw last season. I look at my receivers and they understand its a wide open competition because none of them have established themselves yet, Gonzales said. I understand theres 22 receiving touchdowns that

I have to replace from last year. Thats what Im focused on. Koenning, who has called MSUs plays since Mullens hire in 2009, said a simple system shows why junior wide receiver Jameon Lewis is ready to take over as a starter. I just look at him and say, Chad Bumphis isnt here anymore and so its on him, Koenning said. That may not be a fair thing to him, but thats our system. Next guy up. On the field, away from computers and numbers, fifth-year senior quarterback Tyler Russell conducted daily pitchDavid Allen Williams/Dispatch File Photo and-catch sessions in the above JT returning KR 3x5.25 Football 2011 Jameon Lewis, 8/4 shown a kick against the University of Arkansas, offseason to help new and did a little bit of everything last season for the Mississippi State University football inexperienced wide re- team. This season, he count be counted on to be a receiving threat. ceivers learn the nuances of the offense. It really helped us learn how to be accountable for ourselves by having leaders away from the coaches, MSU redshirt freshman wide receiver Brandon Holloway said. Tyler is a leader because if we werent going hard or doing it right, we would hear about it from him, and he was very business-like in his approach. Russell is even trying to steal info from the MSU defensive meetings to better prepare himPROUD SUPPORTERS OF ALL AREA FOOTBALL TEAMS self for the sophisticated VIP Membership 5-50% Off Every Day blitz schemes hell see in the Southeastern Conferwith a GNC Gold Card ence. Russell, who will enter his second season as the full-time starter, talks frequently with MSU deOwners Howard Ferguson and Jo Ann M. Walk-Ferguson fensive coordinator Geoff Collins after practice to find out where his defense is most vulnerable on certain calls. Russell knows COLUMBUS STARKVILLE-SMOOTHIE that knowledge will be Leigh Mall 911 Hwy 12 W. Ste 206 B valuable Aug. 31 when he 662-328-4450 662-323-4919 and the Bulldogs try to Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. | Sun. 1 p.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Sat. 9:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. | Sun. 12 p.m.-6 p.m. break down the Oklahoma State University defense. ISSISSIPPI TATE NIVERSITY Every day we walk back from practice the first thing I have is Tyler and Dak (Prescott) come running up to me (and asking), Coach what was that? What are you doing there? Its so special to see their minds work.

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east mississippi community college lions

Thomas primed to have sophomore showcase


BY SCOT T WALTERS swalters@cdispatch.com

Athletic Website: www.emccathletics.com; Twitter: http://twitter.com/emccathletics; Instagram: @EMCCAthletics

SCOOBA Lakenderic Thomas fondly remembers the first touchdown pass he caught in a junior college game. While Thomas recalls the thrill of catching the ball and racing for pay dirt, East Mississippi Community ColThomas lege football coach Buddy Stephens probably felt more relief than anything. We called him stone hands when he got here, Stephens said. He has always been able to run the ball. Now he can block. Now he can catch. People this year will see what kind of true talent he really is. Thomas and the Lions are ready to put their skills to use this season. After the school won its first national championship in 2011, the program lost its final two games last season to finish 8-2. Once ranked No. 1 in the nation, the Lions didnt qualify for a bowl game. At West Point (High School), we won backto-back (state) championships, Thomas said, referring to the 2009 and 2010 titles. All I have ever known is winning. It is really hard to explain what happened last season. One moment we are undefeated and riding this win streak. The next moment the season is over just like that. (Losing two straight) has been the biggest mo-

Aug. 29  At Pearl River CC Sept. 5 EAST CENTRAL CC Sept. 12 SOUTHWEST MISSISSIPPI CC Sept. 19  At Mississippi Delta CC Sept. 28 COAHOMA CC Oct. 3 At Holmes CC Oct. 10 NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI CC Oct. 17  At Northwest Mississippi CC Oct. 24 ITAWAMBA CC HOME GAMES IN CAPS

2013 Schedule

Former West Point High School standout Lakenderic Thomas served as a backup for Rodriguez Moore last season. Now that Moore is at the University of Cincinnati, Thomas is expected to become the primary running threat in the Lions high-powered offense.

Dispatch File Photo

tivation I have seen for a football team. We want to make up for that. Stephens has relied on several former West Point High standouts in his six seasons as coach at EMCC. However, the recruiting process for the 5-foot-10, 205-pound Thomas was different. (West Point) coach (Chris) Chambless told me he was the best back he had ever coached, Stephens said. That is all I needed to hear. If you

hear that about a player from that coach and that program, you know you are getting the complete package. Running behind University of Cincinnati signee Rodriguez Moore last season, Thomas had 49 carries for 389 yards and a touchdown. Moore finished his EMCC career with more than 2,000 yards rushing. All we do is pass, so the running back totally gets lost in the shuffle,

which is a good thing, Thomas said. I have set my personal goal for 1,500 yards this season. There is no reason I cant get there. The coaches are expecting a lot of me. Just because the defense doesnt pay attention to our running games doesnt mean our coaches treat it the same way. The Lions have been known as a pass-first, pass-second, pass-third offensive machine under Stephens. Running backs

Local Flavor
n The 2013 East Mississippi Community College football team has a distinct local flavor. Players from Aberdeen High School are: Xavia Forshee, Brandon Hodges, Justin Lucas, and Damian Walker. Players from Heritage Academy are: Brandon Bell and Blake Sharp. Players from West Point High are: Brandon Edwards, Mario Virges, Eric Lemus, Terrance Minor, and Willie Swift. Players from Starkville High are: Preston Baker, Stanley Higgins, and Jawon Johnson. Players from Columbus High are: Kenney Averhart, Quan Latham, and Byerson Cockrell. Terrance Barron is from Noxubee County High.

Stephens optimistic about Lions chances


BY SCOT T WALTERS swalters@cdispatch.com

Forshee

Hodges

Lucas

Walker

Bell

Sharp

Edwards

Virges

Lemus

Minor

Swift

Baker

Higgins

Johnson

Averhart

Latham

Cockrell

Barron

SCOOBA The East Mississippi Community College football team has spent part of each of the past two seasons as the nations top-ranked junior We have a large amount of college team. sophomores. That will be The Lions won the 2011 a huge advantage. NJCAA national One of those championship and sophomores is Donwent on to extend treal Pruitt, a 5-foottheir two-season 11, 175-pound winning streak quarterback from to 20 before losLaurel. ing back-to-back Going back to games to end the (Randall) MackStephens 2012 season. ey, Stephens said. Still, sixth-year We have been very coach Buddy Stephens blessed here. Bo (Walfeels the best may be yet to lace), Quez (Johnson), come. Stephens hangs his and now Dontreal (Pruitt). optimism on two factors They were our quarteras preparations continue backs in the fall, but, for the season opener at 7 more importantly, they p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, at were here to go through a spring. That is a monuPearl River C.C. In this league, the mentally huge advantage. See EMCC, 14 team with the largest

will be streamed live in HD (UStream) and available from our athletics website (www.EMCCAthletics.com). n YOU TUBE: www.youtube. com/EMCCAthletics. n WEEKLY TV: EMCCs INSIDE THE PR1DE will air at 11:30 p.m. Sundays amount of sophomore (beginning Sept. 1) in HD on is going to win most of WCBI-TV. It also can be seen the time, Stephens said. at 5 p.m. Sundays (also Even if you dont have a beginning Sept. 1) in HD on lot of returning starters, WGBC-TV in Meridian. The which we dont, it is vital weekly TV show will also be to have players with play- available on EMCCs You Tube channel (www.youtube. ing time and experience. com/EMCCAthletics).

and fullbacks are the unsung heroes. Moore proved that last season, as he quietly went about his business and moved the chains. We told (Thomas) this was his chance to take it to the next level, Stephens said. When the season ended last year, HOME GAMES IN CAPS he kind of took the team over. He was a leader in the weight room. He was Inside EMCC a leader in the film room. He is still on top of all of n RADIO: WFCA-FM 108 See THOMAS, 14 n TV / ONLINE: All games

Sept. 1 W, 35-15 PEARL RIVER CC Sept. 6 W, 51-7 At East Central CC Sept. 13 W, 59-6 At Southwest Mississippi CC Sept. 20 W, 56-0 MISSISSIPPI DELTA CC Sept. 27 W, 48-17  At Coahoma CC Oct. 6 W, 35-0 HOLMES CC Oct. 11 W, 49-0 At Northeast Mississippi CC Oct. 18 W, 56-49 NORTHWEST MISSISSIPPI CC Oct. 27 L, 24-23  At Itawamba CC Nov. 3 L,47-46 COPIAH-LINCOLN CC - MACJC State Semifinals

2012 Results

Head Coach Buddy Stephens n Clifton Collins Defensive Backs n Scott Gasper Quarterbacks n Webb Hamilton Outside Linebackers / Video Coordinator n DeCarlos Holmes Defensive Line / Strength Coach n Jordan Lesley Defensive Coordinator / Inside Linebackers n D.J. Looney Offensive Line n Marcus Wood Offensive Coordinator / Wide Receivers

Coaching staff

2012 Statistics
EMCC OPP Scoring 430 384 Points per game 43.0 42.7 Total offense 675 675 Yards per game 544.3 527.2 Passing yards 3052 2597 Comp.-Att.-Int. 246-418-11 206-361-11 Passing yards per game 305.2 288.6 Passing yards per attempt 7.3 7.2 Passing yards per completion 12.4 12.6 Passing touchdowns 32 30 Rushing yards 2391 2148 Rushing attempts 419 367 Rushing yards per game 239.1 238.7 Yards per rush 5.7 5.9 Rushing touchdowns 30 26 1st downs 68 68 Rushing 1st downs 32 32 Passing 1st downs 32 32 Penalty 1st downs 4 4 1st downs per game 6.8 7.6 3rd-down conversions 13-29 13-29 3rd down % 45% 45% 4th-down conversions 3-4 3-4 4th down % 75% 75% Kick returns (No.-Yards) 28-758 23-617 Kick return average 27.1 26.8 Punt returns (No.-Yards) 12-115 12-115 Punt return average 9.6 9.6 Field goals 5-8 3-5 Field goal % 62.5% 60.0% PATs 59-64 55-58 PAT % 92.2% 94.8% Punts (No.-Yards) 39-1461 37-1401 Average per punt 37.5 37.9 Red zone scores 6-6 6-6 Red zone % 100% 100% Red zone touchdowns 6-6 6-6 Red zone touchdown % 100% 100% Fumbles-lost 2-1 2-1 Fumbles recovered 14 14 Defensive INTs 22 20 Interception returns (No.-Yds) 22-347 20-327 Interception return average 15.8 16.4 Defensive TDs 1 1 Tackles 748 704 Sacks 31 30 Penalties 24 24 Penalty yards 221 221 Time of possession per game 5:15 5:50 Home Attendance 3299 3299 Home Attendance average 660 825

Sophomore Dontreal Pruitt is expected to take over for former Starkville High School product Quaz Johnson at quarterback this season for the East Mississippi Community College football team.

East Mississippi Community College Athletic Media Relations

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

8 sunday, august 18, 2013

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Athletic Website: www.letsgoicc.com; Twitter : http://twitter.com/LetsGoICC; Instagram : LetsGoICC; Radio: WAFM 95.7 FM. Pregame show starts 20 minutes prior to game; TV: Online at www.LetsGoICC.

itawamba community COLLEGE INDIANS

Williams wants team to take next step to playoffs


BY SCOT T WALTERS swalters@cdispatch.com

FULTON The Itawamba Community College football team wants to take the next step. Taking that step has proved a difficult chore for the Indians. After missing the playoffs the past three seasons, ICC will look to a host of returning starters and letter winWilliams ners to help it advance to the postseason. A season filled with promise a year ago saw some high points such as a victory against then-No. 3 East Mississippi C.C. to end the regular season and some low points, including multiple injuries and a devastating loss to Holmes C.C. in which the officials incorrectly awarded the Bulldogs the eventual game-winning score. In the end, it meant a 6-3 finish and another near-miss in the North Division standings. ICC has tied for second the past three seasons but lost out on the tiebreaker and failed to make the playoffs each time. I want this to be the team that builds on what the other teams have done in the past, said ICC fourth-year coach Jon Williams, whose team is ranked 16th in the preseason NJCAA Top 20 poll. We have been so close, but we havent been able to close the deal, so to speak. We really need to get that done. I want this to be the team that establishes us a playoff participant. I want

Aug. 29  EAST CENTRAL CC Sept. 5  At Southwest Mississippi CC Sept. 12 MISSISSIPPI DELTA CC Sept. 19 At Holmes CC Sept. 28 NORTHWEST MISSISSIPPI CC Oct. 3  At Copiah-Lincoln CC Oct. 12 At Coahoma CC Oct. 17 NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI CC Oct. 24  At East Mississippi CC HOME GAMES IN CAPS

2013 Schedule

Itawamba Community College football coach Jon Williams again had the Indians poised to make the playoffs, but they lost a tiebreaker that would have secured them a trip to the postseason. Williams hopes an experienced team that features 60 percent sophomores can push the program to that goal.

Itawamba Community College Athletic Media Relations

them to make us a contender again. The Indians return many more sophomores on the offense. Overall, ICC returns seven offensive starters and five defensive starters. Its 55-man travel roster will feature 60 percent second-year players. Perhaps the most unusual spot on the team is quarterback, where ICC will have three second-year players. Former Mooreville High School standout Griff Loftis is the projected starter. He started the final seven

games last season. Loftis was pressed into duty last season after North Carolina native Andrew Goodman was sidelined in week two with a seaLoftis son-ending injury. I thought we really grew up as a team last year, Loftis said. It is difficult when you have to move some players around. In junior college ball, you dont have those three- and four-year players, so its a different challenge. Even though we had a lot of new guys

on offense, we got better throughout the season. I am anxious to see what we can put together since a lot of us have been together for a full season. Loftis appeared in all nine games and threw for 1,716 yards and 13 touchdowns. Goodman, who led the team to a 2-0 start, received a medical redshirt and is healthy again with two full seasons of eligibility left. Chase Watson, of Saltillo, also is working at quarterback in his

second year with the program after redshirting last season. We have three guys we feel really good about and we feel we can win with, Williams said. That is an oddity in junior college ball. Andrew was showing signs of becoming a big-time player for us when he got hurt. Griff did a tremendous job last season and really developed at that position. We also have confidence in Chase, so this is a unique situation. In the backfield, the See ICC, 13

Sept. 1 W, 35-13  At East Central CC Sept. 6 W, 22-10 SOUTHWEST MISSISSIPPI CC Sept. 13 W, 39-9 At Mississippi Delta CC Sept. 20 L, 12-14 HOLMES CC Sept. 27 L, 7-49 At Northwest Mississippi CC Oct. 4 L, 14-17 COPIAH-LINCOLN CC Oct. 11 W, 31-28 COAHOMA CC Oct. 20 W, 36-15 At Northeast Mississippi CC Oct. 27 W, 24-23 EAST MISSISSIPPI CC HOME GAMES IN CAPS

2012 Results

Childs wants to play bigger role this year


BY SCOT T WALTERS swalters@cdispatch.com

FULTON Stanley Childs simply wanted a chance. After being one of the anchors of Starkville High Schools North State championship team in 2011, Childs was eager to

make a mark at his new football home. As the weeks progressed, Childs inched his way up the depth chart and worked his way into prominent playing time for the Itawamba Community College football team. See CHILDS, 13

Head Coach Jon Williams n Sean Cannon Assistant Head Coach / Defensive Coordinator n Ray Williams Defensive Line n Tyrone Fox Defensive Backs n Jason McManus Offensive Coordinator n Dennis Smith Receivers / Special Teams n Cody Bonds Video Coordinator / Equipment Manager

Coaching staff

2012 Statistics
ICC OPP Scoring 220 149 Points per game 24.4 24.8 Total offense 185 185 Yards per game 393.2 386.3 Passing yards 2348 1430 Comp.-Att.-Int. 221-333-14 125-203-9 Passing yards per game 260.9 238.3 Passing yards per attempt 7.1 7.0 Passing yards per completion 10.6 11.4 Passing touchdowns 18 12 Rushing yards 1191 888 Rushing attempts 304 216 Rushing yards per game 132.3 148.0 Yards per rush 3.9 4.1 Rushing touchdowns 6 5 1st downs 10 10 Rushing 1st downs 5 5 Passing 1st downs 4 4 Penalty 1st downs 1 1 1st downs per game 1.1 1.7 3rd-down conversions 5-15 5-15 3rd down % 33% 33% 4th-down conversions 0-0 0-0 Kick returns (No.-Yards) 33-730 24-498 Kick return average 22.1 20.8 Punt returns (No.-Yards) 12-62 9-50 Punt return average 5.2 5.6 Field goals 6-8 6-8 Field goal % 75.0% 75.0% PATs 25-25 16-16 PAT % 100.0% 100.0% Punts (No.-Yards) 62-2456 39-1602 Average per punt 39.6 41.1 Red zone scores 1-1 1-1 Red zone % 100% 100% Red zone touchdowns 1-1 1-1 Red zone touchdown % 100% 100% Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0 Fumbles recovered 9 3

n The 2013 Itawamba Community College football team will look to former New Hope High School standout Juan Cedano, former Starkville High player Stanley Childs, and former Noxubee County High performers LaDarrell Hunt and Janardreon Jones to contribute this season.

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

University of mississippi rebels

Moncrief hopes to build on breakout season


BY BROOKS ROBERTS Special to The Dispatch

Athletic Website: www.olemisssports.com; Twitter: http://twitter.com/OleMissNow

OXFORD While 2012 was a breakout season for the University of Mississippi football team, the underlying story of the season may have been the breakout performances of several individuals. After returning to a bowl game after a twoyear absence, Ole Miss goals are even bigger this season. Moncrief Some of that optimism stems from the emergence of junior receiver Donte Moncrief. The Raleigh High School standout emerged as a standout in coach Hugh Freezes offense, catching 66 passes for 979 yards and 10 touchdowns. Moncrief went from being another player to a player featured in his own pregame video entitled Feed Moncrief. The feeling is great knowing that our fans expect more of us, said Moncrief, a two-year letterwinner and a second-team All-Southeastern Conference performer a season ago. The big thing is just staying focused and listening to coach Freeze and staying on the same page with him because if we stay on the same page it will be hard to stop us. The junior enters this season ranked fifth in school history with 14 touchdown catches. He also is tied for fourth with four 100-yard receiving games. Already in sync with junior quarterback Bo Wallace, the duo will be counted on to produce

Wide receiver Donte Moncrief had 66 catches for 979 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. He figures to be one of quarterback Bo Wallaces top targets this season.

University of Mississippi Athletic Media Relations

some early season magic because the Rebels will open the season without junior wide receiver Vincent Sanders, who will be sidelined for at least three games with a broken col-

larbone. As the Rebels stock has risen, so has Moncriefs. The buzz surrounding the 6-foot-3, 226-pounder has increased so much that there is talk he could

move to the NFL after the season. Its in the back of my mind, Moncrief said, referring to declaring for the NFL draft. The main thing is getting my

team some wins, staying healthy, and just staying focused. Its according to how the season goes. If I feel like its a good time to come out, Ill come out. If not, Ill come back and be a Rebel and be ready to play another season. Moncrief knows there is no better way to measure his talent than in the SEC. A year ago, he was sixth in the league in receptions and among the best in the SEC in yards per catch (14.8). I dont consider myself the best wide receiver in the SEC, Moncrief said. There are a lot of things I can work on. There are a lot of great receivers out there. Youve got Amari Cooper from Alabama. (Mike) Evans, of Texas A&M, who is a big-bodied receiver, and Jordan Matthews, who just makes big plays and makes the plays when his team needs it. My goal is to work hard week in and week out. Hopefully, when the time comes, I can work my way into those discussions. The Rebels up-tempo offense ensures Moncrief will play a big role. Still, the teams success and the buzz it generated with its nationally ranked recruiting class and Moncriefs breakout season wont allow them to be the hunter. It is likely the Rebels, who were picked in the SEC preseason coaches poll to finish fourth in the Western Division, wont sneak up on anybody, and may even be considered the hunted. After winning six games in Houston Nutts final two seasons as coach, the Rebels did one better than that last year, capping a 7-6 season with a victory against the See MONCRIEF, 15

Aug. 29 At Vanderbilt Sept. 7 SEMO Sept. 14 At Texas Sept. 28 At Alabama Oct. 5 At Auburn Oct. 12 TEXAS A&M Oct. 19 LSU Oct. 26 IDAHO Nov. 9 ARKANSAS Nov. 16 TROY Nov. 23 MISSOURI Nov. 28  At Mississippi State HOME GAMES IN CAPS

2013 Schedule

Sept. 1 W, 49-27 CENTRAL ARKANSAS Sept. 8 W, 28-10 UTEP Sept. 15 L, 66-31 TEXAS Sept. 22 W, 39-0 At Tulane Sept. 29 L, 33-14 At Alabama Oct. 6 L, 30-27 TEXAS A&M Oct. 13 W, 41-20 AUBURN Oct. 27 W, 30-27 At Arkansas Nov. 3 L, 37-10 At Georgia Nov. 10 L, 27-26 VANDERBILT Nov. 17 L, 41-35 At LSU Nov. 24 W, 41-24 MISSISSIPPI STATE Jan. 5 W, 38-17 Vs. Pittsburgh BBVA Compass Bowl HOME GAMES IN CAPS

2012 Results

Nkemdiche wants to set tone


Redshirt sophomore linebacker eager to help defense improve on last season
BY BROOKS ROBERTS Special to The Dispatch

OXFORD Expectations. There is no hiding from them. The expectations are rampant for the University of Mississippi football team. Students, fans, and folks around town all share the same thought process. Last season, an unheralded, underappreciated Ole Miss squad won seven games in coach Hugh Freezes Nkemdiche first season. What can the 2013 team do for an encore? Redshirt sophomore linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche is eager to find out. Since the end of last season, everybody has been ready to go, Nkemdiche said. We feel like some people didnt appreciate how good a team we had last season, so our goal is to open more eyes and win more games. Nkemdiche, a Loganville, Ga., native, has catapulted himself into the center stage of the defense after a breakout season in 2012. Listed at 5-foot-11, 207 pounds, the Grayson High School graduate has made up for a lack of size and speed with instincts and intelligence at the stinger position. After several changes to the defense, including position swaps, Nkemdiche has found a niche where he can play as the calm and collected athlete Ole Miss needs at linebacker. A season ago, Nkemdiche led the Rebels in tackles with 82, tackles for loss with 13, forced fumbles with four (tying him with NFL first-round

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Denzel Nkemdiche led the Rebels with 82 tackles and 13 tackles for loss last season.

University of Mississippi Athletic Media Relations

pick Jarvis Jones, of the University of Georgia, for the most in the Southeastern Conference in 2012), and tied for the lead in interceptions with three. The new defensive set is fun, Nkemdiche said. It took us a little while to get used to (new defensive coordinator David Wommacks) style of doing things. Still, a lot of it is the same. You still have to work hard, you still have to count on your teammates, and you still have to make plays. The highlight to Nkemdiches season may have been his performance in a 33-14 loss to top-ranked University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Nkemdiche had 11 tackles (five solo), three tackles for loss, a sack, and two

forced fumbles. Despite the loss, Ole Miss gained confidence from the loss, which came two weeks after the University of Texas rolled to a 66-31 nationally televised victory against Ole Miss in Oxford. Wommacks troops made a modest move in the league statistical categories, including a jump from last to seventh in yards allowed per game. Two of the Rebels best defensive efforts came in their final two games of the season. Ole Miss allowed 333 yards in a 41-24 Egg Bowl victory against Mississippi State University. More importantly, the Rebels only surrendered seven points in the second half. That victory made Ole Miss bowl See NKEMDICHE, 15

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university of mississippi rebels

Freeze wants to push momentum forward


BY BROOKS ROBERTS Special to The Dispatch

Athletic Website: www.olemisssports.com; Twitter: http://twitter.com/OleMissNow

OXFORD The momentum is back. First-year coach Hugh Freeze helped the University of Mississippi football team erase the memory of four- and two-win seasons with a returned to the postseason and a victory against the University of Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Ala. Following a 7-6 finish, which included a victory against Mississippi State University in the Egg Bowl, Ole Freeze Miss secured a consensus top-10 recruiting class that saw it ranked as high as No. 2 (247Sports) in the nation. ESPN (No. 5), MaxPreps (No. 6), Rivals (No. 7), and Scout (No. 9) also had Ole Miss in the top 10 thanks in large part to the signing of 11 high school All-Americans, including the nations top overall prospect, Robert Nkemdiche. Ole Miss victories at the end of last season and the excitement surrounding a promising class of newcomers has many around the program optimistic the Rebels can achieve even more this season. Ole Miss will try to build on that momentum at 8:15 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, when it opens the season at Vanderbilt University. ESPN will televise the game. The momentum that was created around our place from winning the Egg Bowl and the bowl game was huge, Freeze. (Incoming freshman) Robert Nkemdiche, we talked about all year long, he wanted to see that. When that came true, he

University of Mississippi football coach Hugh Freeze prepares to hoist the championship trophy for defeating the University of Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Ala.

Stan Beall/Dispatch File Photo

leads an incoming class that is expected to see playing time and to pay immediate dividends. Consensus five-star offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, of Lake City, Fla., is expected to play a key role in the front five, which Freeze views as one of his teams question marks. Number one, still ofUniversity of fensive line, we had quite Mississippi football a few postseason surcoach Hugh Freeze geries at a lot of places, Freeze said. We have got felt like he was coming to find some answers and with us; that helped. He get that group up and gocarried a lot of weight and ing quickly. a lot of ears of recruits. Former East MissisIt had a major effect and sippi Community College helped us put together a All-American Bo Wallace solid class. returns for his junior The Rebels lacked campaign to quarterback depth last season. Nkem- the high-tempo offense. diche, whose older broth- Wallace had shoulder surer, Denzel, is a redshirt gery in the offseason, but sophomore linebacker, in training camp he has

The momentum that was created around our place from winning the Egg Bowl and the bowl game was huge.

shaken off concerns about his health. Wallace signed and played at Arkansas State University under Freeze before he transferred to EMCC in Scooba and led the Lions to a national championship. He feels very good about where hes at in his progress, Freeze said. Hes had some soreness, but everything seems to be moving along very nicely. Wallace threw for 2,994 yards and 22 touchdowns (17 interceptions) last season. He likely will be the best option for Freezes spread attack. Senior Barry Brunetti would be next in line. Freshman Devante Kincade, a standout from Skyline (Texas) High School, will provide depth. Jeff Scott returns to

lead a deep stable of running backs, while freshman Kailo Moore continues has impressed in training camp with his speed. Scott led the Rebels in rushing last season as the veteran rushed for 846 yards and six touchdowns. Donte Moncrief looks to stay hungry and hopes to build on an impressive sophomore season a year ago. A member of the 2013 Biletnikoff Award Watch List, Moncrief had 10 touchdown catches last season, which tied the Raleigh native for the most receiving touchdowns in a season in school history. The Rebels took a hit when junior Vincent Sanders, a former standout at Noxubee County High School who was expected to be a starter this season, See OLE MISS, 15

Head Coach Hugh Freeze n Tom Allen Special Teams Coordinator/ Linebackers n Maurice Harris Tight Ends/Recruiting Coordinator For Offense n Grant Heard Wide Receivers n Jason Jones CoDefensive Coordinator/ Cornerbacks n Chris Kiffin Defensive Line/Recruiting Coordinator For Defense n Matt Luke Co-Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line n Derrick Nix Running Backs n Dan Werner CoOffensive Coordinator/ Quarterbacks n Dave Wommack Defensive Coordinator/ Safeties n Corey Batoon Assistant A.D./Recruiting Operations n Barney Farrar Assistant A.D./High School and Junior College Relations n Paul Jackson Head Strength and Conditioning Coach n Tom Luke Assistant A.D./Player Development n John Miller Assistant A.D./Football Operations n Ben Aigamaua Graduate Assistant, Offense n Chris Buttgen Assistant Director of Sports Video n Andy Commer Coordinator of Video Services n Ken Crain Equipment Manager n Pat Jernigan Head Athletic Trainer n Bruce Johnson Coordinator of Recruiting Development n Ryan Trevathan Graduate Assistant, Offense n Branden Wenzel Assistant Recruiting Director n Lee Wilbanks Coordinator of Recruiting Development n Kane Wommack Graduate Assistant, Defense

Coaching staff

2012 Statistics

a closer look
QUARTERBACKS Bo Wallace (Jr), Barry Brunetti (Sr.), DeVante Kincade (Fr.), Ryan Buchanan (Fr.) n Wallace looks to take the next step as the Rebels starter. Kincade and Buchanan are pushing Brunetti for the backup job. RUNNING BACKS Jeff Scott (Sr.), Itavius Mathers (Soph.), Jaylen Walton (Soph.), Mark Dodson (Fr.) n Scott will look to take more of the carries while Mathers and Walton will push him. With Mathers being the bigger of the bunch, expect him to get the tough yards while the others provide an explosive change of pace. WIDE RECEIVERS Donte Moncrief (Jr.), Ja-Mes Logan (Sr.), Korvic Neat (Sr.), Vince Sanders (Jr.), Quadarius Mireles (Jr.) n There is no lack of talent at receiver. Theyll have to get by a few weeks without the injured Sanders, but that provides chances for freshmen Laquon Treadwell and Quincy Adeboyajo. TIGHT ENDS Jack Nuismer (Sr.), Justin Bigham (Sr.), Nicholas Parker (Jr.) n A thin group. Parker was moved over from running back to give this unit some much needed athleticism. No one in this group has a single catch to their name, but that likely will change. OFFENSIVE LINE Emmanuel McCray (Sr.), Patrick Junen (Sr.), Pierce Burton (Sr.), Evan Swindall (Sr.), Aaron Morris (Jr.), Jared Duke (Sr.), Laremy Tunsil (Fr.) n A senior-laden group with four returning starters. Experience is key in coach Hugh Freezes fastpaced offense. This should be a team strength. DEFENSIVE LINE CJ Johnson (Jr.), Isaac Gross (Soph.), Bryon Bennett (Jr.), Cameron Whigham (Sr.), Channing Ward (Soph.), Lavon Hooks (Jr.), Robert Nkemdiche (Fr.) n Gross and Bennett shore up the inside, while Johnson, Whigham, and Ward protect the edges. Junior college transfer Hooks and Nkemdiche will provide depth and talent. LINEBACKERS Mike Marry (Sr.), Denzel Nkemdiche (Soph.), Keith Lewis (Jr.), DT Shackelford (Sr.), Serderius Bryant (Jr.) n If an oft-injured Shackelford can bring just a portion of his old self to the table, he makes a formidable trio with Marry and Nkemdiche. Wolf linebacker Lewis will look to make an impact. CORNERBACKS/SAFETIES Charles Sawyer (Sr.), Cody Prewitt (Jr.), Trae Elston (Soph.), Senquez Golson (Soph.), Mike Hilton (Soph.), Dehendret Collins (Sr.), Brishen Matthews (Sr.) n This group returns more than 50 starts from a 2012 unit that finished near the bottom of the conference. What was a question mark last season could be a source of strength this year. SPECIALISTS Tyler Campbell (Sr.), Andrew Ritter (Sr.), Jaylen Walton (Soph.) n Campbell returns from a redshirt season,while Ritter takes over the kickoff and field goal duties. The speedy Walton returns as the primary kick returner. Brooks Roberts

UM OPP SCORING 409 359 Points Per Game 31.5 27.6 FIRST DOWNS 291 251 Rushing 138 97 Passing 134 138 Penalty 19 16 RUSHING YARDAGE 2260 1681 Yards gained rushing 2644 2149 Yards lost rushing 384 468 Rushing Attempts 551 483 Average Per Rush 4.1 3.5 Average Per Game 173.8 129.3 TDs Rushing 25 17 PASSING YARDAGE 3249 3205 Comp.-Att.-Int. 261-411-18 268-427-15 Average Per Pass 7.9 7.5 Average Per Catch 12.4 12.0 Average Per Game 249.9 246.5 TDs Passing 24 22 TOTAL OFFENSE 5509 4886 Total Plays 962 910 Average Per Play 5.7 5.4 Average Per Game 423.8 375.8 KICK RETURNS: #-Yards 43-861 42-1030 PUNT RETURNS: #-Yards 24-134 24-189 INT RETURNS: #-Yards 15-199 18-135 KICK RETURN AVERAGE 20.0 24.5 PUNT RETURN AVERAGE 5.6 7.9 INT RETURN AVERAGE 13.3 7.5 FUMBLES-LOST 22-11 20-13 PENALTIES-Yards 62-480 69-543 Average Per Game 36.9 41.8 PUNTS-Yards 58-2350 70-2970 Average Per Punt 40.5 42.4 Net punt average 36.6 39.1 KICKOFFS-Yards 80-5007 72-4403 Average Per Kick 62.6 61.2 Net kick average 49.3 39.8 TIME OF POSSESSION/Game 28:04 31:56 3RD-DOWN Conversions 89/201 76/199 3rd-Down Pct. 44% 38% 4TH-DOWN Conversions 13/18 8/20 4th-Down Pct. 72% 40% SACKS BY-Yards 38-268 34-222 MISC YARDS 0 0 TOUCHDOWNS SCORED 51 44 FIELD GOALS-ATTEMPTS 18-28 17-22 ON-SIDE KICKS 0-0 1-1 RED-ZONE SCORES (41-45) 91% (36-46) 78% RED-ZONE TDS (30-45) 67% (23-46) 50% PAT-ATTEMPTS (49-49) 100% (40-42) 95% ATTENDANCE 458597 371730 Games/Avg Per Game 8/57325 5/74346

Radio affiliates / GAMEDAY information


City Amory* Biloxi Brookhaven* Columbus* Columbus* Corinth* Greenwood* Hattiesburg* Hazlehurst* Jackson* Lexington, Tenn. Louisville* McComb* Memphis, Tenn.* Station Frequency WAFM-AM 1580 AM WBUV-FM 104.9 FM WBKN-FM 92.1 FM WJWF-AM 1400 AM WNMQ-FM 103.1 FM WXRZ-FM 94.3 FM WYMX-FM 99.1 FM WFMM-FM 97.3 FM WDXO-FM 92.9 FM WFMN-FM 97.3 FM WZLT-FM 99.3 FM WLSM-FM 107.1 FM WAZA-FM 107.7 FM WHBQ-AM 560 AM City Station Frequency Memphis, Tenn.* WPGF-LP 87.7 FM Meridian WZKR-FM 103.3 FM Natchez* WKSO-FM 97.3 FM Oxford WQLJ-FM 93.7 FM Oxford/Water Valley* WTNM-FM 105.5 FM Philadelphia* WHOC-AM 1490 AM Prentiss* WJDR-FM 98.3 FM Tupelo* WWMR-FM 102.9 FM Vicksburg* WVBG-AM 1420 AM Waynesboro WABO-AM 990 AM Yazoo City* WBYP-FM 107.1 FM Nationwide Satellite Sirius XM Worldwide Internet CBS Interactive * Carries RebTalk live at 7-8 p.m. Tuesdays

n All live radio broadcasts are available through OleMissSports.coms RebelVision. n Visit the football schedule page for TV network coverage of games. n Road game in-stadium radio frequencies will be available each gameday at twitter.com/RebelGameday.

Channel Time/Date Fox Sports South Weekly Show: 5 p.m., Thursday CSS Weekly Show: 3:30 p.m., Friday; Game Replays: 6:30-8:30 p.m., Wednesday Cox Cable Weekly Show: TBD GCBI-TV Columbus Weekly Show: 9 p.m., Thursday WMDN-TV Meridian & Hattiesburg Weekly Show: 7 p.m., Friday WKFK-TV Gulf Coast Weekly Show: 7:30 p.m., Thursday

The Season: Ole Miss Football TV Affiliates

For those without a reserved parking pass through the Athletics Foundation, more shuttles with greater convenience will be available from multiple locations off campus. Shuttles will run from five locations - Oxford Mall, Whirlpool parking lot, Oxford Activities Center, Central Middle School and Oxford Conference Center - from three hours before kickoff until two hours after the games conclusion. Shuttles from the Oxford Mall and Whirlpool parking lot will be free, and postgame transportation will begin following the one-way exit period, one hour after the game. The Mall shuttle will deliver passengers to and from Paris Yates Chapel, and the Whirlpool shuttle will route to the Turner Center. Shuttles from the Activities Center, Middle School and Conference Center will be $5 round trip per person and drop off and pick up will be located off Gertrude Ford Parkway, just northeast of the stadium. Postgame runs will commence immediately following the game.

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University of alabama crimson tide


Athletic Website: www.rolltide.com; Twitter: http://twitter.com/UA_Athletics

Mosley prepared to be next up at linebacker


BY BEN PRICE Special to The Dispatch

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban is known for churning out elite defensive talent and putting it in the NFL. Rolando McClain, Donta Hightower, Dre Kirkpatrick, and Mark Barron are just a few of the first-round NFL draft picks Saban has coached at Alabama. Senior linebacker C.J. Mosley, of Theodore, Ala., is working hard to be next in that long line. When the members of the media who cover the Southeastern Conference placed their ballots for the All-SEC teams in July, neither Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, of Texas A&M University, nor University of South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney garnered the most votes. That distinction went to Mosley, who earned defensive MVP honors in Alabamas victory against the University of Notre Dame in the Bowl Championship Series national championship in January. It makes me more humble; to make sure Im doing the same things that got me to the situation. Mosley said. Even then, its still just preseason honors, and I havent done anything yet. As a freshman in 2010, Mosley finished third on the team with 67 tackles. He also returned two interceptions for touchdowns. Since then, Mosley has continued to lead the defense, and has gone from a highly regarded recruit to the undisputed leader on one of the nations premier units. Mosleys 107 tackles in 2012 not only led the

Aug. 31 Vs. Virginia Tech (At Atlanta) Sept. 14 At Texas A&M Sept. 21 COLORADO STATE Sept. 28 OLE MISS Oct. 5 GEORGIA STATE Oct. 12 At Kentucky Oct. 19 ARKANSAS Oct. 26 TENNESSEE Nov. 9 LSU Nov.16 At Mississippi State Nov. 23 CHATTANOOGA Nov. 30 At Auburn HOME GAMES IN CAPS

2013 Schedule

C.J. Mosley led the University of Alabama with 107 tackles last season. As a senior this season, the Theodore, Ala., native wants to have an even better season to ensure him a place with the Crimson Tide greats at linebacker.

University of Alabama Athletic Media Relations

team, but also were 48 more than the next closest defender. Hes a physical hitter in the backfield and a mobile defender in coverage. Last season, he had eight and a half tackles for loss and four sacks. He also has 14 career pass breakups and five interceptions, and is tied for the most interceptions returned for a touchdown in school history (three). As a consensus All-American in 2012 and a Butkus Award finalist, Mosley has been mentioned with Derrick

Thomas and Rolando McClain as one of the greatest linebackers in school history. While it is great to be included with Thomas and McClain, Mosley views it as humbly as possible. All I can say is I was doing what I was told. I bought into the Alabama system, and I feel if you buy into coach Sabans system, youll be successful. Mosley said. Its a team game. All I am trying to do is to do my part. If everybody does their part, we win games.

With two straight BCS national championships and three out of the last four, Sabans fabled process is talked about and scrutinized by coaches and players everywhere, but no one has duplicated it. The guys who buy into Sabans system, as Mosley mentioned, usually turn out successful. Buying into the system, becoming a leader, and taking on a bigger role for the team is what Mosley is attempting to do. That work ethic isnt lost on Saban.

C.J. has tried to take the bull by the horns and be a good leader, Saban said. C.J. Mosley is a fantastic player, has made a tremendous amount of plays, had a very good spring, and were hopeful hell have an outstanding season. Its going to take that type of season from Mosley for Alabama, the preseason No. 1 team in the USA Today coaches poll, to win another national championship. Despite See MOSLEY, 15

Sept. 1 W, 41-14 Vs. Michigan Sept. 8 W, 35-0 WESTERN KENTUCKY Sept. 15 W, 52-0 At Arkansas Sept. 22 W, 40-7 FLORIDA ATLANTIC Sept. 29 W, 33-14 OLE MISS Oct. 13 W, 42-10 At Missouri Oct. 20 W, 44-13 At Tennessee Oct. 27 W, 38-7 MISSISSIPPI STATE Nov. 3 W, 21-17 At LSU Nov. 10 L, 29-24 TEXAS A&M Nov. 17 W, 49-0 WESTERN CAROLINA Nov. 24 W, 49-0 AUBURN Dec. 1 W, 32-28  Vs. Georgia - SEC Championship Jan. 7 W, 42-14  Vs. Notre Dame BCS Championship HOME GAMES IN CAPS

2012 Results

Radio affiliates / GAMEDAY information


Station Frequency WHMA 95.5 WFCT 105.5 WAFN 92.7 WCKF 100.7 WMXA 96.7 WJOX 690/94.5 WKNU 106.3 WEIS 990/100.5 WUUQ 97.3/99.3 WHPH 97.7 WMRB 910 WIOL 1580/95.7 WADI 95.3 WFMH 1340 WWTM 1400 WBBK 93.1 WNRA 1240 WLDX 990 WYTK 93.9 WFPA 1400 WTKE 98.1 WAAX 570 WFXX 107.7 WWWH 92.7 WUMP, WVNN 730, 92.5 City Station Frequency Jackson, Ala. WHOD-FM 94.5 Jackson, Miss. WJQS 1400 Jasper WJLX 1240/101.5 Lewisburg, Tenn. WAXO 1220 Linden WINL 98.5 McComb, Miss. WHNY 1250 Meridian, Miss. WALT 910/102.1 Mobile WZEW 92.1 Monroeville WMFC 99.3 Montgomery, Prattville, WDXX, WXFX, WLWI Selma (all 3 for these 3) 100.1, 95.1, 1440 Nashville, Tenn. WPRT 102.5 Opp WAMI 102.3 Panama City, Fla. WBPC 95.1 Pensacola, Fla. WBSR 1450 Rome, Ga. WSRM 93.5 Russellville WGOL 920 Scottsboro WKEA, WWIC 98.3, 1050 Spartanburg, S.C. WASC 1530 Tallassee WTLS 1300/106.5 Tupelo, Miss. WZLQ 98.5 Tuscaloosa WFFN, WDGM, WTSK 95.3, 99.1, 790 Vernon WJEC 106.5 West Point, Ga. WCJM 100.9 Winfield WKXM 1300/97.7

A CLOSER LOOK
QUARTERBACKS AJ McCarron (Sr.), Blake Sims (Jr.), Alec Morris (Fr.) n McCarron is the unquestioned leader of this offense. Blake Sims took snaps as his backup last season but if McCarron is unavailable for an extended period of time, look for Alec Morris to take the reigns. RUNNING BACKS TJ Yeldon (Soph.), Kenyan Drake (Soph.), Dee Hart (Soph.), Derrick Henry (Fr.) n Yeldon ran for 1,108 yards and 12 touchdowns as a backup in 2012. Kenyan Drake ran for five scores of his own last year while Dee Hart missed the final nine games to injury. These two will battle with true freshman Derrick Henry for the backup spot. tackle, but the rest of this group will start for the first time. DEFENSIVE LINE Ed Stinson (Sr.), Brandon Ivory (Jr.), Jeoffrey Pagan (Soph.) n The Crimson Tides base three-man front doesnt require many bodies, but it requires a lot from the ones who play. Stinson is the only returning starter. Ivory takes over at nose tackle. Rotating young talent at the other spot will be key. LINEBACKERS CJ Mosley (Sr.), Adrian Hubbard (Sr.), Trey DePriest (Jr.), Denzel Devall (Soph.), Xzavier Dickson (Soph.), Reggie Ragland (Soph.) n Mosley, a consensus All-American, leads a fearsome and talented group. He and Hubbard chose to return to school instead of leaving for the NFL, and DePriest was the teams second leading tackler in 2012. SECONDARY Deion Belue (Sr.), HaSean Clinton-Dix (Jr.), John Fulton (Sr.), Nick Perry (Sr.), Vinnie Sunseri (Jr.), Geno Smith (Soph.), Landon Collins (Soph.) n Another experienced and talented group, Nick Sabans area of expertise is again expected to be a strength of this team. Six players return with starting experience. SPECIALISTS Cody Mandell (Sr.), Cade Foster (Sr.), Christion Jones (Jr.) n Mandells average of 44.28 yards per punt puts him in the top 10 among returning punters in the country. Foster has been Alabamas kickoff and long-distance field goal kicker for three years. This year, he will takes over the full-time duties. Return man Christion Jones will be used with a handful of other young talents to field kicks. Ben Price

City Anniston Apalachicola, Fla. Arab Ashland Auburn Birmingham Brewton Centre Chattanooga, Tenn. Clanton, Ala. Columbia, Tenn. Columbus, Ga. Corinth, Miss. Cullman Decatur Dothan Eufaula Fayette Florence Fort Payne Ft. Walton Beach, Fla. Gadsden Georgiana Haleyville Huntsville

Head Coach Nick Saban n Greg Brown Secondary Coach n Burton Burns Associate Head Coach / Running Backs n Mario Cristobal Offensive Line n Billy Napier Wide Receivers n Doug Nussmeier Offensive Coordinator / Quarterbacks n Joe Pannunzio Director of Football Operations n Chris Rumph Defensive Line n Kirby Smart Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers n Lance Thompson Outside Linebackers n Bobby Williams Tight Ends / Special Teams Coordinator n Scott Cochran Director of Strength and Conditioning n Kevin Steele Director of Player Personnel

Coaching staff

The Nick Saban Show and Hey, Coach


University of Alabama fans again will have an opportunity to talk with Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban each Thursday night on his weekly radio show. Tom Roberts hosts the 60-minute coaches call-in show following Hey, Coach at 6:30 p.m. each Thursday. Fans can join the program by calling toll-free 877202-BAMA (2262). The television stations are listed below: Birmingham Huntsville Mobile Dothan WIAT 42 WZDK 54 WJTC 44 WTVY 4 Sunday Sunday Sunday Sunday 10:30 p.m. 9 p.m. 6 p.m. 10:30 p.m. Montgomery WNCF 32 Tuscaloosa WVUA 7 Meridian WGBC 30 Comcast Sports Southeast Cox Sports TV Sunday Monday Sunday Monday Tuesday 10:30.p.m. 6:30.p.m. 10:30.p.m. 3 p.m. 6 p.m.

2012 Statistics
UA OPP SCORING 542 153 Points Per Game 38.7 10.9 FIRST DOWNS 303 192 Rushing 160 63 Passing 131 115 Penalty 12 14 RUSHING YARDAGE 3185 1069 Yards gained rushing 3484 1480 Yards lost rushing 299 411 Rushing Attempts 570 440 Average Per Rush 5.6 2.4 Average Per Game 227.5 76.4 TDs Rushing 37 10 PASSING YARDAGE 3052 2431 Comp.-Att.-Int. 219-328-3 217-397-18 Average Per Pass 9.3 6.1 Average Per Catch 13.9 11.2 Average Per Game 218.0 173.6 TDs Passing 31 8 TOTAL OFFENSE 6237 3500 Total Plays 898 837 Average Per Play 6.9 4.2 Average Per Game 445.5 250.0 KICK RETURNS: #-Yards 21-503 53-1143 PUNT RETURNS: #-Yards 34-337 18-117 INT RETURNS: #-Yards 18-221 3-20 KICK RETURN AVERAGE 24.0 21.6 PUNT RETURN AVERAGE 9.9 6.5 INT RETURN AVERAGE 12.3 6.7 FUMBLES-LOST 24-12 24-11 PENALTIES-Yards 54-467 67-565 Average Per Game 33.4 40.4 PUNTS-Yards 50-2214 83-3538 Average Per Punt 44.3 42.6 Net punt average 39.5 37.6 KICKOFFS-Yards 99-6285 38-2357 Average Per Kick 63.5 62.0 Net kick average 50.7 38.9 TIME OF POSSESSION/Game 32:16 27:44 3RD-DOWN Conversions 80/167 61/190 3rd-Down Pct. 48% 32% 4TH-DOWN Conversions 7/11 7/18 4th-Down Pct. 64% 39% SACKS BY-Yards 35-207 23-178 MISC YARDS 6 68 TOUCHDOWNS SCORED 71 20 FIELD GOALS-ATTEMPTS 15-20 5-12 ON-SIDE KICKS 0-0 1-1 RED-ZONE SCORES (56-62) 90% (19-29) 66% RED-ZONE TDS (46-62) 74% (16-29) 55% PAT-ATTEMPTS (69-70) 99% (18-19) 95% ATTENDANCE 712052 341450 Games/Avg Per Game 7/101722 4 /85362

Beginning three hours before kickoff, there will be a roadblock inside of the core campus on University Boulevard at Hackberry Lane westbound. With approximately 40,000 people on the Quad each gameday, we have taken this action to improve pedestrian safety. The only Tide Pride passes that will be allowed to drive through this roadblock are Rose Administration and Elm Drive. All other Tide Pride passes will be directed northbound or southbound. Please plan your route to your parking lot and avoid University Boulevard once roadblocks are up.

Traffic Changes for This Season

H-BACKS/TIGHT ENDS Brian Vogler (Jr.), Jalston Fowler (Sr.), Football Replays OJ Howard (Fr.) Replays of each Alabama game this season will be available on n With such a crowded the following channels: backfield, Fowler moves to Comcast Sports Southeast Sunday 8 p.m. H-back for more depth with Tuscaloosa WVUA 7 Monday 7 p.m. Vogler, the starting tight will be able to cross University Boulevard toward Bryant Dr. All end. Pass catching ability is traffic will turn left onto University Boulevard. Vice versa, no a question mark, but thats Bryant Drive traffic will be able to turn left onto 5th Avenue (Hil- where Howard should help.
liard Drive) toward University Boulevard before law enforcement deems it safe to return to normal traffic operations.

WIDE RECEIVERS Amari Cooper (Soph.), Kevin Norwood (Sr.), RV Parking Kenny Bell (Sr.), The on-campus RV spots are sold out. This season, the DeAndrew White (Jr.), Northington Lot will require a reservation for all Southeastern Christion Jones (Jr.) Conference games. The lot is still free for SEC and non-SEC games. The lot will remain a first come, first serve lot for all n Most likely the deepest non-conference games. Space is limited. Contact info@ and most talented Postgame Traffic Change Any traffic heading southbound on 5th Avenue no longer uagameday.com about availability. position on the field. All eight receivers who caught a pass last season are back. Alabama is known for its running game, but Western Division Second Team Southeastern Conference expect the Crimson Tide to QB - AJ McCarron (67) Alabama (225) .............................. 1,681 Champion Third Team use the members of this Texas A&M (11) .............................1,333 Alabama - 182 TE - Brian Vogler (18) group to stretch the field. LSU (7) .......................................... 1,324

SEC PRESEASON POLL / ALL-LEAGUE TEAM

Georgia - 38 South Carolina - 18 Texas A&M - 4 LSU - 1 Eastern Division (First-place votes in parentheses) Georgia (149) ................................ 1,570 South Carolina (75) ....................... 1,474 Florida (19) ....................................1,300 Vanderbilt .........................................858 Tennessee ........................................694 Missouri ............................................577 Kentucky .......................................... 331

Ole Miss ...........................................883 Auburn .............................................. 579 Mississippi State .............................. 516 Arkansas ..........................................488

Alabama players on Preseason All-SEC team

OFFENSE First Team (Number of votes in parentheses) RB - T.J. Yeldon (221) WR - Amari Cooper (194) OL - Cyrus Kouandjio (193) OL - Anthony Steen (109)

DEFENSE First Team LB - C.J. Mosley (231) DB - Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (203) DB - Deion Belue (77) Second Team DL - Xzavier Dickson (49) DL - Ed Stinson (39) DL - Jeoffrey Pagan (31) LB - Adrian Hubbard (66) DB - Vinnie Sunseri (36) Third Team LB - *Trey DePriest (16) SPECIALISTS Second Team P - Cody Mandell (54)

OFFENSIVE LINE Cyrus Kouandjio (Jr.), Anthony Steen (Sr.), Ryan Kelly (Soph.), Arie Kouandjio (Jr.), Austin Shepherd (Jr.), Leon Brown (Jr.), Chad Lindsay (Jr.) n Steen brings senior leadership to a relatively new group. Cyrus Kouandjio is a big-time talent at left

12 sunday, august 18, 2013

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Saban focused on process of winning another title


BY BEN PRICE Special to The Dispatch

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. How does a team improve on what the University of Alabama football team has done in the past four seasons? Last season, Alabama rolled past the University of Notre Dame 42-14 to become the first team in the Bowl Championship Series era to win back-to-back national championships. The title also was the programs third in four years. After all of that success, it is easy to wonder how the Crimson Tide will find the energy and determination to make another title run. If you ask the Crimson Tide, they havent accomplished anything. In fact, you might get the impression coach Nick Saban and his players arent fully satisfied with their previous seasons. Were proud of what our team was able to accomplish last year and the year before, but we also learned theres five or six plays that sort of can define your season and make a difference in the season. Saban said. Talk like that is all part of Sabans process, but he isnt the only one in the program who talks like that. It starts at the top and feeds through a program that has won 48 of 53 games in the past four seasons. I dont even wear my rings, Alabama fifth-year quarterback A.J. McCarron said. I let my parents wear them. I dont even want to look at them. Senior offensive lineman Anthony Steen wont even say Alabama is looking ahead to its game against Texas A&M University in the second week of the sea-

University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban has led the Crimson Tide to a 48-5 record in the past four seasons. Alabama has won three national championships in that stretch, which is part of a run of seven consecutive titles by Southeastern Conference teams.

University of Alabama Athletic Media Relations

son. Texas A&M handed Alabama its only loss last season. We still have a lot to prove, and I agree with him (Saban), Steen said. Thats why, in my eyes, Im waiting on Virginia Tech. I want to beat them and go to the next game. The Hokies and Aggies are the first two teams in a long line of teams that will try to end the Crimson Tides reign. Those teams will face a significant challenge because Alabama is ranked No. 1 in USA To-

days preseason poll. Former Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain brings his Colorado State University squad to Tuscaloosa in week four, while a motivated University of Mississippi team will shoot for the upset in week five. Due to a reshuffling of the conference schedule, the game will be at Bryant-Denny Stadium for the second consecutive year. Alabamas Southeastern Conference schedule continues in week seven with a road trip to the University

of Kentucky, followed by three straight home games against the University of Arkansas, the University of Tennessee, and a showdown against LSU everyone has circled on their calendars. While the game known as The Third Saturday in October has changed its date and lost a bit of its luster, Butch Jones will have his new Tennessee team ready to give Alabama its best shot. When Les Miles brings his Bayou Bengals to town, anything could happen. In

the last five regular-season games in this series, 15 points have separated the teams at the end of regulation. Two of the five games have gone to overtime, and none were decided by more than one possession. The Crimson Tide will complete its SEC schedule with road trips to Mississippi State University and Auburn University. By SEC standards, the schedule doesnt feature as many hurdles as it could, but one loss might affect Alabamas national title

dreams. Last season, other teams had to lose to open the door for a one-loss Crimson Tide team to play for the title. Saban plans to have his team ready. I think the most important thing for me to do is to get our staff, the people in our organization, our players to be as good as this team can be, Saban said. Thats what we focus on. Thats what we try to get accomplished with the players. It helps that the Crimson Tide have had success and believe in Sabans plan. On defense, safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is viewed as one of the nations top players in the secondary. Linebacker C.J. Mosley also is one of the best at his position, and youngsters Jeoffrey Pagan, Geno Smith, and Landon Collins have waited for their chances to shine on defense. Alabama appears to be set on offense. The Crimson Tide return every receiver from one of the most talented units in the conference. DeAndrew White, who missed most of 2012 with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, also returns. Thousand-yard rusher T.J. Yeldon leads a backfield with a slew of others like Jalston Fowler and freshman Derrick Green. As promising as the season looks, the focus continues to be on whatever needs to be done to improve. Saban doesnt like to talk about the past and prefers to concentrate only on things he and his players can affect. Anything else, he said, is useless information. While Saban understands coach-speak, he knows another crystal football would be another welcome step in the process.

McCarrons only concern is another title


BY BEN PRICE Special to The Dispatch

University of Alabama senior quarterback AJ McCarron will try to cap his college career by leading the Crimson Tide to a third national title as the teams starter.

University of Alabama Athletic Media Relations

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. Fans and media alike are quick to make comparisons and predictions about University of Alabama senior quarterback AJ McCarron. Despite leading the Crimson Tide to Bowl Championship Series national championships in the past two seasons, questions about McCarron still abound. Some wonder if he is a product of the talent around him. Is he good enough to have a successful career in the NFL? The Heisman Trophy-winning season of Texas A&M Universitys Johnny Manziel also overshadowed McCarron. After all, Manziel led the Aggies to an upset of McCarron and the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The loss was the only blemish on Alabamas 2012 rsum. Still, McCarron wasnt viewed as the best quarterback in the SEC last year, and he was a preseason second-team All-SEC pick behind Manziel this season. But McCarron doesnt care if he isnt the most glamorous quar-

I dont care (what people say about him) as long as we keep winning. I dont pay attention to social media. Thats not the way I was raised, and thats not the way coach (Nick) Saban told me when I first came here.
University of Alabama senior quarterback AJ McCarron
terback in the SEC. With Alabama ranked No. 1 in the USA Todays preseason poll, McCarron is positioned to become the first starting quarterback to win three championships in four seasons. Throughout the hype, the fifthyear senior from Mobile, Ala., has maintained one message: He is only

concerned about A.J. McCarron. I dont care as long as we keep winning, he said in July at Southeastern Conference Media Days. I dont pay attention to social media. Thats not the way I was raised, and thats not the way coach (Nick) Saban told me when I first came here. McCarron had to answer questions in the summer when news surfaced Manziel overslept and arrived late to the Manning Passing Camp. McCarron, who was Manziels roommate, was asked why he didnt wake up Manziel so he could be on time. But reports later surfaced that Manziel may not have been in the room with McCarron that night, so the Alabama quarterback couldnt have helped him get up on time. McCarron handled the questions as you would expect someone who has been around Saban for five years to handle them. My name is A.J. Everything that has to do with him (Manziel), hes his own man. he told reporters. He went on in this fashion for several minutes, concentrating on the process and explaining hes not a normal 22-year old college See MCCARRON, 15

University of Alabama offensive lineman Anthony Steen was one of the Crimson Tide players to go through the gauntlet of radio, television, and print reporters at the Southeastern Conference Media Days in Hoover, Ala. Steen, a preseason first-team All-SEC pick, will be counted on to be a fixture up front.

University of Alabama Athletic Media Relations

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Former Starkville High standout Stanley Childs will be one of a handful of sophomores on defense for the Itawamba Community College football team.

Itawamba Community College Athletic Media Relations

Childs

Continued from Page 8


Now, Childs and the Indians want more this season. This has been a great opportunity, Childs said. It has been even more than I expected. I am really grateful to the coaches for this opportunity. All they can do is give you a chance. Then it is a matter of what you do with it. Childs made the most of his chance last season, appearing in all nine games (six starts) as a defensive back. This season, the Indians will count on his experience as part of a young defense. As a sophomore, you naturally assume more of a leadership role, Childs said. Junior college ball is unique because so much of your team is new every year. You cant really ease into anything. That is why our job to make sure everybody knows their assignment and is ready to go. It is important for the new guys to understand the way we do things. Being on the same page is really important in relation to having success. ICC coach Jon Williams likes the progress Childs has made. He is even more impressed with the strides he made as a leader in the offseason. Stanley has a really turned into a nice player for us, Williams said. Recruiting is all about finding the right fit for your program. You take a chance on some players and hope they develop. You feel great when you see a player really buy into the program and perform at the level Stanley has reached. The Indians have been a playoff contender in Williams first three seasons as coach. ICC finished 6-3 last season but failed to qualify for the playoffs for a thirdstraight season. The Indians have tied for second place in the MACJC North Division each year. It seems like we were just a play away last year, and that really hurt, Childs said. I came from a high school program where it took a while to build things up, so the same thing is going on here. We are learning how to win. We are making progress. Even though we lost some guys last year, we still had a chance there at the end. The last game showed what we were truly capable of. The final game was a 2423 victory against archrival East Mississippi C.C. For ICC, it was its first victory in six tries against EMCC, who entered the game ranked third nationally and riding a 20-game winning streak. That game showed what we capable of, Childs said. Whenever everybody works together and aims for the same goal, anything is possible. The win did a lot for us, as far as getting ready for the next season. We really are hungry for more. The main thing with this team is we have to work hard every week. In this league, you cant take any plays off. You have to bring it every single week. I think we learned some valuable lessons that will help us going forward this season.

McKinney
Continued from Page 3

Nickoe Whitley has changed numbers from No. 5 to No. 1 this season, taking the number of former Bulldog wide receiver Chad Bumphis. This season, Whitley will be counted on to make more big plays like he did last season against the University of South Alabama, when he extended to make one of his three interceptions.

Stan Beall/Dispatch File Photo

lead and show guys how things in this program need to be done. In training camp, McKinney has been given the responsibility of getting the linemen and linebackers lined up before a play and making audibles. Last year, he shared that duty with Lawrence. So far, the 20-year-old has impressed the coaches with his ability to carry more leadership duties. Benardrick was a two-star recruit coming out of high school, but what set him apart was he bought into our program, MSU coach Dan Mullen said. He can help create different mismatches with his size. Youll see him move him around a little bit and try to create some mismatches with him on the defensive side of the ball. In McKinney, Deontae Skinner, of Noxubee County High School, and Matthew Wells, MSU defensive coordinator Geoff Collins has an experienced trio that has made 40 career starts at MSU. Im very lucky to have the group of guys I have, Collins said. The (linebackers) I have in my room embody everything this program stands for: relentless effort, competitiveness, great attitude, and getting better every day.

ICC

I couldnt be more proud of the guys I coach every day. They come into meetings, theres 12 of them sitting there wired, ready to get better. Its not like that everywhere. McKinney already has been informed the newcomers like redshirt freshmen Beniquez Brown and Richie Brown that they are expected to contribute. Collins said in training camp he hopes to have eight to 10 linebackers to use this season. When you put it in players hands during the game, we felt like they respond naturally knowing its about them going out and playing smart, Collins said. When were in meeting rooms, they get to hear us and then see a Benardrick McKinney and Deontae Skinner and say to themselves, Thats how I should do this. While those newcomers look at McKinney in that meeting room, the redshirt sophomore is still learning the why and the purpose for doing things. Im still getting better understanding how my responsibility affects the other 10 guys on the field, McKinney said. Im still learning how my effort reflects the other 10 guys consistency. Ill probably always still be learning that.

Continued from Page 8


Indians have returning experience with the return of Tobias Lofton and Chris Ingram at running back. Lofton ran for a team second-best 365 yards and a touchdown last season. Jarvis Bentley anchors the receiving corps. He had 39 receptions for 297 yards and a touchdown last season. Jarvis played a lot last year, Williams said.He stands 6-foot-5, so he makes for a big target, plus he has good leaping ability. He emerged as a really big part of what we were trying to do on offense last season. Brandon Jones, an AllState tackle last season, has shifted to guard and will anchor the offensive line. Defensively, Darius White is a returning starter at cornerback. The former Grenada standout will be asked to anchor a young secondary. We have a lot of new guys back there, but we arent going to run away from the challenge, White said. Instead, we are going to be excited about it. Since everybody

Those victories in the past wont help us win games this year. Its time to move forward and get this (making the playoffs) done.
Itawamba Community College football coach Jon Williams
we play is going to pass a lot, our job is to make plays. We have some good players back here, and I am looking forward to seeing what we can do on defense. Linebacker C.J. Jackson returns after leading the nation in tackles for loss last season. Jackson had 72 tackles and seven sacks. Defensive end Cameron Williams was an All-State performer in 2011 and returns after receiving a medical redshirt in 2012.

Other returning starters on defense include defensive back Stanley Childs, of Starkville High, and DQ McReynolds, a nose guard from Lafayette County. A young defense will be asked to maturer quickly. Williams is anxious to see a talented signee-class perform, too, just as he is about seeing the team moving forward. While the victory against EMCC could serve as a turning-point moment for some programs, the same couldnt be said in Fulton. The Indians beat the Lions for the first time in six years despite dressing only 39 players. It was a big win and it helped us on the recruiting trail, Williams said. However, one victory is not going to define our program. There are several other big wins I am just as proud of. However, those victories in the past wont help us win games this year. Its time to move forward and get this (making the playoffs) done.

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college football preview

2013 MACJC Football schedule


WEEK ONE Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013 Southwest at Northwest, 6:30 p.m. Coahoma at Gulf Coast, 7 p.m. East Central at Itawamba, 7 p.m. EMCC at Pearl River, 7 p.m. Hinds at Mississippi Delta, 7 p.m. Jones at Holmes, 7 p.m. Northeast at Copiah-Lincoln, 7 p.m. WEEK TWO Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013 Copiah-Lincoln at Northwest, 6:30 p.m. Hinds at Coahoma, 6:30 p.m. East Central at EMCC, 7 p.m. Holmes at Gulf Coast, 7 p.m. Itawamba at Southwest, 7 p.m. Jones at Northeast, 7 p.m. Mississippi Delta at Pearl River, 7 p.m. WEEK THREE Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013 North Holmes at Northeast, 6:30 p.m. North Northwest at Coahoma, 6:30 p.m. North Mississippi Delta at Itawamba, 7 p.m. South Copiah-Lincoln at East Central, 6:30 p.m. South Gulf Coast at Hinds, 6:30 p.m. Southwest at EMCC, 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013 South Pearl River at Jones, 7 p.m. WEEK FOUR Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013 North Northeast at Northwest, 6:30 p.m. North EMCC at Mississippi Delta, 7 p.m. North Itawamba at Holmes, 7 p.m. South East Central at Southwest, 7 p.m. South Hinds at Copiah-Lincoln, 7 p.m. South Jones at Gulf Coast, 7 p.m. Pearl River at Coahoma, 6:30 p.m. WEEK FIVE Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013 North Holmes at Mississippi Delta, 7 p.m. South East Central at Hinds, 6:30 p.m. South Southwest at Pearl River, 7 p.m. Gulf Coast at Northeast, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013 North Coahoma at EMCC, 2 p.m. North Northwest at Itawamba, 4 p.m. South Copiah-Lincoln at Jones, 2 p.m.

EMCC

Continued from Page 6

Thomas

Pruitt appeared in six games last season and threw 36 passes. He will be backed up by Todd Mays, a former All-State quarterback from Olive Branch High School, who transferred to EMCC after spending last WEEK SIX season at Arkansas State University. It is a Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013 safe bet EMCC often will use both on the North Coahoma at Northeast, 6:30 p.m. field at the same time. North EMCC at Holmes, 7 p.m. I got to play a lot last year and got to see a lot of different situations, Pruitt said. It is South Jones at East Central, 6:30 p.m. exciting to know now that this is my team. South Gulf Coast at Pearl River, 7 p.m. The coaches have placed a lot of confidence Itawamba at Copah-Lincoln, 7 p.m. in me to become the starter. In this offense, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013 the quarterback makes it go. He is in charge North Mississippi Delta at Northwest, 2 p.m. of putting up some massive numbers. We have an amazing amount of good South Hinds at Southwest, 5 p.m. players around me. People are going to see something special. WEEK SEVEN The Lions play an up-tempo, no-huddle Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013 offense. In three games last season, EMCC North Northeast at EMCC, 7 p.m. ran more than 90 plays, including 108 in the season-ending loss to Copiah-Lincoln South Hinds at Jones, 7 p.m. C.C. in the opening round of the MACJC South Southwest at Gulf Coast, 7 p.m. State playoffs. Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013 The offense will not miss a beat this North Itawamba at Coahoma, 2 p.m. year, EMCC sophomore wide receiver North Northwest at Holmes, 6 p.m. A.J. Stamps said. I think the biggest advantage this team has is so many of these South Pearl River at Copiah-Lincoln, 3 p.m. guys played last year. This is a grown-man Mississippi Delta at East Central, 2:30 p.m. league, and there is no time to be shy or timid. These guys got to feel the atmosphere WEEK EIGHT last year. They got a taste and want more. Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013 Wallace, who is now at the University of Mississippi, led the nation with 4,604 passNorth EMCC at Northwest, 6:30 p.m. ing yards in 12 games in 2011. Last season, North Northeast at Itawamba, 7 p.m. Johnson was third in the nation with 280.5 South Jones at Southwest, 6:30 p.m. yards per game, and eighth overall with South East Central at Pearl River, 7 p.m. 2,805 yards. Holmes at Hinds, 7 p.m. It is a little intimidating when you read Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013 (the statistics) on paper, Pruitt said. Everything said about the offense is true, North Coahoma at Mississippi Delta, 2 p.m. though. We are ready to pass before the South Copiah-Lincoln at Gulf Coast, 2 p.m. ball is snapped. It doesnt matter where the ball is (on the field). Coaches are looking WEEK NINE for a two-minute-or-less scoring drive. Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013 West Point High Schools Lakenderic Thomas, Mays, and Starkville Highs PresNorth Mississippi Delta at Northeast, 6:30 p.m. ton Baker will be counted on to give EMCC North Holmes at Coahoma, 6:30 p.m. a solid punch in the backfield. North Itawamba at EMCC, 7 p.m. On defense, the Lions will look to conSouth Gulf Coast at East Central, 6:30 p.m. tinue their strides from last season, despite South Pearl River at Hinds, 6:30 p.m. losing a top coach. After five seasons in Scooba, associate head coach and defenSouth Southwest at Copiah-Lincoln, 7 p.m. sive coordinator William Jones left EMCC Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013 to become the new coach at PRCC. Northwest at Jones, 2 p.m. Jordan Lesley is the new defensive coorEND OF REGULAR SEASON dinator. Lesleys most recent stops were at

Kilgore College and Northwest Mississippi C.C. DeCarlos Holmes will coach EMCCs defensive line. He is a veteran of the Louisiana high school ranks. There have been some changes but nothing major, said EMCC sophomore free safety Byerson Cockrell, who was a standout at Columbus High. The team is still going to play hard with a tremendous amount of effort. When the ball is snapped, the coaches want all 11 of us going toward it. Our job is to play a hard-nosed, physical brand of football. EMCC ran its two-season winning streak to 20 thanks to a 56-49 victory against Northwest Mississippi C.C. in a battle between teams ranked in the top five in the nation. That victory helped secure the North Division. Still, a chance to repeat as national champions went out the window with a 24-23 loss to Itawamba C.C. the following week. The state title defense as well as the season ended with a 47-46 loss to Copiah-Lincoln C.C. in the state semifinals. Only one other time had EMCC lost back-to-back games under Stephens. A one-point loss is tough on any athlete, Stamps said. It is even tougher when it is a loss that ends your season. We were one step away from playing for the state championship. It hurt us real bad. You eventually get over it and start using it for motivation. The two losses included some very atypical items: personal foul penalties, blocked kicks, missed extra points, and poor kick return defense. Lack of special teams play undid a season of gaudy offensive and defensive numbers. We dont want to dwell (on last season), but we want to learn from it, Stephens said. We want the kids to take one thing from last season. You need to be prepared to play every snap of every game. Offense, defense, special teams, it is all part of the game. We have always taken a tremendous pride in our special teams, and a lack of attention to detail was the biggest reason we were done in last year. We were the makers of our own misery. The same will hold true about this years team. Through the offseason, I think this team has learned this: We control our own destiny. If we do what we are supposed to do, we can be very good. We can be champions again.

Continued from Page 6


his business in the classroom. Everything we thought we were getting, we have gotten and then much more. EMCC has won four of five North Division champions under Stephens. The Lions have won eight or more games each season, except for a 5-5 campaign in 2010. We hit a lull with the running game in 2010, Stephens said. We really didnt have the type of plan of place in the backfield that wins games in this league. Rodriguez came in a year later and helped solidify that. People do get lost in the pass games. They dont understand the critical nature of the running game. As a wide-eyed freshman a season ago, Thomas liked Moores work ethic. The two formed a friendship quickly and the mentoring followed. Rod taught me a lot about carrying the football, Thomas said. He taught me a lot about playing the game on this level. Even though he was one of the best players on the team, he never approached it like he was a superstar or anything. I learned as much as I could from him because I knew my opportunity would be coming. For the Lions, the chance to seize that opportunity is nearly here. Stephens has cautiously hinted this unit has a chance to be one of the programs best. EMCC already has earned the preseason nod for another North Division championship, and is ranked in the top 10 in two polls. There is a lot of talent around here, Thomas said. As a sophomore, my job is to be a leader by example. If one of the young guys has a question, it is my job to make sure they get an answer and they can learn how we do things. We have some many athletes at wide receiver, it is scary. That is why the running game will be pushed under the rug. Despite has main duties as a running back, Thomas also will be one of many options for sophomore quarterback Dontreal Pruitt. Its fun playing an up-tempo offense, Pruitt said. It is get the ball and go. I think (Thomas) is going to have an incredible season. He is a lot of fun to be around. Since both of us played a lot last year, we already have the chemistry thing going. When you see us get to play together for four quarters in a game, some special things are going to happen. Thomas had one pass

reception last season an 8-yard touchdown catch from Pruitt in a victory against Southwest Mississippi C.C. early in the season. To be such a small guy, Dontreal has an unbelievable cannon, Thomas said. I am very glad I am on the offense. I would not want to be the other teams defense, trying to figure out a way to stop all of this. The good news when you are on offense is you already know you are trying to do, so we have some talented players and we know what we are trying to do. That gives us an advantage. The chemistry started in the second half of the blowout victory in September in Summit. The coaches were excited to see that score go on the board. The chemistry has been tight from that play on, Thomas said. I know the coaches didnt think I was going to make the catch. They could take a chance on me on that play because we were up big. I think we have come a long way since then.

college football preview

The Dispatch www.cdispatch.com

Sunday, August 18, 2013

15

Moncrief
Continued from Page 9
University of Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Ala. Moncrief tied for the team lead with six catches (31 yards) in the victory. The biggest thing I wanted to do was get stronger and work on my routes, Moncrief said. The better your routes are, the easier it is to catch the ball. We have a lot of guys on offense back, so we are ready to take it to the next level. Last season, we were learning the offense and we were learning the coaches. This season is a lot a different. Everybody knows our potential, so its just a matter of getting out there, working hard, and getting it done. Moncrief also believes the best days are still to come in Oxford. We know we can do better than we did last year, said Moncrief, who was named second-team All-SEC in the preseason poll and to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List. The award is given annually the nations top wide receiver. There were a lot of small things we messed up on and coach (Hugh) Freeze says, The small things will beat you. We have to work on the small things and get better as we go. A former All-American at East Mississippi Community College, Wallace threw for 2,994 yards last season. Ten of his 22 touchdowns were to Moncrief. A strong rushing attack also will keep some heat off Moncrief. Jeff Scott, ITavius Mathers, and Barry Brunetti accounted for 2,385 total yards last season. Freshmen Kailo Moore and Jordan Wilkins will provide depth in the backfield to give Moncrief a little more protection.

Mosley

Continued from Page 11


being a huge contributor for three seasons, Mosley never has been a fulltime starter, thanks to the tremendous amount of depth around him. Naturally, optimism and logic say he has a great chance to have his best season in 2013. In 2010, Mosley started three games as a freshman. He split time in 2011 and 2012 with linebacker Nico Johnson, starting only in nickel and dime packages. He missed five starts in 2012, including games against LSU and Auburn. Projected to be a full-time starter this season, Mosley is one of a handful of seniors on the defense, so he knows he will be counted on to take his game to another level. He just has to stay away from injuries. A dislocated elbow kept him out of two games in 2011. A gruesome hip injury

Nkemdiche
Continued from Page 9

McCarron
Continued from Page 12

in that seasons BCS title game against LSU during an interception return sidelined him for the rest of that game and the entire spring. Bouncing back and achieving more has always been the mantra for Mosley. The individual goals and team goals are set in stone and Mosley is ready to get going. When asked if anything less than another title would be viewed as a failure, Mosley didnt hesitate. Even we would say thats a disappointment. The way we work, the way we pride ourselves on every game, we expect nothing less, Mosley said. The expectations are there. Each year, the results usually follow. The same can be said for Mosley and the Crimson Tide.

Ole Miss

eligible. The Rebels carried that momentum over to their next game, a 38-17 victory against the University of Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Ala. Ole Miss allowed only 266 yards in that victory. Nkemdiche headlines a group of eight returning starters on defense. Not only does he want to validate his performance last season, but the Rebels also want to do everything they can to live up to the lofty expectations. I cant take steps behind, Nkemdiche said. I have something to live up to; I have expectations to meet. I have a season ahead of me where I have to do better than the season I had last year or Im taking steps backward. Im ready for the challenge. While Nkemdiche has set the bar high for himself, he has generated plenty of preseason buzz and has been named to the watch lists for several honors, including the Lombardi Award, which is awarded annually to the best college football lineman or linebacker,

I have something to live up to; I have expectations to meet.


University of Mississippi sophomore linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche

and the Nagurski Award, which is given annually to the most valuable defensive player. The preseason expectations come after Nkemdiche was named a College Football News Freshman All-American. The Associated Press named him a 2012 All-SEC second-team performer, the SEC coaches, as well as ESPN.com, named him to the 2012 SEC All Freshman Team,while the media named him to the 2013 All-SEC Preseason First Team. The notice is good, but what that does is it makes you hungrier, Nkemdiche said. We wont catch anybody by surprise this

year. That means we just have to work harder to reach our goals. Nkemdiche will have plenty of motivation to reach those goals. His younger brother, Robert, a highly touted freshman who was the consensus No. 1 high school football player in the nation last season, will push for playing time and a chance to make an impact, just like his brother did last season. It is great to have my brother on the team, Nkemdiche said. There were a lot of schools that were going for him. I told him to pick a place where he would be most comfortable. He chose here, and I am excited about that. We are going to have a lot of fun together. The Nkemdiches will seek to harass quarterbacks and to blow up the offensive backfield in every game. Although Denzel Nkemdiche once might have been viewed as playing in the shadow of his younger brother, the spotlight could be on him and the Rebels defense this season.

kid who can live a normal college life. His answers took a different approach than Manziel, who said after he left the Manning Passing Camp, Im still a sophomore in college, Im still going to do things that everybody in college does, and Im going to continue to enjoy my life. Hopefully people dont hold me to a higher standard than that. With two titles already in hand, McCarron knows he and the Crimson Tide are held to a different standard. He did his best last season to live up to those expectations, finished the year as the nations top passer rating and the highest in the SEC since Auburn Universitys Cam Newton in 2010. He capped the season by throwing four touchdowns in a 42-14 victory against the University of Notre Dame. He played nearly flawless game to raise his final touchdown-to-interception ratio to 30-to-3, the best in the nation. This season, McCarron isnt concerned about the criticism of his play. Alabama also is doing its best to ignore the thought of defending its SEC and national titles. For McCarron, his focus

appears to be on adding a few pages to his record-setting career. Entering the season, McCarron has thrown the most touchdown (49) of any quarterback to play at Alabama. He also is less than 2,000 yards shy of breaking John Parker Wilsons record for career passing yards, and is 205 completions shy of catching Wilsons record for career completions. He also is 10 victories away from reaching Jay Barkers career record of 35 wins, the most for any Alabama quarterback. As the odds-on favorite to win a third conference championship, those numbers seem attainable. While many are waiting for Alabamas reign to end, McCarron is working to extend it. Everybody goes through their era in college football. Florida went through it. Miami Hurricanes back in the day, Florida State, USC, McCarron said. Our thing was, why does it have to end? It doesnt have to, even though the Crimson Tide may face their biggest challenges early in the season. Alabama will play Virginia Tech University in its season opener and then travel

to College Station, Texas, to take on Manziel and Texas A&M. The Crimson Tide also will have to play the LSU Tigers in November, as well as a schedule filled with teams looking to hit the bulls eye on their back. McCarron wont worry about all of that. He has an arsenal of weapons that may outshine any other team, even his previous Alabama offenses. The Crimson Tide return all of their wide receivers from 2012. Running back T.J. Yeldon and a wealth of talent on the offensive line also returns. With talent around him in every direction, McCarron could break every record Alabama. Still, some will continue to call him a game manager. Others will continue to compare him to Manziel. Thats OK with McCarron. Hes used to staying out of the spotlight and leading his team to championships. If any other quarterback wins two national championships, theyre the best thing since sliced bread, but Im labeled as a game manager. McCarron said. They can call me a bench-rider as long as we keep winning.

Continued from Page 10 broke his collarbone in training camp. He is expected to miss six to eight weeks. Freshman Laquan Treadwell or classmate Quincy Adeboyejo could step in and contribute in Sanders absence. Another viable target is Ja-Mes Logan. The Texas native had 43 catches last season. The defense is deep and young. The front is anchored by Issac Gross, CJ Johnson, Cameron Whigham, Channing Ward, and Bryon Bennett. Newcomers Lavon Hooks and Robert Nkemdiche will give the Rebels one of their strongest lines in recent memory. Mike Marry and Denzel Nkemdiche, a freshman All-American, will be anchors at linebacker, while junior Keith Lewis likely will fill out the starting rotation. D.T. Shack-

We will have a better defensive team this season.


University of Mississippi football coach Hugh Freeze

elford, Temario Strong, and Serderius Bryant will compete for playing time. The secondary has been a question mark in the past few seasons, and may be again. The group is led by senior cornerback Charles Sawyer, who has been one of the Rebels most consistent players. Sawyer is joined by junior Cody Prewitt, sophomore safety Trae Elston, and Senquez Golson. Five-star safety Tony Conner could figure into the mix.

We will have to be a better defensive team this season, Freeze said. They are working hard and making a lot of progress. Ole Miss schedule doesnt let up after the road opener. It will face the University of Texas, the University of Alabama, and Auburn University in consecutive road games in weeks three through five. Ole Miss then will play six straight home games in a seven-week stretch before it tries to get its first Egg Bowl victory in Starkville since Eli Mannings senior year in 2003. It doesnt help to focus on (the MSU game), Freeze said, so I really dont talk about it a lot because, you know, were going to play it. Were going to show up and compete in every game hopefully.

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college football preview