Ole Miss welcomes back a familiar face this spring when Nick Brassell returns to the Rebels practice field this month where he once starred as a freshman wide receiver in 2011.
Hugh Freeze and his staff have made it a priority to upgrade the pass defense this spring, and after finishing near the cellar in the SEC in that department, they are looking for solutions to that problem on the offensive side of the ball.
According to Neil McCready from rebelgrove.com, joining Brassell in cornerback drills this spring is fellow wide receiver Quadarias Mireles, who will give the Rebels another fresh body to compete for a role on defense this season.
Ole Miss should have a strong front seven this season with the continued development of defensive linemen Isaac Gross, Channing Ward, C.J. Johnson and the addition of Robert Nkemdiche. The linebacking unit should be solid with Denzel Nkemdiche and the return of D.T. Shackelford, but the potential Achilles’ heel to this defense is the secondary, which is what necessitated the moves of two wide receivers to defense.
They were able to make this switch as a result of the team being deep at that position, something that may not have been possible in years past when the roster lacked sufficient talented depth. The spring is a time where position switches are the norm, and making these moves in the spring gives the players a head start on learning the position and the nuances that come with flipping over to defense.
Had these moves been made in summer or even during the season, the learning curve would have been incredibly steep. Give credit to Freeze and his staff for getting ahead of the curve and identifying a weakness and finding the players that can remedy this situation and potentially turn it into an asset.