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Ole Miss football begins first full week of work

The 2019 Ole Miss football team strapped on the shoulder pads for the first time Monday morning to kick off the first full week of fall practice.

Posted: Aug 5, 2019 9:08 PM

OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) – The 2019 Ole Miss football team strapped on the shoulder pads for the first time Monday morning to kick off the first full week of fall practice.

Following Monday's practice session, head coach Matt Luke, along with defensive back Montrell Custis, offensive lineman Michael Howard and defensive end Tariqious Tisdale, met with the media to provide the latest updates from inside fall camp.

CUSTIS' COMEBACK
Montrell Custis had an outstanding start to the 2018 season and was just settling into a key role in the Rebel secondary when he suffered a season-ending knee injury. Now, the senior out of Jonesboro, Georgia, is working his way back onto the field and hopes to be ready to go by the end of fall camp.

"I'm feeling good, getting back in shape. Rehab is going great," Custis said. "We've got great trainers and great doctors out here, they say my knee is re-structured, so I've just got to beat the mental part now."

DRAWING THE LINE
Last season, Ole Miss had the luxury of a veteran offensive line, laden with upperclassmen. Several members of that unit are now gone to the professional ranks, and the eldest returner, senior Alex Givens, is limited this fall recovering from back surgery. The youth, coupled with the uncertainty, has Luke spending a little extra time around his O-Line unit during practice, but he likes what he's seeing so far.

"They realize all the talk that's out there," Luke said of his offensive line. "They just have to go prepare with a sense of urgency and a chip on their shoulder. Some of the young guys have to get ready a little bit quicker, and some of the older guys have to step up. Michael Howard is one of the guys who has really stepped up there, the added weight has helped him. Been very pleased with Royce Newman. Eli Johnson has been fighting in there at center. Bryce Matthews has been playing some center, some tackle. Royce is playing some guard, some tackle. Jalen Cunningham has shown some flashes. Nick Broker and Jeremy James, a couple of freshmen, have been in there with the twos and competing. We're looking at a bunch of different lineups. They're working and understand that sense of urgency."

Howard has been one of the most crucial pieces of that O-Line group during fall camp, filling in the starting right tackle role with Givens sidelined. Howard, one of the most hard-nosed players on the Rebel roster, has played primarily on special teams throughout his career. The redshirt senior came to Oxford in 2015, weighing in at 232 pounds and has fought to pack on weight throughout his career. He played at 257 last season but is now tipping the scales at 280 as he looks to contribute along the offensive front.

"Everything I saw, I ate," Howard said. "If it was there and was edible, I had to eat it. It was just a mindset that I have to get bigger and be there to back my guys up. I really worked hard this offseason with a lot of the guys, especially people who have been in games. Being heavier helps, but you have to be a technician."

3-4 FITS
While the offensive line is breaking in a host of new personnel, the defensive front will benefit from a large contingent of returning players. However, that defensive line will have a new look as well as it transitions to the 3-4 defense, comprised of three down linemen and four linebackers.

Early in the install, the Rebel defenders are enjoying the switch. Defensive end Tariqious Tisdale, who played in a 3-4 scheme in junior college, spoke Monday about the growing comfort in defensive coordinator Mike MacIntyre's new scheme, as well as the mindset of the defense coming into the 2019 season.

"I feel like it fits me and fits us better having our guys who are big but aren't so big to play D-Line, like Qaadir Sheppard and Charles Wiley, play linebacker," Tisdale said. "We've been ready to get back after it. We all have it in our head that last year is not going to happen again. We all have the same goal and mindset to go out and compete."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 292811

Reported Deaths: 6613
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19560229
Hinds18674385
Harrison16512276
Rankin12595262
Jackson12451217
Lee9663160
Madison9400195
Jones7891145
Forrest7140136
Lauderdale6784225
Lowndes6008137
Lamar584480
Lafayette5707113
Washington5159128
Bolivar4594120
Oktibbeha439991
Panola426892
Pearl River4116128
Warren4114113
Pontotoc407368
Marshall399492
Monroe3980126
Union392873
Neshoba3767166
Lincoln3464100
Hancock339973
Leflore3358118
Sunflower317185
Tate300874
Pike298393
Scott292567
Alcorn290360
Itawamba288871
Yazoo283862
Tippah275665
Copiah274557
Coahoma272766
Simpson271778
Prentiss268658
Leake251770
Wayne251340
Marion250778
Covington247878
Grenada245876
Adams233277
George230645
Newton224751
Winston220275
Jasper211844
Tishomingo211765
Attala206269
Chickasaw200650
Holmes181670
Clay178149
Stone171429
Tallahatchie169839
Clarke168671
Calhoun156428
Smith151831
Yalobusha142936
Greene126833
Walthall123540
Noxubee122729
Perry121434
Montgomery121237
Lawrence119321
Carroll117623
Amite110832
Webster109929
Jefferson Davis100531
Tunica98623
Claiborne97729
Benton93124
Humphreys91626
Kemper89522
Quitman77014
Franklin75519
Choctaw69516
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson61427
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 491110

Reported Deaths: 9831
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson706291356
Mobile35894721
Madison32255442
Tuscaloosa23996409
Montgomery22462494
Shelby21820215
Baldwin19670274
Lee14900150
Morgan13599249
Calhoun13175285
Etowah13143319
Marshall11226206
Houston10048259
Elmore9337183
Limestone9335134
Cullman8869179
St. Clair8783220
Lauderdale8581210
DeKalb8429174
Talladega7481163
Walker6504251
Jackson6477102
Autauga620389
Blount6086125
Colbert5978118
Coffee5230102
Dale4621106
Russell401831
Franklin397876
Covington3956106
Chilton384298
Escambia377172
Tallapoosa3572141
Clarke342949
Dallas3397141
Chambers3392108
Pike293071
Lawrence281384
Marion280894
Winston246166
Bibb244260
Geneva238670
Marengo233354
Pickens223954
Barbour209951
Hale208868
Fayette199756
Butler195165
Henry182041
Cherokee176438
Monroe165938
Randolph163140
Washington156634
Crenshaw143554
Clay143354
Macon140943
Cleburne136839
Lamar131732
Lowndes130648
Wilcox120825
Bullock116336
Conecuh106523
Perry105327
Sumter98431
Coosa87823
Greene87032
Choctaw54823
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