LB Kelvin Robinson

2004 Statistics

Coach: Ed Orgeron
1st year
2004 Record: 4-7
at Alabama LOST 7-28
at Wyoming LOST 32-37
at South Carolina WON 31-28
at Arkansas LOST 3-35
at Louisiana State LOST 24-27

2004 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2005 Outlook

The Eli Manning hangover was pretty bad. The offense took a complete nosedive and so did the team in general, falling to 4-7 - their first losing season since 1996. That prompted a change at the top with the hiring of Ed Orgeron, the defensive line coach for the two-time defending national champion USC Trojans. Orgeron enters his first head coaching job. At least he comes in knowing how to win.

Regardless, Ole Miss is a decent football team. In fairness to Michael Spurlock, he was thrown into a near-impossible situation and didn’t respond very well. He’s back in a much more relaxed environment, and he’ll thrive. With weapons all around him and depth in case he repeats his performance, this is an offense that, while it won’t be deadly, will do a lot more than it did in just earning 19+ points per game.

The aggressive defense has linebackers and DBs who are all speedy, hard-hitting defenders constantly flying the ball. Size is an issue in the corps. The run defense is the biggest concern after last year, but the new 4-3 alignment and buffed interior will surely be stouter. By the time the Rebels get into the heart of the SEC schedule, the defense will be humming along, and will keep Ole Miss competitive in the country’s toughest conference.

The “new” Rebels are going to get a great test (Memphis) right off the bat, a game that’ll show just how far they’ve come (so far)…and still need to go. SEC play is going to be a bear, but, under Orgeron, this is a team with the capability of winning six games and sneaking into a bowl game. 112 years later, Cardinal red and Navy blue still signal an Ole Miss rebellion.

Projected 2005 record: 4-7
QB - 3 DL - 3.5
RB - 2.5 LB - 3
WR - 3.5 DB - 3
OL - 2.5 ..

Passing: Ethan Flatt, 220-123-10, 1530 yds., 6 TD

Rushing: Vashon Pearson, 158 att., 807 yds., 3 TD

Receiving: Mario Hill, 36 rec., 426 yds., 0 TD

Scoring: Brandon Jacobs, 5 TD, 30 pts.

Punting: None

Kicking: None

Tackles: Charles Clark, 76 tot., 57 solo

Sacks: Patrick Willis, 5 sacks

Interceptions: Trumaine McBride, 3 for 71 yds., 1 TD

Kickoff Returns:
Mike Espy, 20 ret., 20.0 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Mike Espy, 27 ret., 5.6 avg., 0 TD


WR Mike Espy
OFFENSE: Bill Flowers-WR, Doug Buckles-OG, Marcus Johnson-OG, Eric Rice-TE, Rick Razzano-FB, Lorenzo Townsend-FB, Jonathan Nichols-K, Chris Spencer-C (NFL), Vashon Pearson-RB (academics)
DEFENSE: Cory Robinson-DE, Rob Robertson-SLB, Brian Lester-MLB, Eric Oliver-FS, Cody Ridgeway-P

Michael Spurlock and Ethan Flatt both struggled in 2004, but both are back. Orgeron went into the spring hoping to have a clear-cut No. 1, but neither Spurlock, Flatt nor Robert Lane (who was injured for much of the spring) broke free of the others. After a strong spring, though, Spurlock has a loose grip on the starter’s spot he lost after just two games a year ago. Blessed with great speed (4.42-sec 40) and a strong arm, Spurlock has the tools to be a successful in the SEC. Flatt took Spurlock’s job last year, but didn’t play well enough to keep it. A tall, skinny drop-back passer, Flatt can run but will stay more in the pocket. Lane is more of a running back with an arm, and he gives the Rebels a big-time ground threat when he’s in. Spurlock will likely be the starter, and he’ll be better than he was in 2004. Still, the marginal nature of this unit means that whoever provides the most stability will likely keep the job.

Running Back
There’s nothing like a little competition to make a position better, right? Vashon Pearson came through, leading the team in rushing and averaging 5.1 yards per carry. The bad news...the blazing Pearson has been ruled academically ineligible for the 2005 season, which makes a good case as to why coaches gave Jamal Pittman a chance.
Pittman is a power back who gives the Rebels all three dimensions, and he’ll have a big year. Give the edge to Pittman because of his versatility, while young Alan Abrams pushes for duel playing time. Actually, Abrams garnished way more carries last fall (56 att.) . Both will run behind new fullback Jason Cook, an ex-LB who is tough and can blow open holes. He’s not a “lead foot” either, turning in 4.6 speed.

Ole Miss generally produces quality receivers, and this year is no different. Meridian’s Mario Hill is set to breakout. With his speed (high school track star) he can quickly ignite a defense, and he’s got the hands (all-SEC quality) to catch anything in his vicinity. Taye Biddle is the premier big-play threat with his tremendous speed. Even faster, Mike Espy (4.31 40) proved his potential when he played under Manning, but saw his yards per catch drop drastically (9.5) a year ago. Look for a big year out of Larry Kendrick, too. His versatility has been praised by the new coaching staff, which lined him up both at WR and RB during the spring.

Tight End
In the past, Ole Miss has used its tight ends as blockers, but the new coaching staff wants them more involved. Lawrence Lilly and Jimmy Brooks both have exceptional size and are both accomplished blockers, but because the Rebels want some catches out of this position, Brooks will get the starting nod because he’s got better hands. With no TEs recruited in the last two years, this position’s fruition could be a work-in-progress deep into the fall, and therefore could be the weak link that marginalizes offensive production.

Offensive Line
Essentially, there’s one hole to fill here, the gaping hole right down the middle. The Rebels lost their center and both guards to the NFL. That’s a good sign the Rebels were doing things right, but it also means they’ve got their work cut out for them. Tony Bonds will adequately fill the center spot without much, if any, drop off there. But the guards are both presently listed as undeveloped sophs, so the learning curve kicks in right away. Both tackles – left side Bobby Harris and right side Tre’ Stallings – are similar in size, quickness and agility. They’ll be the anchors and will ease the growing pains early on. It won’t take long for the rest to come along, though. With the line so tentative, newbie “tackle” Mike Oher can work his way into the mix. With five guys at, or near, 300 pounds with good mobility at each spot, the Rebels will duplicate last year’s production on the ground (4.0 yards per carry).

The Rebels are in better shape than many will lead you to believe. Despite coming off a year in which they were comparatively dismal in moving the ball (77th in total offense) and atrocious in scoring (103rd), they have great athletes at all the skill positions, so (once the offensive line jells,) things will progress. Not to Eli-Manning-in-his-heyday-status, but much better than last year. Accordingly, whichever QB plays is past any “transition period” and can redefine the Rebels with a new image. With a pair of talented backs behind them and a host of quality of receivers, the Rebels will again sneak up on overlooking foes with a balanced attack.


OT Tre' Stallings


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Micheal Spurlock-Sr (5-11, 200) Ethan Flatt-Jr (6-6, 218)
Robert Lane-So (6-3, 225)
FB Jason Cook-Fr (6-0, 230) Brandon Jacobs-Sr (6-1, 235)
RB Jamal Pittman-Jr (6-2, 240) Alan Abrams-So (6-0, 205)
WR Mario Hill-Sr (6-1, 195) Carlos Suggs-So (6-5, 200)
WR Mike Espy-Sr (6-0, 195) Taye Biddle-Sr (6-1, 175)
Larry Kendrick-Sr (6-0, 210)
TE Jimmy Brooks-Sr (6-4, 270) Lawrence Lilly-Jr (6-4, 275)
OT Bobby Harris-Sr (6-4, 310) David Traxler-Fr (6-6, 292)
OG Darryl Harris-So (6-3, 285) Ryan Jones-Sr (6-4, 310)
C Tony Bonds-Sr (6-4, 308) Ben Boyce-Jr (6-2, 300)
OG Thomas Eckers-So (6-2, 290) Andrew Wicker-Jr (6-5, 290)
OT Tre' Stallings-Sr (6-4, 317) Marcus Cohen-So (6-5, 290)
K Will Moseley-Jr (6-2, 189) Hunter Bray-Jr (6-1, 200)



Defensive Line
A year ago, the Rebels struggled mightily against the run (4.5 ypc allowed). Now, they have some continuity, as three of the four starters return. McKinley Boykin is a big body that can plug holes, and in 2004, he finally showed he can contribute on the pass rush. Boykin sat out of spring ball (knee), but is expected to be strong come September. Boykin and Michael Bozeman are both big, quick linemen. True frosh (and No.3 tackle) recruit Jerrell Powe is 350+ and runs a 4.8-second 40, so he and (last year’s four-star find) Chris Herring give the Rebs (just about) the deepest interior in the SEC. Jayme Mitchell hasn’t provided the type of pass rush you’d expect from an end, but he does use his size and strength effectively against the run. Oddly, the pass rush will come from the only inexperienced player on the line – RS freshman Chris Bowers. Built with linebacker size and mobility, he can keep ball-carriers from heading outside. As a unit, the line will be better than a year ago, but it’s still not great.

Not a single starter back actually means that this is going to be a strength. Middle backer Patrick Willis earned HM all-SEC honors with his exceptional speed (4.46), as he displayed in making big plays. Former- (starting) strong safety Kellin Robinson has moved to the weakside spot, a more natural place since his strength is in stopping the run. Robinson is small, but a punishing hitter who also presents matchup problems in pass coverage against tight ends and backs. The other starter, surprisingly, is Dontae Reed. Also undersized, Reed had an incredible spring practice to vault from a sure back-up to the starter. The crew averages only 220+, so group tackling and speed to the ball will make strong running games their toughest to stop.

Defensive Back
Travis Johnson (all-SEC) continues to make quarterbacks curse when they throw his way (six INT, 31 break-ups the last two years). He’s as good of a technical “cover” corner as you’ll find, although a blazing receiver could beat him deep. Trumaine McBride feeds off Johnson’s wake (as they throw McBride’s way more) and has become a decent corner in his own right. McBride relies on his speed (4.41 40), but he’s also honed his instincts to make it a toss up (for opposing QBs/OCs) as to which side to throw. Free safety Charles Clark will fly to wherever the ball goes (team leader in tackles). New strong safety Jamarca Sanford has cornerback speed (4.43 40) and linebacker toughness. This unit is strong, and can make foes simplify their game plans (to run it more often) quickly. Helping the LBs in run-support should be their only extra-curricular need, so expect much by midseason as the back-seven solidifies.

Other than giving up too many big plays on the ground, the Rebels had a decent effort here. Orgeron takes over the DC duties and his first order of business was to scrap the old 4-2-5 alignment in favor of a more traditional 4-3. That will put the Rebels in better position to stop the run, which is priority No. 1. The defensive line has to make more plays, but the athletes are there, especially inside. The linebacker-turnover means the front seven will again be stout. Most of the secondary is back, and they’ll only get better. With a new system and good athletes across the board, watch Ole Miss stay competitive in those lower scoring tilts that they lost in the recent past.


DT McKinley Boykin


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Jayme Mitchell-Sr (6-6, 285) Brandon Jenkins-So (6-5, 280)
DT McKinley Boykin-Sr (6-2, 285) Dedrick Clark-Jr (6-4, 286)
NT Michael Bozeman-Sr (6-2, 290) Jeremy Garrett-So (6-1, 270)
DE Chris Bowers-Fr (6-2, 231) Corvelli Haynes-Sr (6-3, 255)
SLB Dontae Reed-So (6-2, 200) Garry Pack-So (6-1, 220)
MLB Patrick Willis-Jr (6-2, 230) Marquis McBeath-So (6-0, 225)
WLB Kelvin Robinson-Sr (6-1, 220) Brandon Thomas-Fr (5-11, 240)
CB Travis Johnson-Sr (6-1, 191) Nate Banks-So (5-11, 180)
CB Trumaine McBride-Jr (5-10, 180) Dustin Mouzon-Fr (5-11, 170)
SS Jamarca Sanford-Fr (5-10, 200) Bryan Brown-Jr (5-9, 200)
FS Charles Clark-Jr (6-0, 195) Kareem Moore-So (5-11, 210)
P Hunter Bray-Jr (6-1, 200) Will Moseley-Jr (6-2, 189)




Will Moseley takes over (for Jonathan Nichols, 2003 Groza Award winner). He’s shown a decent leg up to about 40 yards. Beyond that, it’s a mystery (Google his name and see what you find). Returns will again be limited.

One positive is that the Rebels are pretty good at punt protection, as they hardly ever give up a block. However, neither candidate – Moseley nor Hunter Bray – has a booming leg. Bray will get the job, but it will be the team’s coverage that wins any field position battles.

Return Game
Mike Espy and Larry Kendrick will handle the punt return and kick return duties. Speed is not a problem, but one of them needs to be a threat on punt returns. Depth in the WR/DB ranks means there are many more candidates if these two cannot step up.