I'm not sure if defensive end Marquis Haynes skipped breakfast the morning he had this interview with Ben Garrett of the Spirit, but he sure sounds hungry.
"After you get your first sack, you're challenging yourself to get more and more and more," he said. "It's like eating cereal. You can't stop. You gotta keep going."
It sounds like he should be eating more: after playing his freshman season at 215-220, he's currently 225, which is 15 pounds lighter than his offseason goal of 240. We've heard a lot about the coaches wanting him to become more than just a pass-rushing specialist, but it's gonna be tough to keep a guy that small on the field for running downs (especially with 279-pound Channing Ward available). As good of an edge rusher as Haynes is, an inability to hold up against the power run really limited his impact last season, when he had a combined four tackles and zero sacks in three games against ground-heavy Bama, LSU and Arkansas.
With that said, he told The Spirit that he's "solid muscle, all strong in the legs and arms." I'd rather him pack on lean muscle than the alternative.
Markell Pack is "maturing nicely"
Hugh Freeze seems pretty high on his second-year wideout:
"It's amazing the maturity difference in a freshman (versus) a sophomore," Freeze told The Clarion-Ledger. "I mean, just talking to him now, you're talking to a different guy. I keep saying the word mature with him, but he really is maturing nicely. He's made some nice, challenging catches in camp. I like what I'm seeing."
At 6'2, 193, Pack certainly has the physical tools to be an impact receiver. It looks like the WR2 spot is probably going to come down to Cody Core or Damore'ea Stringfellow, but Pack could push Quincy Adeboyejo for time in the slot. His 14 catches for 173 yards last season aren't all that impressive, but his production was trending up towards the end of the schedule.
"In spring (camp), I just remember feeling really good," Pack told the CL. "Like, ‘OK, I can do this. I know how to do it,'" Pack said. "That's when it really started to slow down for me. Like, the game seems to come much easier."
Chief Brown says he'll back up all 3 safety spots
Chief, who's finally fully healthy after missing the first half of last season, told the Spirit that he's been working at free safety, rover (what Ole Miss calls its strong safety) and husky (the nickel/safety hybrid that Tony Conner holds down).
"It's been hard. There's a lot to learn, but I have played all three in the past. I'm more comfortable at free and Rover because I have played there more during my career, but I'm getting more comfortable at Husky daily," said Brown. "I expect to play more Husky and Rover during the season."
That versatility makes an already absurdly deep secondary even deeper. Chief only had two tackles in the five games he played last year, but that was after he rushed back from an ACL tear to play the back stretch of the schedule. Fully healthy, he could be back to being the solid contributor he was in 2013, when he notched 38 tackles and a pick.