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November 21, 2007

Rebel receivers ooze personality

Off the field, it's a fun group to be around.

Inside the team meeting room, Mike Wallace starts his interview by talking about Marshay Green.

"He's pretty bad," Wallace said in a perfect deadpan. "I don't like him, personally."

Green, not to be outdone, begins his interview with the same playful ribbing.

"He's overrated," Green said. "He's selfish. He's cold."

Green takes things a step further, questioning one of the most sacred skills a male college student possesses - his video game skills.

"We're highly competitive player. Mike and I will compete in anything we do, Madden or whatever," Green said. "I am (the best). That's how you know I'm the best; I'll play with anyone. He plays with the Patriots, and I still beat him."

Confidence isn't in short supply with this group.

"I score touchdowns," Green said. "It's what I do."

To be a receiver at Ole Miss right now, you've got to have a thick skin off the field.

When the players aren't dogging each other about their off-field performances, they're riding each other for their on-field success.

Wallace said the receivers lost one of their easiest targets when Green broke out of a slump for a 44-yard punt return for his first touchdown of the season.

"We've been on him the whole time - all the receivers who scored touchdowns," Wallace said. "Marshay finally got one, and we can't talk about him anymore. We had to get him until he got one."

It's an attitude that carries over to practice as well.

Tuesday as the Rebels worked out inside of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, there was more of the same playful teasing.

There was Michael Hicks making a one-handed catch on a ball that came screaming out of a JUGS machine. After the catch, Hicks stood in a brief pose, mugging to his fellow receivers.

When one receiver drops a pass, everyone else hollers. And receivers coach Hugh Freeze is right in the middle of it.

Ole Miss head coach Ed Orgeron notices all of this and wants to see more of it.

"Last year was the first time they all played. Now, they have the confidence and you can see it," Orgeron said. "You like to see your players like that. I like to see coaches like that - that can go out on the field and interact with players and not be nervous about practicing."

"They're comfortable that they can let loose and still do their job. I think that's when people perform at their best."

It's a confidence that shows in how they play and in how they answer questions.

CBS broadcaster Gary Danielson said the Ole Miss receivers are legit, and a reporter asked Shay Hodge what he thought about the question.

In a moment of total honesty, Hodge confidently half-shrugged.

"Well," he said, "I think we are legit."


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