Ole Miss players not distracted by NCAA allegations, focus on upcoming season

HOOVER, AL—Ole Miss senior football players tight end Evan Engram, defensive lineman DJ Jones, and quarterback Chad Kelly represented the Rebs at the SEC Media Days event in Hoover, Alabama ThursdayInline image 1

While the event provided insight to the season ahead, Evan Engram was questioned on if the team is distracted by recent allegations made toward the football program by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). 

“As a team, we’ve been taught to prepare and live inside out,” said Engram. “We don’t worry about outside talks and matters, we have people to take care of that.” 

Engram added, “We show up to work each and every day, trying to get better…so all that outside stuff, we’re not paying attention to it and we’re definitely not letting it distract us.” 

Distraction is not welcomed, especially with the season starting on the road against Florida State University onSeptember 5. 

“It’s going to be huge,” said Kelly. “They’ve had some great years, and in order to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best… they’ve got some great players on defensive, their offensive is pretty good, too. We’ve just got to make sure we score more points than they do.” 

While the upcoming gridiron battle against Florida State is considered a tough match-up for a first game, the Rebs are the only team in the country right now that has beat Alabama two years back to back. 

“It comes down to execution during the game,” said Kelly. “We just end up having better execution that they do, and it starts with practice.” 

Kelly added that being the top quarterback in the top college football league is a dream come true, and he’s working with the new guys, specifically freshman quarterback Shae Patterson, on the team. 

“Well I definitely think our backup quarterbacks are well prepared. They have been prepared,” said Kelly. “They have been put in certain situations through the spring that they will be ready to go.  Heaven forbid that something like that happens but I think that a lot of those guys that are willing to step up can make plays.”

DJ Jones said the coaching staff is making sure that they bring the same focus and intensity in every game, and not just the big ones. 

“They’ve put it on us that every year, we’re going to work hard,” said Jones. “They’ve instilled in us that every day and every game, we’re going to go out and play it like an Alabama game. Every game is a good game.”

 

The Rebels will take on Florida State University on neutral ground in Orlando on September 5th.