Ole Miss Coach Ed Orgeron respects LSU, the Rebs' opponent Saturday in Baton Rouge. Orgeron believes…
Mico McSwain -
He's played in the secondary and last year set a freshman rushing record at Ole Miss at tailback.
Mico started this season as the backup tailback to BenJarvus Green-Ellis and didn't really see much action due to Ben's success.
After Dexter McCluster got hurt on the opening kickoff return against Vanderbilt, Mico took over that spot and produced two or three big plays.
The coaches decided they needed him on the field in some capacity. Presto-chango, Mico was worked in at wide receiver where he scored on a reverse against Auburn on the opening drive of that close contest.
"Mico is a talented athlete who can do it all, but we haven't been able to work him in as much as we wanted to," said Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner. "We started working him some at wide receiver just to get him on the field more because he wasn't getting many opportunities. We set up some specific plays for him and have taken it slowly, but it's apparent he's a playmaker.
"BenJarvus and Bruce (Hall) have been doing so well at tailback that it limited his touches, so we've been working on other ways to get Mico the ball."
Guess what? Mico doesn't care where he plays. His only goal is to be on the field.
"I've had an up and down year," said McSwain, "but all I want to do is help the team any way I can. I don't care where the coaches put me, I just want to play and help us win.
"I believe I can make plays with the ball in my hands. Kickoff return, wideout, tailback. Man, the coaches can put me at tight end and I'll give it a try. I just want to be on the field."
Mico said it gets to him when he's not playing.
"I have to be careful not to hang my head on the sidelines. I don't hide my emotions very well and I want to play badly," he explained. "But I don't want to whine or anything like that because that hurts the team."
Versatility has been both a blessing and a curse for Mico.
"Being versatile has given me the opportunity to do a lot of different things, but sometimes I think it hasn't allowed me to settle in to one position," he continued. "It's a double-edge sword.
"I'd like to settle in, but I feel I can help the team from a lot of different angles. I really don't have a preference either, which may be part of my problem. My focus is on helping the team, not where I play, so maybe that's held me back from being real good at one position versus just being good at several. I like all the positions I have been playing."
McSwain is learning the wideout positions in Werner's system after spending 10 weeks trying to break into the lineup at tailback.
"BenJarvus suits this offense at tailback. I tried to learn to be an inside runner, and I've gotten better at it, but Ben and Bruce are both better inside runners than I am, or have been," he explained. "I understood why they were ahead of me.
"Now, though, I feel like I'm getting a second chance, in a way, at wide receiver, in the slot, in kickoff return and sometimes at tailback. I figure the more positions I know, the more chances I'll get."
The season has been up and down for Mico, and it has been the same for the team, now lodged at 3-7 headed into the final two games.
Mico said it's very important for the Rebs to win the last two.
"It shouldn't matter to any of us what our record is now. That's in the past. We've got two more games and we will do everything we can to win them. That's the only way to look at it," he stated. "That's how the team is approaching the last two."
Mico believes the approach the team has to take is looking at the last two games as redemption and as their "bowl game."
"You might as well say the last two are our bowl games. We have a chance to end the season on a good note and build from there. The season has not been what we hoped for or worked for, but we can salvage something out of it the last two games and we can send a message that we will have to be dealt with in 2007," he explained.
Mico missed the Egg Bowl last year - he was injured, but he's aching to play against LSU and MSU this year.
"I think Brent (Schaeffer) and I are real close to being a good combination in the passing game. We were a fingertip away from making some plays in the Northwestern State game. We are getting our timing down. It's just a matter of time," Mico noted. "I'm pretty comfortable with the wide receiver position now. I'm about 70% with the different things I'm supposed to do at WR.
"I've got to hone my blocking skills and learn more about coverages, but I'm getting there."
Mico hopes to "break out" in the last two games, beginning with his first journey into Death Valley this Saturday night.
"I've always heard about the mystique and the tradition in Baton Rouge on a Saturday night. We can't wait to experience the whole atmosphere," he ended. "It should be a war."
And no matter where he plays, Mico wants to be a part of it.
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