Treadwell is happy to be back and is being patient with the process
Ole Miss junior wide receiver Laquon Treadwell didn’t care if he had the most receptions and receiving yards in week one of the 2015-16 college football season. He was just excited for the opportunity to play another game for the Rebels.
Treadwell was also happy about getting tackled and bouncing back up to play another down.
Though his offensive rhythm wasn’t quite where it was before the leg injury he suffered in his team’s 35-31 heartbreaking loss to Auburn last season, Treadwell was not at all bothered and knows the timing will come.
Before the gruesome leg injury against the Tigers, Treadwell was on pace for a 1,000-yard receiving season. Against then-No. 3 ranked Auburn, Treadwell had 10 catches for 103 yards and one score. In 2014, Treadwell caught 48 catches for 632 yards and five touchdowns.
Heading into the season opener, Treadwell expected his sharpness on routes to be off a little since head football coach Hugh Freeze limited his live reps during fall camp. Freeze limited Treadwell’s contact so the coveted receiver could enter the 2015 season at full-strength.
“I probably have done Laquon an injustice in preparing him because I have been a little bit protective with his injury,” Freeze said at the postgame press conference following his team’s 76-3 win over UT-Martin. “Now I think these first few games will help him get back in the flow. If he had insufficient play, it is my fault because we have not let him go against contact a lot.”
Treadwell is content with the support of his teammates, who said he looked better than ever before during the summer leading up to SEC Media Days in Hoover, Alabama. The great thing for Ole Miss (1-0) is Treadwell is not trying to force the issue out on the field.
“I threw off a lot of my timing today. I was doing a lot of thinking on the field,” Treadwell said. “Usually when you are thinking, you’re not playing fast, so being live, I just have to get used to it.”
In the Rebels’ 76-3 win over UT-Martin (0-1), Treadwell had four catches for 44 yards. After Chad Kelly threw a 10-yard dart to him that eventually led to Jaylen Walton’s 4-yard rushing touchdown, the home crowd gave the 6-foot-2, 210-pound receiver a standing ovation.
It was evident the 60,187 fans inside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on opening day dearly missed the preseason All-SEC First Team member. Treadwell didn’t realize the fans were cheering for him until one of the other receivers notified him.
“My teammate Quincy Adeboyejo told me I had a standing ovation and that was big time,” said Treadwell, who averaged 13.2 yards per catch in 2014. “I was really locked in on the game, so focused on the game that I didn’t pay attention to it.”
“It’s all a humbling experience; it’s a blessing to have that many supporters,” Treadwell continued. “So I just try to play my best and represent the team well.”
Treadwell is gradually allowing his body to get used to live-game action. He feels there’s plenty of time before the Rebels’ tough slate of games in the Southeastern Conference begin in week three with a trip to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Treadwell and the 17th-ranked Rebels face the No. 3-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (1-0) on September 19. The Tide defeated No. 20 Wisconsin (0-1) 35-17 Saturday night in the season opener.
“I think we will play enough; I think the game will be closer next week,” said Treadwell of next week’s home game against Fresno State. “So, we will see what this team is made of and we will go from there.”
(Feature image credit: Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics)