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Senior LB Terry Caldwell looks forward to helping anchor Rebels’ defense

Senior LB Terry Caldwell looks forward to helping anchor Rebels’ defense

OXFORD, MS – As one of the seniors on defense, linebacker Terry Caldwell is looking forward to the start of the Rebels’ 2016 season. And so far, the former Northwest Community College standout is making the best of his opportunity and is upbeat about what he brings to the Landshark defense.

It’s been fun to me. We come in here, some people might see the schedule that we have and say I don’t know how you guys do it. But it’s fun; we love the game. Of course, it’s tiring. But it’s all worth it in the end, especially with opening up against Florida State. That’s a great motivator.…

Linebacker Terry Caldwell

Caldwell played in every game last season with three starts at Mike linebacker. He made his debut for Ole Miss in the team’s season opener against UT-Martin, recording one tackle and a forced fumble. But Caldwell’s highlight moment came against Oklahoma State in the Allstate Sugar Bowl when he led Ole Miss with a season-high six tackles (five solo) and a forced fumble.

After losing C.J. Johnson, Denzel Nkemdiche, and Christian Russell, the Rebels will call upon Caldwell to anchor the Rebels’ defense, alongside Ole Miss’ returning leading tackler from 2015 DeMarquis Gates. Caldwell and Gates, who recorded 76 stops during the 2015 season, are the only returning linebackers for the Rebels who made a start last season and both could be switching between Mike and stinger.

“For the most part, I’ll be playing stinger, but I know both positions,” Caldwell said. “Me and DeMarquis Gates do know both positions. We’ll be rotating.”

But it will take more than just Caldwell and Gates to provide stability for a Rebels’ defense that ranked in the top three in the Southeastern Conference last season in tackles for loss (8.1 per game, 7th in the NCAA), interceptions (15, T-23rd in the NCAA), and takeaways (23, tied 38th in the NCAA).

The new kids on the block—defensive end Charles Wiley, defensive tackle Benito Jones, and safety Deontay Anderson—have impressed Caldwell as has the overall effort from the defense.

We are running fast to the ball, tackling a lot better and everybody is just getting on their assignments. We got a lot of young guys, especially in the secondary. Those guys are still learning, but we have 20 days to get those guys on the right track.

Terry Caldwell

Caldwell’s thoughts on Oregon State’s transfer Rommel Mageo

“He’s very determined,” Caldwell said. “He has his mind set that he wants to get a lot of reps on the field. He’s coming in watching film; he’s working hard in the weight room, on and off the field. He’s an all-around good guy. We’re glad to have him with this program.”

Other notes from Tuesday’s practice

Junior defensive back C.J. Moore had surgery this week to repair a torn pectoral muscle. There’s no timetable for his return.
Freshman defensive back Greg Eisworth is still dealing with a hamstring injury.

Wide receiver Markell Pack has had a pin put in his thumb. Pack is expected to be back in a 10-day period.

Defensive end Fadol Brown has made progress and he’s moving around better, according to Ole Miss head football coach Hugh Freeze. The staff is being patient with Brown, allowing him to participate in some one-on-ones and some individual drills.

Both Tony Conner and Robert Conyers participated in Tuesday’s first practice of the two-a-days, but neither participated in the day’s second practice.

(Feature image credit: Rebels247)

About The Author

Courtney Smith

Courtney is from Memphis and received his Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis in May of 2014. He began his journalism career covering the Memphis Tigers Men's basketball team, which landed him an intern position on 730 Yahoo Sports Radio and a position with A freelance writer for the Associated Press, Courtney is also a member of The Rebel Walk team and reports regularly on Ole Miss football and basketball. Courtney, the father of a six-year old girl named Soniyah, prefers to cover NCAA basketball and football, but is happy to report on any other sport that comes his way.

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