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Burton seeing improvement in offensive line

Ole Miss junior tackle Pierce Burton joined the Rebel football team in January after playing at both City College of San Francisco and San Jose State. On the year, Burton has played in all eight games and will now face arguably his hardest test in Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones, who leads the SEC in sacks.
Austin McAfee/The Daily Mississippian

 
The Ole Miss offensive line has come a long way since first-year head coach Hugh Freeze and his staff have installed their new offense. In fact, many of the Rebel players have been surprised by the success on offense so far this season.
 
“At the beginning of the season, some guys were almost surprised to be winning,” junior offensive tackle Pierce Burton said. “We were up against (Texas) A&M, and you could kind of sense on the sideline that guys were like, ‘Wow we are actually winning this game.’ I didn’t think they were really used to it, but now it is almost expected.”
 
A lot has been said already about the job that head coach Hugh Freeze has done in his short time at the helm, and Freeze was one of the main reasons Burton chose to come to Ole Miss after stints at San Jose State and City College of San Francisco.
 
“I’ve kind of always really respected Coach Freeze,” he said. “That is part of the reason I came here.”
 
Burton said he believes that the success Freeze has had this year is due to the high expectations he has for his team, despite the previous attitude that surrounded the team. 
 
“I think it is because (of) how hard he pushes us,” he said. “If you expect great things out of someone, that’s what’s going to happen, and I think he expects us all to perform and do our best.”
 
Burton will be tasked with blocking Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, who leads the SEC with seven sacks and is tied for 12th in the conference with 41 tackles. This past season, after transferring from Southern Cal, he earned First Team All-American honors as he recorded 13.5 sacks and 70 tackles.
 
“He’s a great player, give credit to him,” he said. “He is really fast. It looks like he has added some muscle from last year, and their defensive scheme really allows him to get loose, and I think the coaches are giving us a really good game plan on how to deal with him.”
 
The game plan will be a tough one, but Burton said he feels he knows how he will have success against Jones.
 
“I think I have to be patient and not lunge at him and kind of just sit back in my stance,” he said. “If I’m patient, I think I have pretty good feet to stay with him. My problem is when I lunge at him or something like that and really let him get me off balance.”
 
The Ole Miss offensive line has improved from week to week, and Burton credits some of that to the Rebels’ preseason ranking.
 
“I think we really took it personal, as far as us being ranked last in the SEC preseason,” Burton said. “Coaches showed us that. I took it as disrespect, and a lot of other guys did. We’re really working to be recognized as one of the better offensive lines.”
 
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