January 28, 2008

Dameron glad to see Rebel staff on board

When Ole Miss assistant coach Kim Dameron saw them, he had to smile.

For weeks, he'd been one of the lone faces of the Ole Miss football program. Along with Ron Dickerson Jr., Dameron had come to Oxford from Louisiana-Monroe.

He reviewed film. He made visits. He worked the phones - and he waited.

And when the reinforcements arrived in early January, Dameron could exhale.

"It was extremely important when Ron Dickerson and I got here early to hold things together some," Dameron said. We were spread pretty thin for a couple of weeks, but at least we could get out on the road and hit as many of the commits. We could start to get to know people.

"It's a lot better now that we have the rest of us here."

With the entire staff now in place, Dameron, the Rebels' safeties coach, has been able to find more time to study the players already in place. Dameron said he began watching game film not long after the bulk of the staff arrived in Oxford.

"It's like anything; there's some good and some bad," he said. "They played pretty well at times. We've got some athletes to work with. I'm excited to be here and work with these guys.

"We definitely have some guys who can run a little bit and don't mind hitting you."

The Rebels return all of their safeties from last year's roster including senior-to-be Jamarca Sanford and promising newcomer Johnny Brown. Kendrick Lewis, who converted from wide receiver, also returns after his first full year on defense.

"We're starting to get an idea of what we have to work with," Dameron said. "We've got some guys who can be pretty good safeties."

Dameron will be joined in the secondary by recruiting coordinator Chris Vaughn, who will coach cornerbacks. Dameron coached Vaughn while he was a standout linebacker at Murray State.

"It's a unique thing for me. I coached Chris in college when he was a linebacker at Murray State," Dameron said. "He's an excellent football coach and an even better person. We get a long wonderfully.

"I've been saying 'He's a great kid' for years. He's not a kid anymore."

Dameron's also excited to work with Rebel defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix, who he's known since Nix's days as a graduate assistant at Southern Miss.

"I've known Tyrone a long time, and we tried to work together a couple of times and it didn't work out," Dameron said. "He's always struck me as a very hard worker and a guy with a great football mind. I've been very impressed being around him and with his thoughts on what direction he wants our defense to go."

The opportunities to work with Nix and Vaughn are only part of the reason why Dameron's so excited to be in Oxford. He can sense it immediately; the staff is going to work very well together.

"It's a very unique group," he said. "Everything that's chemistry oriented, it trickles down from the head coach. I mean, if you can't work for Houston Nutt…"

And Dameron knows Houston Nutt.

"We were raised the same way. My dad and Houston's dad used to play softball together," Dameron said. "It's a great feeling of trust and familiarity to one another.

"I'm not sitting around wondering what Houston's thinking; I've got a pretty good idea."

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