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Ole Miss' offensive line is a sore spot

There's hope and optimism around Ole Miss these days. Laquon Treadwell is inching closer to 100 percent. Chad Kelly streak of staying out of the news has reached the 100-day mark. And the defense is stacked with talent with future pros like Robert Nkemdiche and Tony Conner.

Like a handful of programs in the SEC, there's a real sense of confidence that 2015 could be the year the Rebels break through and make it to Atlanta for the conference title game.

But the injury report is putting a damper on all that this spring. Because the offensive line is nowhere near ready. The one unit that arguably needed the most work (only Tennessee allowed more sacks last season than Ole Miss' 31) can't seem to keep anyone on the field.

According to Hugh Kellenberger of The Clarion-Ledger, there were a total of 10 offensive linemen at a recent practice. One of those was former quarterback Jeremy Liggins, and another was tackle Christian Morris, who is battling the injury bug himself.

Without Laremy Tunsil, Aaron Morris and Robert Conyers -- not to mention Daronte Bouldin, Davion Johnson, Sean Rawlings and Talbot Buys -- how can Hugh Freeze expect to move the offense forward? The line can't get any better, but there's also a trickle-down effect that disrupts the chemistry of the quarterbacks, receivers and running backs.

Here's more on the offensive line's woes from The Clarion-Ledger:

"It’s not for lack of trying -- Ole Miss has signed 12 offensive linemen in the last three seasons (one of the newest ones, Javon Patterson, is already on campus). But one of the guys expected to start by now, Austin Golson, bolted last year for Auburn (where he supposedly was going to play tackle but is instead playing center ... life is funny like that sometimes). And Drew Richmond was supposed to be a 13th offensive linemen signee, only he flipped to Tennessee on National Signing Day. Not only did losing Richmond hurt, there were guys Ole Miss could have pursued and signed had it known it was losing him sooner.

"The only way Ole Miss is going to get to the top of the SEC in sacks allowed is to continue to recruit, sign and develop loads of offensive linemen. That takes patience. In the meantime, it’s probably time to at least start looking differently up front.

"It was the fourth-biggest line in football last year -- college and NFL -- and it was supposed to be running an up-tempo offense. Freeze said the pace of play going way down was about helping the defense, but it also had to be at least a little bit about believing the 350-pound-plus guys were going to struggle moving that fast."