January 30, 2007

McCluster looks to return to form

Dexter McCluster started off the 2006 season as Brent Schaeffer's favorite target and an overall difference maker for the Rebels.

In his Ole Miss debut he accumulated 268 all purpose yards, good for No. 4 all time at Ole Miss, and he caught six passes for 86 yards.

The solid start got Rebel fans excited, but McCluster would go on to catch only nine more passes as injuries hampered him the rest of the way. The biggest setback was a stinger he suffered in the fifth game of the year on a kick off return against Georgia that costed him most of the season.

"I still continue to do rehab even though I'm alright, just to keep my strength up," McCluster said. "And I'll be ready once spring starts."

"I didn't know the season was going to turn out like that. For me to come in and have an impact like that. But you're gonna get hurt in football regardless. When you fall you gotta get up. It's gonna be a big challenge for me to get out there and get back on the field when I haven't been out there. But I'm gonna go back out there and continue what I've been doing."

McCluster might be happiest player on the team to start spring drills up. The 5-foot-9 170 pound receiver, along with his teammates have had perfect attendance at voluntary workouts. The quarterbacks receivers and defensive backs get together and challenge each other in offense vs. defense drills.

McCluster enjoys a little trash talking at the voluntary sessions.

"We getting it down right now, it's to get each other better," McCluster said. "If you don't have that (trash talking), you really don't have nothing. You gotta have the intensity. It makes you focus a lot more when someone is talking to you. When you do something good, it's good to talk to get them down.

"You try to get them down but hopefully to build them up. It's a team so everybody's on the same page."

The perfect attendance by his fellow receivers at the early voluntary workouts is what has McCluster the most excited.

"We all got a real close friendship. We're all showing up to 1-on-1 drills and everybody is working hard with the quarterbacks," McCluster said. "And that's a good sign right there, because you know it's not mandatory and you're kind of wondering whose gonna show up but everybody's been showing up."

McCluster believes that even the drills at the start of the offseason are key for the Rebels to turnaround from last year's 4-8 mark. Each individual must get better.

"This whole off season, I've just focused on getting better in the little areas that I need to and for the team the goal is to win games," McCluster said. "My goal is to get better and work harder than last year, because I know I could've worked a little harder and just get a little motivation to build me up and keep going."

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