Confidence growing

Rarely will you hear a player in any program say that he and his teammates lack the confidence to win.

Sometimes you need an outsider’s perspective for that, and that’s what Pierce Burton brings. The junior college transfer, who has started every game this season at right tackle, wasn’t a part of the last two Ole Miss teams that went a combined 6-18 and set the program on a 16-game SEC losing streak.

Burton has been part of the team that ended that streak and has now won its last two in the conference. He experienced winning in high school and — after spending his true freshman and redshirt freshman season at San Jose State — again last year in helping City College of San Francisco to a 12-0 mark and the California community college state championship.

Burton sensed a lack of confidence in his teammates early but says that’s changed.

“At the beginning of the season some guys were almost surprised to be winning. We were up against A&M, and you could kind of sense on the sidelines that guys were like, ‘Wow, we’re actually really winning this game.’ I didn’t think they were really used to it, but now it’s almost expected.”

Prior to the Texas A&M game Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze talked about getting to the fourth quarter in SEC games with a win in reach — then actually making the plays to win the game — as separate and distinct goals.

The Rebels, who take on No. 7 Georgia Saturday afternoon at 2:30 at Sanford Stadium in Athens, accomplished one of those goals against the Aggies. They accomplished both of those goals against Auburn then again against Arkansas on the road.

Burton saw a big difference in his teammates by the time they reached Little Rock.

“On that last drive of the Arkansas game, everyone was saying, ‘They can’t stop us. It’s our game to lose. Let’s go down there and get a field goal or a touchdown to win it.’”

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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