HOOVER, Ala. — Ole Miss offensive lineman Alex Givens is one of the oldest and most experienced players on the offense. Because of that, he’s taken a leadership role on the team and is there to help the younger players.
The senior has appeared on the Rebel line in 34 games since 2016 and, besides Ben Brown, is the only battle-tested big man up front.
“I’ve been more vocal,” Givens said. “I’m trying to talk with people more, teach them more, help the younger players out with their technique and stuff. It’s been a little bit of a challenge but it’s been awesome.”
It’s no secret that Ole Miss has a young team, but he doesn’t feel that age and inexperience will be an issue for the Rebels this year.
“I think it doesn’t really matter what year you are as long as you step up,” Givens said. “We’ve got a lot of athletic people and we have a lot of depth now. We have all our scholarships back. They’ve done a really good job recruiting so we’re really excited about everyone.”
The Rebels lost three big stars on the offensive line this year, Greg Little, Sean Rawlings and Javon Patterson. Givens and Ben Brown are the only two returning linemen with significant experience as both started all 12 games last season. Besides being a leader off the field, Givens will also have to step up during games and be an anchor on the offense.
“I’m going to go out there and do the best I can every game,” he said. “I need to focus and study film harder than I ever have this season. This year is going to be big for me.”
A common theme from the Rebels in Hoover is how well Rich Rodriguez has fit with the team so far. Givens said the whole team is getting comfortable with Rodriguez’s style offense and can’t wait to see it play out in the season.
The fact that this season is Givens’ last chance at making it to a bowl game as a Rebel is not lost on him.
“Week in and week out, just going out there and grind it out,” Givens said. “Do everything you can to win that week, and don’t focus too much on the future. That’s probably the biggest thing. Everything starts to come together when you do that and do the little things right.”
Givens says they will take the season one game at a time, trying not to put too much focus on making it to the postseason.
“Coach (Matt) Luke is a great motivator,” Givens said. “He helped us play for each other instead of for games and bowl games and really kept this program together for the past three years, but now we have a bowl game to play for so it’s going to be even scarier for other teams.”