March 9, 2009

Senior linebacker has big goals for 2009

Patrick Trahan has been at Ole Miss for less than a year.

He's played 13 games in an Ole Miss uniform, including a start against Texas Tech in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic.

However, the soft-spoken New Orleans native is being asked to become one of the leaders of the 2009 Rebels. After spending two seasons at Auburn and one at Northwest (Miss.) Community College, the senior linebacker has a big role on a team that plans to vie for a championship.

"I've been in college now a long time, so I think I'm ready for it," Trahan said. "I like to be a leader by my actions and with me not being here that long, everybody can respect me just setting an example. I think players on the team respect my playing experience from other schools and it's just the knowledge of the game that I bring to the table. I think that goes a long way toward establishing myself as a leader on the team."

Trahan might not say much, but when he does speak these days, he's talking big.

"We're trying to go all the way, said Trahan, who recorded 29 tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble and one safety last season. "Last year, I think we were capable of going all the way but we just weren't sure and we didn't buy into it until the end of the season. I think we know what we have to do and everybody believes and that's why we are where we are."

Trahan, who played last season at 230-232 pounds, is up to 240 in advance of spring practices, which begin on March 26 and conclude with the April 18 Grove Bowl game at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. When he first reported to Ole Miss last August, he arrived out of shape and struggled to learn the defense while improving his conditioning. That shouldn't be a problem getting ready for the upcoming season.

"I got in the weight room three times a week during the season but I couldn't get in there like I wanted to because of fatigue during the season," Trahan said. "Now I can get in there and be a gym rat and do everything I can.

"I think this year, everything's going to be good. I know the defense like the back of my hand. I'm in great shape. It's probably the best shape I've ever been in, so it's only going to get better and the spring is going to be a taste of the fall."

Trahan will be a part of one of the strengths of the Ole Miss team. The Rebels return starters Allen Walker and Jonathan Cornell at linebacker. Lamar Brumfield got significant playing time last season, and Ole Miss defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix is very high on freshmen Jason Jones and Lekenwic Haynes. All of that experience, Trahan said, should make for a fall of making plays. First, however, Trahan plans to return to the basics for a few weeks.

"Coach Nix wants us to work on our fundamentals (in the spring), so I have to go back to my elementary game and get everything straight," Trahan said. "Then I think I can go from there."

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