'It was OK'

Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze was not disappointed in Sunday's practice session, the Rebs' first in full pads, but he wasn't doing cartwheels either. It was just OK, he said.

Not every practice can be characterized as good or bad.

Some are good enough or not bad. OK. And OK was good enough for Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze on the Rebels' first day of pads on a bright Sunday afternoon.

"For the third straight day out here at the pace we have been going, it was OK," said Freeze. "I don't think it was as good as the first two days. Maybe it was because this is the third straight day at a different pace than they are used to. Maybe it was because we are in full pads and they are adjusting to the extra weight.

"I hate to go three days straight in the spring, but with our academic situation, we felt it was necessary."

There were a couple of areas that pleased Freeze quite a bit.

"Rebel Drill was great," said Hugh. "I thought there was good energy, it was physical, fast and tough. Then we had a little lull, but defense won the competition today.

"As I said yesterday, our offensive line is still swimming a bit, so that gives the defense the edge. I still see a lot of smiling faces and I think it was a productive day. Again, it was OK."

(The Rebel Drill: three down blockers, three defenders, one ballcarrier in a five yard swath of turf. Three downs to get a first down - best unit wins. Three groups - big guys vs. big guys, LB/TE types, skill players. Tough, physical drill.)

On the defense, Hugh elaborated a bit more.

"They lined up in some odd stack stuff we haven't worked on yet and they don't stay there very long," Hugh smiled. "Dave (Wommack) has a good system and his guys are playing hard. It caused us some mental mistakes and gave the defense an edge. I thought they ran around well and was impressive.

Philander Moore
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"We did have a few decent runs, but we have to get our backs finishing runs a little better, not getting tackled by the first defender."

The Rebels are continuing on the path of getting everyone reps, almost equal reps, so the staff can get a full evaluation of every player out there.

"We will do that for a week-and-a-half or so, but then we will start honing things down," he stated. "It's like quarterback. We are getting six or seven guys reps. Pretty soon we will have to hone that down. Right now, it looks like Barry Brunetti and Bo Wallace are a little ahead of the pack, but that could change."

Freeze was asked specifically about Tight End Jamal Mosley and the role he could have.

"He's a guy we have to use as much as we can in as many spots as we can. Jamal has an NFL body and could be huge in our scheme. We want to flex him out, match him up in space and he's big enough to do all the inside stuff as well. He matches up with what we want to do in our system."

Any surprises for Freeze thus far?

"Probably the receivers on the offensive side of the ball. Tobias Singleton had a better day, Korvic Neat and Philander Moore continued to show up, and Donte Moncrief works hard and produces every day. Nick Parker is also a guy who has been a pleasant surprise - if he can lose a little more weight, he's going to help us in the backfield," said Hugh. "I probably am not giving justice to some of the defensive guys because my attention is more on offense, but I am sure Coach Wommack has some guys doing well."

With one-fifth of the spring practices now completed, what's the bottom line?

"I couldn't be more pleased with the first two days. Today, not so much, but the effort has been good all three days," he assessed.

Random Notes:

Mixing It Up
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* With pads come injuries. Today, DT Bryon Bennett left practice with a high ankle sprain, but the MRI was negative - no broken bones. . . . MLB Mike Marry tweaked a hamstring and was held out of most of the practice. . . DE C.J. Johnson injured his hand and missed the last half of practice. No word on how much time any of those injuries will cost those three.

* Another "injury" happened Saturday. When Pierce Burton and Marry got into an altercation, LB Coach Tom Allen got in the mix of trying to break it up and was hit in the mouth by a helmet. One tooth was knocked out, the other broken off near the gum. He will have oral surgery Wednesday. He did not let that slow him down, however, as he finished practice Saturday and coached the LBs Sunday in practice.

* The Rebs fielded some punts and kickoffs briefly at the start of practice. At PR, of course, there was Jeff Scott and Philander Moore along with Neat and Ja-Mes Logan. At KOR, Chief Brown, Terrell Grant, Wesley Pendleton and Frank Craword were catching the most kicks.

* Signees Channing Ward and Isaac Gross were at practice today. Gross has been to all three practices. This was Ward's first. He said he will attend more this spring.

* Right now, the number one secondary consists of CBs Wesley Pendleton and Charles Sawyer, FS Cody Prewitt/Aaron Garbutt, Rover Chief Brown and Husky Brishen Mathews.

* As we reported Friday, music plays throughout practice on four JBL Studio Monitor speakers. Friday it was Classis Rock, Saturday it was a 70s theme. Sunday, inspirational music mixed with contemporary Christian genre.

* With the defense having the edge Sunday, it was difficult to get a read on the quarterbacks, They didn't have a lot of time to throw and didn't have many open receivers to throw to. Throwing under fire - with DT Uriah Grant and DE Gerald Rivers each getting a QB sack and several hurries forced by the front seven.

* Pendleton had a pick six on an errant out pass, timing it perfectly and taking it to the house.

* The offensive line and defensive number ones have not changed through three days of practice. On offense, LT Aaron Morris, LG Patrick Junen, C Evan Swindall, RG A.J. Hawkins and RT Pierce Burton. On the DL, it's Bandit Gerald Rivers, DTs Uriah Grant and Bryon Bennett and End Jason Jones,

* Freeze discussed all the different looks the defense was giving the offense, causing some confusion right now. Sophomore FS Cody Prewitt says it's a system that isn't hard to learn, despite the multiple looks. "It seemed overwhelming when it was being explained to us, but once you learn it, it all makes sense and flows," said Prewitt. "Once you get your call, that's it. We have some wiggle room to react to something we see without having to wait on another call. As long as we communicate with each other, we can make adjustments on the move. I think once we get it all down, it's going to be easier and we are going to be able to play more relaxed without having to think as much."

* The Rebels will not practice Monday.

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