IPF Saves The Day

Once again, Rebel football had the benefit of the Indoor Practice Facility when rain swept through Oxford and Lafayette County. With the IPF, the show can still go on. Read about Ole Miss' practice inside.



Rebel Coach Hugh Freeze was itching to go outside when the Rebels resumed practice Tuesday.

This spring, he's been a bit spoiled as the weather has been as close to perfect as possible through seven practices in spring training.

But rain finally popped up today forcing the team inside for a high-energy, full-pad workout.

"It was a good call by (Trainer) Tim (Mullins) to come inside. I was arguing with him to go outside, but he was right and I was wrong," said Freeze. "The energy was really, really good in here (the IPF). Unfortunately, the offense didn't match the defense. It was great to see them run around and get some things done.

"I was pleased with their effort and what they got done today."

There was a little depth chart movement since Monday's practice session. Safety Denzel Nkemdiche was moved to Striker LB on defense, Justin Bell moved up to number one left guard, Aaron Morris slid out to left tackle and Emmanuel McCray switched from LT to RT, pushing Pierece Burton to the second team. Also, Tobias Singleton took some snaps at running back.

"We felt moving Denzel up would speed him up some and he wouldn't have to worry so much about covering in space," explained Freeze. "He did a good job on some zone blitzes getting into the backfield in a hurry. He made some great effort plays.

"We all know we are thin at running back. I asked Tobias if he could handle it and he said absolutely. I thought he looked pretty decent for someone who doesn't know what they are doing yet. He's got a little burst and will get more reps there.


Tobias Singleton
File Photo

"On the OL, the depth chart is etched in sand. Monday morning, Pierce didn't seem to like getting up early and it showed in how he played. We challenged him. He'll fight to get the job back."

At quarterback, Randall Mackey seemed to get more reps. By design?

"He was running with the twos and they moved the ball, extending their possessions and getting him more reps," explained Freeze. "He gave us a spark with some things he can do well.

"It's really hard for us to evaluate the QBs right now because we can't protect them. They better get the ball out of their hand after one- thousand-one or they are under pressure. Part of that is the defense is playing well, but some of that is us struggling up front on offense. We just have to continue to work and get it right."

Random Notes:

* Freeze praised sophomore DE C.J. Johnson after Tuesday's practice. "He's going to be special. I think Coach (Chris) Kiffin is going to take him and turn him into an NFL guy. He got hit in the head today and couldn't finish practice, but when I watch one-on-one, he's got a special burst. I'd like to see him gain some weight and get to 240-250, at least, but I'm very pleased with him."


C.J. Johnson
File Photo

* CB Wesley Pendleton, who had an interception and several back breakups, also caught Hugh's eye. "He's had the most consistent camp and it showed again today," said Freeze. "I love the energy Crime Dog (Coach Wesley McGriff) are bringing back there. They challenge us every day and Wesley has been one of the sparks in our secondary. Dehendret Collins has also done very well considering he hasn't been here very long."

* TB Jeff Scott (fever) did not practice again today, but is expected back for Thursday's practice. . . LB Rudy Wilson is out with an ankle injury. . . QB Zack Stoudt is having lower back issues and missed today after taking a shot to relieve the pain. . . DT Bryon Bennett (high ankle sprain) remains sidelined.

* With two safeties - Nkemdiche and Aaron Garbutt - being recently moved to Striker LB, it's apparent the coaches are trying to get more speed at certain positions. Last week, they also moved Charles Sawyer from corner to safety, another speed move.

* After Friday's scrimmage, Freeze mentioned Bell as one OL who had had a good practice. Tuesday, he was rewarded with a shot at the first team. We'll keep you posted on his progress.

* PK Bryson Rose was kicking 58-yard field goals prior to practice with ease, room to spare.

* WR Nicholas Brassell practiced for the second day in a row and again showed why he is one of the elite players on the Rebel squad.

* Singleton may not know where he's going, but he gets there in a hurry. At times, he looked like he was shot out of a cannon after taking the handoff. Obviously, he's got the wheels to help the tailback position after he learns a thing or two.

* One day you're the bug, the next day the windshield. Walk-on TB Jimmy Potepa got good early reviews from Monday's practice. Today, he fumbled on his first carry. After practice, RB Coach Derrick Nix was running him extra for the miscue. Windshield Monday, bug Tuesday.

* Safety Charles Sawyer seems to make at least one big play a day. Tuesday, he picked off another pass. It's gotten to where you expect something all the time with the junior playmaker, who led the Rebels in interceptions in 2011.

* The Rebels will take Wednesday off and resume practice at 5:30 Thursday morning, if plans don't change. Then, they will take the weekend off for the Easter holidays.


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