After a strong thunderstorm swept though Oxford early this morning, the Rebel football team was chased indoors for Friday's practice, a successful one, according to Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze. Read about it inside.

The plan for Friday's practice was for quite a bit of heavy hitting and live action.

That plan did not change drastically, even though heavy rains in Oxford early in the morning drove the practice inside the confines of the Indoor Practice Facility.

Just ask TB/KOR Jeff Scott. During a live kickoff return drill, Scott was leveled by scout team DT Tyler Gray on a clean, full-speed shot heard throughout the building.

Scott did not return to practice.

"We got after them pretty good today," said Coach Hugh Freeze. "We worked a lot of live special teams stuff today, mostly working on personnel transitions, making sure everyone is alert and on the field when they are supposed to be when it's time to punt or kickoff or whatever.

"We also had some good Red Ball work that was live. Both sides did some good things. It was nice to see the offense get an explosive play (a 45-yard TD pass from Barry Brunetti to Ja-Mes Logan). We have a lot of film we can do some more good teaching with."

During all team drills, the volume was turned up on the JBL stereo system with crowd noise and NASCAR noise piped in.

Channing Ward cleared
File Photo

"We are going to be playing in some loud stadiums this year and we need people who can keep their poise," noted Freeze. "Also, I don't want the players to be able to hear the coaches. We get in a bad habit in fall drills of directing them just before the snap. You can't do that as much during games. The players are on their own out there in games and those are the situations we want to put them in more and more as we get closer to the games."

The Rebs will have their second big scrimmage of the fall camp tomorrow in the stadium at 9:45 a.m.

Freeze will be looking for specific areas of improvement during the workout.

"We need fewer negative plays on offense for sure and we need better energy. Last Saturday, I didn't think our energy was great and we need it to be great," he continued. "Our energy has to be cranked up. We will go through our entire pregame tomorrow and that's important.

"We are going to go for about an hour-and-a-half. We'll do some live kickoff and special teams. We'll put the ball down all over the field and play and will go a lot of ones-on-ones."

Tomorrow's scrimmage officially ends fall camp - school starts Monday and the game week routine will be implemented starting Sunday. Has Freeze gotten what he has wanted out of fall camp?

"I think so. I wish we were healthier, but there are a lot of teams wishing that right now," he closed. "We are not the only ones going through that, so we can't feel sorry for ourselves. Of course I wish we had Charles Sawyer, Wesley Pendelton, Jeff Scott, Collins Moore, Cliff Coleman and one or two more healthy, but it is what it is and we have to keep pushing. Overall, the attitude and effort has been good. They've done what I asked and tried to win every day."

The Rebel staff will get into gameplanning for the opener next "Wednesday or Thursday."

Right after the post-practice interview with Freeze, it was learned that star recruit DE Channing Ward had finally been cleared to play by the NCAA. He will join the team in the morning, but will not be able to practice in pads until Tuesday (Monday will be the Rebs' regular, in-season day off required by the NCAA.)

Random Notes:

* It's pretty obvious that since Aaron Morris has been hurt - he's back now - Justin Bell has taken advantage of the extra reps he has gotten. "Justin will play. Aaron will play. Justin is one of our best eight and he will play. We will also look at both of them at right guard and get them some work there," said Freeze. Bell is a redshirt freshman.

* Another "young" player who has shown improvement this fall camp is DT Carlton Martin, who, for the last four days, has been running with the number one defense a lot. Carlton's motor has improved, and it needed to.

* Most improved CB? Without question, Senquez Golson. After missing spring training, Senquez has been a number one corner all fall and from day one until now has shown the most improvement at a position that needed someone to.

* LB Serderius Bryant sat out practice today with a bad toothache. He will see a dentist this afternoon and should be back for tomorrow's scrimmage.

* In live kickoff return, freshman Jaylen Walton had a 60-yard run, going into the middle congestion and then cutting outside, using his speed for a big gain.

* WR Collins Moore got his shoulder braced for the first time today and will start catching some passes tomorrow. He is fighting for a quick return. Moore dislocated his shoulder early in fall camp.

Dan Werner
File Photo

* Some names to look for on the kickoff team are Aaron Garbutt, Dehendret Collins, Will Martin, Ralph Williams, Denzel Nkemdiche, Tanner Burns, Brishen Mathews, Joel Kight, Octavius Burdette and Golson. . . Today, Bryson Rose kicked his lone attempt 6 yards deep inteh end zone. Freshman Nathan Noble kicked his lone attempt 2 yards deep.

* Some key players on kickoff return will be Cody Prewitt, Garbutt, Kight, Mathews, Nkemdiche, Ferbia Allen, Mike Marry and H.R. Greer.

* The punt return team will be manned by some of the following: Trae Elston, Golson, Nkemdiche, Williams, Garbutt, Keith Lewis, Mathews, Louis Covington and Chief Brown.

* The Hands Team, when expecting an onside kick, will employ these candidates: Randall Mackey, Prewitt, Ferbia Allen, Tanner Burns, Cody Core, Donte Moncrief, Philander Moore and I'tavius Mathers.

* In the Red Ball drills today, both Barry Brunetti and Bo Wallace threw to the tight ends frequently. Jamal Mosley and Allen each had two or three catches in the three-period workout.

* Dehendret Collins had the lone interception of the day in live action, snagging a long post throw off a tip.

* A player who is making himself viable and appears to be in the wide receiver rotation is Jordan Holder, son of former Rebel Jamie Holder. Like father, like son - Jordan runs precise patterns, he reads defenses well, he has sure hands and he's reliable in a crowd.

* All the talk this fall camp at QB has been around Wallace and Brunetti, but freshman Maikhail Miller is also gaining attention from QB Coach Dan Werner. "He is really progressing. He has a live arm, he's learning the scheme and he's starting to make better decision," said Werner. "I am excited about him down the road. When? I don't know, it's up to him. I wouldn't say right now that he is a guaranteed redshirt. I'd like to keep pushing him and see if he can help us this year. Maybe he can, maybe he needs to wait, but we are preparing him to play. He knows what to do when we get on the board in the meeting room, he just has to bring it more often to the field."

* Tomorrow's scrimmage, in conjunction with Meet The Rebels Day at 1:30 p.m. after the scrimmage, is open to the public.

OM Spirit Top Stories