Throw Them A Bone

Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze decided Wednesday to hold practice in the Indoor Practice Facility. Not because of bad weather, but as a reward for a job well done in fall camp and to make sure the team's legs are fresh for the opener this Saturday.

The Rebel football team has endured a lot of heat this fall camp.

Very few practices have been driven indoors due to rain or bad weather.

Naturally, the team expected to be outside in the heat again Wednesday, but Coach Hugh Freeze had a little surprise for them - a practice inside in the air-conditioned IPF.

"I just wanted to get them in out of the heat for a day. I wanted to throw them a bone for all the hard work they have given us these past four weeks," Freeze said. "Anything we can do right now to motivate them and get a little more out of them, it's good.

"I think their legs are coming back and are getting to where they need to be. I trust Paul (Jackson) with that. We have also shortened practices some this week. Thursday will be even shorter. I think they will be fresh and ready to go Saturday."

Freeze was not real happy with the offense on Tuesday, but Wednesday was "a little better."

"They bounced back and did some good things today. We had some mental mistakes at the end when we were practicing some of our tempo stuff, but no doubt it was better today," he said.

The quarterback question was raised again. Who will it be - Bo Wallace or Barry Brunetti?

"We will go in and watch the film tonight and we have been charting a lot of things throughout fall camp," he continued. "We will make a decision tonight and let the team know tomorrow."

No determination has been made yet on the status for Saturday of TE Jamal Mosley.

Jeff Scott "doubtful"
Chuck Rounsaville

"We won't decide that until Saturday. He still has some time between now and then to prove that he is going to be accountable," noted Hugh.

What is Freeze looking for between now and Saturday?

"I'm anxious to get to the hotel Friday night. We coach right up to kickoff," he explained. "We will prep at the hotel and I am a big believer in that. I know that hasn't been the practice here before, but I'm not into going to movies. I am into getting us ready to play. I am anxious to see how they handle that prep we are going to do at the hotel.

"I can sense that they feel it's time to play and I am as anxious as they are."

Random Notes:

* Freeze said the status of RB Jeff Scott (back issue) is "doubtful" for Saturday. "He's day-to-day, but in my opinion, he's doubtful," Freeze commented. Scott is battling a disk problem in his lower back. He will continue to go through treatment. Also, with disk issues, sometimes a steroid shot can be a remedy. No determination on that procedure has been made, but it is on the table for consideration.

* The defense has received a shot in the arm the past couple of days with the return of Rover Charles Sawyer, CB Wesley Pendleton and CB Cliff Coleman. All are penciled in to play and Sawyer and Pendleton were both working with the first team defense Wednesday. Sawyer is the "quarterback" of the secondary and has already made his presence felt in practices by the checks and calls he has made. Pendleton is arguably the best cover corner on the team. Obviously, those two have been missed.

* With Sawyer back, Chief Brown is working more at free safety with Cody Prewitt. Both had reps with the number one defense today. Chief has been playing Rover in Sawyer's absence. It is anticipated Chief will play both FS and Rover in the opener.

Bryon Bennett
Chuck Rounsaville

* Denzel Nkemdiche, both yesterday and today, has been ahead of Aaron Garbutt at the number one Stinger LB position. Garbutt held down the top spot most of fall camp, but lately Nkemdiche has gained an edge. It looks as if his first collegiate start will be Saturday.

* It's commonly known who the top seven OL are, but OL Coach Matt Luke has said all along he wants eight to be ready. LT Emmanuel McCray, LG Aaron Morris, C Evan Swindall, RG A.J. Hawkins, RT Pierce Burton, the starters, and OG Justin Bell and OT Patrick Junen are the top seven. If an eighth is needed, don't be surprised if it is none other than true freshman C Ben Still, who has also worked at guard a little in fall camp. Still has been the number two center in practices for over a week, displacing Chase Hughes in that slot.

* TE John Youngblood has had a good fall camp, but unless there is an injury to the guys ahead of him, the TE rotation will be Ferbia Allen, Jamal Mosley and H.R. Greer. Youngblood is probably a redshirt candidate as things stand right now.

* Freshman DE Channing Ward has been getting a lot of reps with the number two defense, but Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack said patience is needed for the talented frosh who joined camp two weeks late. "We will put a package or two together for him, but it's going to be another couple of weeks before we think he will be able to handle much more than that," said Wommack. "It's not going to happen overnight."

* Wednesday, there was another apparent depth chart change. DT Bryon Bennett was working with the number one defense ahead of Carlton Martin, who has held down the top spot in fall camp the past week or ten days.

* With Scott doubtful for the opener, both freshmen RBs - I'tavius Mathers and Jaylen Walton - got the most reps behind starter Randall Mackey. No big surprise there based on fall camp, but noteworthy.

* With Pendleton and Senquez Golson holding down the top CB slots, it appears Coleman and Louis Covington will be the first in to relieve them if necessary. Again, the late addition of Covington seems to be paying off. He's a quality late find.

* The players are about to get another "treat" from the coaching staff. A new stereo system is being installed in the locker room and it's not just any old stereo. It's a $23,000 commercial grade Tannoy system with 24 ceiling speakers and 6 sub-woofers. Total wattage? 6,000. It is also being set up initially to be expandable when the IPF renovations take place and the locker room is expanded down the road. It's the same saystem Auburn has in their locker room and it was donated by a generous Rebel. Earlier this summer, several flat screen televisions were also installed in the locker room.

* The improvement of the offensive line from the start of fall camp until now has been documented repeatedly. Hawkins is adamant there has been a lot of progress. "We have improved a whole bunch. We couldn't even get some minor calls early on, but now we don't even have to talk that much - the chemistry is there," said A.J. "Aaron (Morris) got hurt early, but since he has been back, we have gotten everything together and are on the same page. We can now get things communicated with a nod of the head or a nod. We don't even have to talk most of the time. Coach Luke has taught us a lot about defensive recognition and it's starting to pay off. We have also gotten a lot better in the tempo game. I think we can do whatever the coaches want to call. If he wants to go fast the whole game, we will do it. We ran all summer to get ready for this."

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