Pep In Their Step

The Rebels, fresh off their season-opening 49-27 win over Central Arkansas, hit the practice field in the IPF Tuesday with a little extra pep in their step. Read about it inside.

It's amazing what a win can do for a team that hadn't had one in a while.

Tuesday afternoon, as preparations for UTEP began in the IPF (the practice fields are still sloppy from five inches of rain Sunday night in Oxford), the Rebels were flying around with a little extra swagger and bounce to them.

"You should have seen them Sunday in our walk through," smiled Coach Hugh Freeze. "Winning does wonders for any team. Our guys enjoyed the feeling and it's carried over to their practices.

"The offensive guys were really jacked. They couldn't believe we scored nearly 50 points and we didn't really play as good as we could have or probably should have."

From a psychological standpoint, the Rebels got a needed shot of confidence with the UCA results. Imagine what a victory over UTEP would do.

"Winning breeds confidence. There's no doubt we have more now than we did last week," he continued. "Will that give us a win this Saturday? Probably not, but it sure won't hurt. The more wins we can get, the more they feel better about who they are. It was definitely a spirited Tuesday practice. They feel good about themselves.

"We have talked about believing and expecting more of ourselves since we took over, but nothing gives them that like winning. We have to keep building on that confidence and belief."

How important is having that type of mental edge of confidence?

Jeff Scott
Hugh Freeze

"It's invaluable. If you could bottle it and make sure you have it, even in disappointing times, you could make a lot of money," Hugh noted. "We work hard to make sure we feel good about ourselves and the plan of what we are going to do. Hopefully, that breeds some confidence in them as well."

Random Notes:

* Sophomore TB Jeff Scott, who sat out the opener with lower back issues, practiced Sunday and then came back Tuesday with another pain-free practice. "He said he feels real good. It's good to get him back," said Freeze. "He had a great day today. He's ready to go."

* Will WR Collins Moore play this year? TBD, to be determined. "We are going to be real careful about that. We don't want to put him out there and then he can't go and we have wasted a year," Freeze said. "If we put him out there, we are going to make sure he is ready to go. We'll decide all of that in the next week or two. He's not having any issues right now, but we need more evidence to judge his situation properly."

* The term "gamer" is being thrown around frequently about QB Bo Wallace. "I kind of knew how competitive he is from my time with him at Arkansas State. He always looked beter in scrimmage situations," Freeze stated. "I think he thrives on competition. It is frustrating sometimes in practice, but if he continues to produce on Saturdays, I will temper my frustrations in practice."

* After practice, Freeze said there is one true freshman who has really caught his eye lately, DE Termario Strong. "We can't seem to get him blocked on the scout team," Freeze smiled. "He was playing some three technique today (DT) and he disrupted everything. I think he's going to be a big linebacker. He's a ball player." Strong's South Panola and now Ole Miss teammate Issac Gross said he's seen his running buddy blossom lately. "He's catching up now. He came in here late this summer, but he jumped right on in and is now progressing," said Gross. . . Freeze said Strong "knows nothing" right now, but when the light comes on, he expects him to make an impact. When? No idea, but Freeze is adamant it's coming sooner or later.

* Senior TE Jamal Mosley, who caught four passes in the UCA game, did not practice today. He injured an ankle in the game. He is expected to come back to practice Wednesday.

* Jim Broadway punted in his debut for a net average of 46 yards per kick. If he can continue along those lines, even less, Freeze said the plan to redshirt Tyler Campbell would continue, but no firm decision has been made yet. "We are not going to judge Jim on one game, but if he can net 38 yards or more, it helps us because we can steal a scholarship this February by not having to sign a punter or kicker with two seniors (Campbell and Andrew Ritter) coming back," Freeze explained. "Redshirting Tyler is all about how Jim performs. We have a certain number of games in mind to determine it and we will decide then. Tyler is all for it."

* Senior TB Randall Mackey, who had a throat infection prior to the game and then got "punched" in the neck during the game, was back at practice Tuesday after Monday's mandatory day off. Mackey's neck was swollen significantly in the postgame press conference, but he looked normal at Tuesday's workout.

* Freshman DT Issac Gross, who left the UCA game early afte rbeing kicked in the calf, returned to practice Tuesday and was running full speed in drills.

* If there was some anticipation of some personnel movement on the offensive line from the opener, the Rebel coaches did not show it Tuesday. The lineup of LT Emmanuel McCray, LG Aaron Morris, C Evan Swindall, RG A.J. Hawkins and RT Pierece Burton remained the same with the number one offense.

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