Looking Toward Spring

Will Allen is recovering from another foot injury. Last summer it was a toe problem. This summer there's been another healing process.

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"It happened out at Texas A&M," he said of the latest injury. "I played about ten games or two weeks in the Cape (Cod). It was a really tiny bone in the (top of) the foot. It's rare. Didn't need surgery. I came back home to Gainesville and did a lot of weight lifting and kind of started swinging whenever I felt good. I didn't throw or catch any ground ball drills until I got up here."

Fall ball began this weekend. Allen said he is close to being back to full strength.

"It feels good," the junior said. "(Sunday) was the first day I did some sprints. Feels good. Aches sometimes but I think that's just getting back into it, and I think that will calm down the more I do some reps."

Allen said he likes what he sees out of the Rebels this early school year and into the start of fall ball.

"I think we've got a good group of guys, guys that can play multiple positions," he said of the team overall. "We've got guys who can fill in all over the place. It definitely helps to have that depth."

At his position is one of those in particular with depth.

"Stuart Turner definitely helps with the catchers," he said of the junior college transfer from LSU-Eunice. "Last year at the end of the year, we had two catchers (Allen and Austin Knight). Now we have four or five. It's definitely helping with the bullpens and the work we do there, so hopefully we won't get run down and all that."

Allen is a candidate this season to again play catcher but could also be at first base and DH when needed.

Allen batted .302 last season and played in 56 of the Rebels' 63 games, starting all 56. Ole Miss finished 37-26 and a win shy of advancing to a Super Regional. Allen said this is the time of year for the team to prepare for next spring and to try to advance beyond a Regional.

Brett Huber
Bruce Newman

"As a team it's important. The pitchers and catchers work together to get to know each other and learn each other and tendencies. We work on team defenses and bunt coverages and first and third and all that. Even before that in the (individual skill work), you work on your swing and your defense and improve your own game. You work to get bigger, stronger, faster, so it's definitely a big part of the offseason."

Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said it was nice to have the entire team back on the field for the first time since June when last season ended.

"For a first weekend it was good," he said. "You could see a lot of energy and a lot of guys that were chomping at the bit to get out there."

Some players aren't out there, at least doing anything but recovering. And not necessarily from injury but just in need of some down time.

"When you hold out Bobby Wahl and Mike Mayers and Brett Huber and Tanner Mathis (strained oblique muscle from late in summer ball), and Will Allen's at first base rather than behind the plate, it's a little lackluster for us," Bianco said of the situations as they currently stand. "Bobby and Mike will start throwing (week from today), but their arms needed some rest (from last season and the summer).

Bianco said the Rebels looked fairly sharp for a first weekend.

"Pretty clean in the field the first two days," he said "Coach (Cliff) Godwin's worked really hard with the defense, and so that (effectiveness) is probably to be expected."

Huber continues to recover from a cleanup of an elbow early in the summer.

"He probably will throw the last couple of weeks of the fall. He had a couple of bone chips removed out of his elbow which is pretty normal for a Tommy John guy after several years," Bianco said. "And he had the nerve moved which should help him a lot. He feels better every single day, and we're looking forward to getting him back out there."

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