High Energy But Sloppy

Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze was pleased with the carryover in energy from Tuesday's practice to Wednesday's, but he called the execution "sloppy." Read about it inside.

Tuesday was a high energy practice day for the Rebels.

They followed that up Wednesday with another robust, spirited workout, but Rebel Coach Hugh Freeze was not as pleased with the execution.

"The energy was good, but we were sloppy, just sloppy," said Freeze, not to the point of frustration but a bit discouraged. "We made some mistakes today we didn't make yesterday and some of it was on the same stuff we worked on Tuesday.

"That's a little disappointing. The energy wasn't bad, just sloppy. We better get those things fixed or we'll get our butts beat - it's that simple. Attitude was good, but we kind of went through the motions on a few things and made some plays look bad. We have to sharpen things back up tomorrow."

Being 3-1 coming out of the non-conference schedule, Freeze said, would be a boost to this team.

"It would be big. We would love to be 3-1, but just as important is to play well," he said. "Winning is number one, but playing well is also important as we get ready to get into the SEC schedule. I expect us to and hopefully our players expect to play well too.

"I'd like to think we are close to that four-quarter game we've been looking for, but we haven't done it yet, so it's hard to jump out there and say we are. I sure hope so though."

Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack talked a lot after the Texas game about eye placement and missed assignments, so that has been the focus this week in practice for the defensive players.

"We've cut down some things we are doing to try to hone in more and sharpen some things up," said Wommack. "I think the guys have gotten better at it. We made a lot of improvement against UTEP, and I know the difference between UTEP and Texas, but in the Texas game we played so out of control with our eyes and movement. That's been our emphasis this week.

"We just did not execute and when you don't execute, you have to simplify. We did that during the game, running just a few defenses, and we still didn't execute very well. Up until then, I thought we were making great progress in our execution, but we have to be smarter against teams like them. Texas had something to do with our issues, but, again, you cannot play out of control against anyone, especially a really good team."

Simplifying doesn't mean losing aggression, according to Dave.

"We are simplifying our fits in gaps some, but we can still do most of the things we want to with blitzes and stunts and such," he said. "We are also spending a lot of time working on playing the ball when it is in the air. We had some missed assignments on some unbalanced formations where guys did not get where they were supposed to be. We have worked all of that a lot.

Uriah Grant
File Photo

"We can't become a vanilla defense these days. There are too many things people can do to attack you if you are vanilla. We won't be vanilla, but we can simplify with how we attack."

Wommack is pleased with what he has seen so far this week.

"Both days, the kids have been mentally sharp and attentive, and I think that has boosted their confidence some, but we have to show it in the games when it is the real deal," Dave continued. "I'm anxious to see them play again. When we watched film Sunday, they could see where things broke down and it was all basic stuff - assignment and alignment.

"We have some young guys who are going to make some mistakes, but we made too many the other night. The good thing is that these kids want to do well, they really do, and you normally play the way you practice. The players have faith in the scheme and each other, we just have to continue to work hard and get better."

Random Notes:

* The Rebels may be missing two defensive tackles in the Tulane game. Uriah Grant hurt his hand in the Texas game and has not practiced this week. Woodrow Hamilton was wearing a boot today after hurting his ankle. "We really don't know on either of them for this weekend," said Freeze. "It's a good thing we have been playing six of them the first three games. Uriah may have a chance to go with a cast on his hand and we have four guys ready." Those four are Issac Gross, Carlton Martin, Bryon Bennett and Gilbert Pena.

* Freeze did not comment much Tuesday about the move of Charles Sawyer from Rover to CB - he said he wanted to watch the practice film and report back Wednesday. "I think he is making the transition pretty smoothly. I feel comfortable with him at corner," Hugh noted. "We are going to need more than him, obviously, but Wesley (Pendleton) also had a good day yesterday. We will also keep looking at our schemes and try to do what fits their talents the best. That's our challenge as coaches."

* As was reported yesterday, there was a bomb threat levied against some football players Tuesday. "Our first concern was to get to our players and make sure they were safe. We called their parents and got them over to the IPF," Freeze noted. "Obviously, that's a scary deal, but thankfully it was just a threat."

* The Rebels will wear 'DW' on their uniforms Saturday in honor of injured Tulane player DeVon Walker. "I went through this scenario at Lambuth and it's something you don't wish on any player, family or coach. It is a horrible experience," noted Freeze. "I am sure he is surrounded by a great support system and we will support him any way we can. We also have a great ambassador of this type of tragedy in Chucky Mullins. Having gone through it, we know the pain they are going through and anything we can do to bring recognition to this young man, we are glad to do it."

* Slot Korvic Neat is still out with a groin issue and is questionable for Saturday. . . OL Terrell Brown, who has missed two weeks with a knee problem, returned to practice Wednesday.

* DE E.J. Epperson is still in Jackson on a class assignment. In his place, freshman Channing Ward got most of the reps with the number one defense.

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