Focus On Rebs

Another beautiful day in Oxford, another productive practice day during the open week in the books. The Rebels worked a little on some Arkansas "stuff," but mostly on themselves and doing things better.

"We worked on the kickoff team, some different offensive personnel groupings and on defense they worked a couple of personnel groups of Arkansas'. We worked more on us and getting better at what we do," said Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze. "We got some good work in."

Freeze said he's a creature of habit and really doesn't concern himself a whole lot in getting a jump start in gameplanning for the next opponent during the open week.

"I don't think there's a lot of advantage in that. We worked some Arkansas stuff today, but I don't even think the kids realized what we were doing," he said. "That's fine with me because I am a creature of habit and we'll come back Sunday and get into game week, like always.

"Now, we will get this stuff on film and determine what we do like and don't like, so there's a benefit there, but more for the coaches than the players."

The Rebels' emphasis on the kickoff team this week has been heightened due to the results in the previous seven games. It's an area Freeze is determined to get shored up.

Why not just kick it into the end zone every time, Freeze was asked.

"I assure you that is what I want to do. We are just not as consistent kicking off as we need to be. If we get a little wind in or face or this and that, it's not happening," he said. "Every game, our plan is to kick it out of the end zone. Kicking it in the end zone is not good enough. It has to be 7-8 yards deep with the dangerous return people in this league.

"No question in my mind, if you can kick it 7-8 yards deep or deeper, that is the route we choose every time."

As the season has progressed, Freeze is shortening practices a little each week.

"That is my coaching philosophy," he said. "We go from one thing to the next quickly and get what we need in. Today, we were here 13 periods and still got in 54 plays of offense. I don't think I would want to get any more than that.

"Some of it has to do with the open week, but from this point forward I will cut Tuesday practices down from 21 periods to 18 periods. We can then spend a little more time in meetings and on academics.

Ja-Mes Logan
File Photo

"To me, it is important in this grind we are in that they enter into each Saturday as fresh as possible. We can get all our needed work in."

Random Notes:

* Freeze was asked about the progress LB/DE D.T. Shackelford has made in his lengthy rehab. D.T. got up to 266 pounds after his second knee operation but is now down 25 pounds to 241. "He's doing well," Freeze noted. "He says he can play right now, and that's tempting, but we are going to let him sit out and finish rehab until spring. It will be great to have him and Andrew Ritter and Tyler Campbell out there in spring. They are three leaders we will have next year. I feel he will be the old D.T. He is training extremely hard and I expect him to come back as good as ever."

* Slot Receiver Korvic Neat missed a couple of games with a groin injury and played against Auburn at about 85%. He finally appears to be back to 100% and that will bode well for the Rebels down the stretch. Ja-Mes Logan is still working some in the slot because now Philander Moore is struggling with a foot injury and there is no word how long he may be out.

* Freshman CB Anthony Standifer had the meniscus in his knee repaired Monday and the expectations are for him to be back in the fold and close to full speed by the Georgia game.

* DE C.J. Johnson (back) and TE Jamal Mosley (knee) were both held out of practice again today. Neither injury is expected to cost them any game time and the rest this week is more precautionary than anything.

* Freshman DB Mike Hilton passed his final clearance test for coming back off a concussion. He will be full speed tomorrow.

* The training staff is in the process of scheduling the first of two surgeries on dislocated shoulders for WR Collins Moore. Most likely, the first surgery will be the re-do of the shoulder he dislocated in high school and recently dislocated. After a couple of months of rehab on that shoulder, the other shoulder - that he dislocated in August and tried to play through before dislocating the other one - will be repaired. It is possible, but unlikely, he will be ready for spring training.

* DE/DT Jason Jones (leg bruise) was limited in practice on Tuesday but went through all drills Wednesday.

* The Rebels will have a short practice Thursday that will center around the service teams and redshirts getting some scrimmage time.

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