Full-Speed Wrap Up

After another sun-kissed day in Oxford, and on the Ole Miss practice fields, and moving a day closer to Saturday, the Rebels concluded full-speed preparations for the SEC match with Arkansas in Little Rock. Read some notes from Thursday's practice inside.

Most of the sweat work is over.

The Rebels finished their full-speed preparations for Arkansas Thursday afternoon with a non-contact practice.

Now, it's drawing board, walk-through and waiting time.

Although the full-speed work is done, game preparations are not. Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze does not share in the belief that the day before a game is a leisure day.

Meetings and walk throughs are the order of that day.

"They can rest their bodies and be fresh physically for the games, but we keep working on the mental stuff on Friday," said Freeze recently. "Some coaches take their teams to a movie or things like that. We don't. It's a work day for us.

"It's a time when we, as coaches, make sure there are no doubts about our gameplan and their assignments in every circumstance. If there are questions, we address them and everything is fresh on their minds when we go to the stadium to play."


Uriah Grant
File Photo

As most who follow SEC football understand, your offense won't go very far very often without a quality offensive front.

It is Ole Miss Defensive Line Coach Chris Kiffin's charge to pit his guys against the Hog OL.

"Theya re a solid SEC O-line, one of the better ones we have faced," said Kiffin. "I don't think they are the best we have played, but they are up there. They are very well-coached.

"They have a deceptive run game that guns behind that OL. If you don't respect it and be aware of it, they will pop one on you. We respect them, but I think we have had a great two weeks preparing for them. We just have to come out and execute."

It's the defensive front's job to not only stop the run but to try and get to Hog QB Tyler Wilson, one of the better quarterbacks in the conference and someone who will pick you apart with enough time to throw.

"What he is good at is getting rid of the ball quickly. We have to get them in third-and-medium or longer so he has to hold it longer," Chris noted. "With him getting a concussion earlier this year, I think he's more tentative in not wanting to scramble as much so he is getting rid of it on time.

"We have a lot of different looks to show them. After the first couple of possessions, we will have to sink our teeth in what they are trying to do to us."

Therein lies the rub for the Kiffin and his group through seven games.

"There's no question, we have to do a better job of the front four or front three getting to the quarterback," he said. "We are doing pretty well against the run, playing with good technique and gap-sound.

"But when we get them in a passing situation, we don't want to handcuff the DC and him think he has to call a blitz to get there. We have to do better as a front getting to the QB. We have challenged them, Coach (Derrick) Burgess loves to talk about it a lot. We hope they will take the challenge."

Random Notes:

* Starting Cornerback Senquez Golson missed yesterday's practice due to a minor sickness, but he was back in action Thursday, as Freeze predicted, and was running with the first team.

* CB Charles Sawyer (ankle) and Rover Trae Elston knee) both missed Tuesday's workout, but both returned to action Wednesday and continued working full speed and with the first team defense Thursday, indicating they are ready to go, if there were any doubts.

* DT Uriah Grant had hand surgery a few weeks ago and wore a protective cast the first couple of weeks he came back. He was in the DL rotation but was not starting. Now, it appears he has very little, if any, protective gear on his hand (just gloves) and he has returned to the starting slot next to freshman NT Issac Gross. "He's not 100%, but he is playing without the cast. He's using his hands, but only about 50% of the time. We have let him know that and shown it to him on film and he's trying to work on it," said Kiffin. "He's had a series of injuries in the last 12 months is a testament to him and his desire to play."

* Is Husky Mike Hilton in line to start over Dehendret Collins? It could happen. This week in practice, Hilton and Collins have been splitting time with the number one defense. Whether the true freshman starts or not, he is definitely in DC Dave Wommack's plans for substantial playing time.

* Freshman CB Anthony Standifer, who tore a meniscus two weeks ago and had it repaired early last week, is sprinting now in his rehab. We have seen no lateral movement yet, but that can't be far off. He anticipates being back at full speed in time to play against Georgia.

* Safety Tanner Burns, who hurt his knee a week or so before Standifer and initially thought he was finished for the year, has returned to practice. His hope is to be ready for the Georgia game as well. Both Burns and Standifer were on the kickoff coverage team prior to their injuries.

* It does not appear DT Woodrow Hamilton will play against Arkansas, but he has been moving around a lot better this week and, barring any tweaks of his ankle, should be ready to play against Georgia.

* Kiffin said he has noticed an impact on recruiting and the reception he is getting from some of his recruits now that the Rebels have shown they are a program on the way up. "Winning helps and not only that, they see the style we are going to play. The attacking defense and up-tempo, big-play offense," Kiffin explained. "Recruits want to be a part of that. You can sell that to them. Also, we are still in a position to sell competing for a job early. More established programs cannot sell that like we can. That's always enticing. Coach Freeze's name has spread among high school coaches and we are getting great feedback out there."


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