Tall Task Tuesday

While the Georgia Bulldogs aren't number one in the nation, they have a style and makeup similar to the nation's top team - Alabama. Oh, by the way, they are number six in the college football world. The Rebs know they have their hands full.

The Ole Miss Rebels are on a little roll and feel good about themselves, but as they began practice Tuesday - the first day of full-speed preparations for the Georgia game in Athens Saturday - they understand what faces them.

"From top to bottom, they are as good as anyone as a program," said Rebel Coach Hugh Freeze. "Coaching, talent, having years to recruit to their systems - it all adds up to a big challenge for us, but it's one we look forward to. They have a lot of NFL-caliber players on their team."

The Rebs took the first step toward the next contest with a practice under a cloudless, bright blue sky with breezy, 60 degree conditions on the practice fields.

"Practice was great. The energy and focus was really good," said Freeze. "The offense did a good job of getting in our whole gameplan. Now we will go watch the film and weed out and add so we can fine-tune it tomorrow. The energy on the defense was really good."

Are good Tuesday practices a byproduct of winning? Yes and no, said Freeze.

"Certainly the mood is better and the energy is easier to generate, but I have to tell you, we have had good Tuesday practices just about every week, even after the hurtful loss to Texas A&M and getting beaten badly by Texas. I have been real proud this year with the way they have handled the good and the bad.

"With the state of our program right now, we are going to have ups and downs and we have to be able to handle both equally well, which I think they have done."

Cameron Whigham
File Photo

Staying even-keeled has been something Freeze strives for.

"Lately, I have seen the confidence level grow, but they have kept a workmanlike demeanor. The best teams I have coached have had that outlook - you are confident, but it doesn't hurt your work ethic," he explained. "Tuesday is our hard work day with the weights and classes and practice, but they have come to work each Tuesday like we had hoped."

Random Notes:

* Starting Defensive End Cameron Whigham bruised his knee in the Arkansas game and was expected to miss a little practice time this week, but be able to play against the Bulldogs. Whig got back on the field ahead of schedule, participating in all drills in Tuesday's workout.

* DT Woodrow Hamilton has been out for nearly a month with a high ankle sprain, but he returned to practice today. He had on ankle braces and appeared to be going full speed. "We are probably not going to play him this week because we want him completely healthy for the stretch run, but it's good to have him back out there," said Freeze.

* Freshman CB Anthony Standifer had minor knee surgery (meniscus) a little over two weeks ago and returned to practice today. He was playing with the second team defense in the early tempo drill and seemed to be moving well.

* As was anticipated, CB Senquez Golson (concussion) and CB Wesley Pendleton (ankle) were not at practice today. Senquez is expected to be back later this week, but Pendleton is not expected to play against Georgia. "Charles Sawyer is still nursing his foot injury, but he will play against Georgia," noted Hugh. "Yesterday was the first battery of tests for Senquez and we hope this round of tests and tomorrow's will be good news."

Woodrow Hamilton
File Photo

* With Golson and Pendleton out, Cliff Coleman was running with the number one defense at one cornerback, opposite Charles Sawyer. Also, because of the lack of depth there, Dehendret Collins, who is the backup Husky, was also working some at cornerback for insurance. He will also stay at Husky behind freshman Mike Hilton. "Hilton and Quintavius Burdette will also get some CB reps this week. They are just puppies, but we need the depth," Freeze said. "We will also have to move Brishen Mathews back to Husky. Hey, we're just thin, but we knew that was the case when this season started. We'll get through it."

* There has been very little personnel movement on the offensive side of the ball in several weeks. The same 11 who started against Arkansas were working with the first unit in Tuesday's drills. The Rebels have been able to avoid injury on offense and maintain the same lineup for several weeks, which has helped with their continuity and familiarity with each other. Bright spot.

* The top three backs for Georgia - Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall and Ken Malcome - are averaging 6.2, 6.8 and 5.8 yards per carry, respectively. Gurley is the go-to guy. The 6-1, 218-pound freshman was a workhorse against Florida last week in the Bulldogs' upset of the then number 2 Gators, carrying the ball 27 times. "He's a gifted back. He likes to run over you, but he can run around you too," said DC Dave Wommack.

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