On another "perfect" day in Oxford, which happens to be Halloween, and the Ole Miss Rebels continued their preparations for Georgia, the No. 6 ranked team in the nation, who they will square off with Saturday in Athens.
"We had a real good day. Our situation right now is that we are just going to have to play a lot of young kids. We had an issue with (LB) Aaron Garbutt, who got sick and we had to put him in the hospital. It's flu, we think," said Freeze. "Senquez Golson hasn't been released yet and it's getting late in the week, so we are banking on our young kids right now. We'll throw them in the fire and see how they do.
"But with this weather, how could you not have a good day? It's beautiful, great to be out here."
Freeze was asked about Georgia freshman TB Todd Gurley. He had a comparison.
"I think Trent Richardson is playing for Georgia on Saturday and then playing for the (Cleveland) Browns on Sunday. Gurley's size-speed ratio if phenomenal. They are a great challenge and arguably as good as we have faced," he said.
Last night, ESPN aired "The Ghosts of Ole Miss," a documentary of the undefeated 1962 football team during a time of racial strife in the South and at Ole Miss. Freeze's reaction?
"It was a powerful documentary of what happened 50 years ago. Thank God we have moved way beyond that and we can be one family here at the University of Mississippi," Hugh stated. "I've coached here four years and not one time has a single kid come to me with any issues of that nature on our campus. It is part of the unfortunate history of not only Mississippi, but the South. It's not a period anyone is proud of, but we are glad we have moved passed that."
* For many years, no matter which staff, the in-season goal for the strength & conditioning coach has been to maintain player strength levels. Rebel S&C Coach Paul Jackson does not see it that way. "The season is the longest stretch of time during the year I have them," said Jackson. "Even though we only work out the guys who are playing two times a week, and the redshirts and scout teamers three times a week, our program is designed to gain, not maintain, during the season. When we are in there, it's not a maintenance program, it is a full-blown workout." Fans have noticed. The Rebels are in extremely good shape when Saturdays roll around and strength level have been on the rise since Jackson took over last January.
* With Senquez Golson still missing from practice due to the last battery of tests from the concussion he sustained in Saturday's game against Arkansas, it looks as if Cliff Coleman and Dehendret Collins, moved from Husky to CB, are battling to see who will either back up Golson or start. Collins played corner most of spring training, so he has familiarity with the techniques and "rules" CB Coach Wesley McGriff teaches. "He's picked back up on corner duties pretty quickly," said Freeze. "We expect him to compete there Saturday."
* First there was NT Issac Gross. Then Safety Trae Elston. Now Husky Mike Hilton. All true freshmen who have made enough of an impression on the Rebel coaches to not only earn starting nods, but, it appears, solidify themselves as permanent - for this year anyway - starters. If things hold between now and Saturday, the Rebels will start those three true frosh, redshirt frosh LB Denzel Nkemdiche and two true sophomores - DE C.J. Johnson and FS Cody Prewitt. Over half the defense will be youngsters. Bodes well for the future. And, by the way, true freshman DE Channing Ward will also get significant playing time.
* Sophomore sensation Donte Moncrief gets most of the ink at wideout. Rightfully so - he has caught 39 passes for 540 yards and scored 5 TDs. But sophomore Vincent Sanders is also making his mark. He and junior Ja-Mes Logan are tied for second on the team with 22 catches each and have taken up some slack when Moncrief is double teamed. "It is fun around here again," said Vincent. "It feels good to have won a few games and gained some confidence and momentum. We just want to keep it going. I am real satisfied with how far I have come this year. It feels good to have the trust of the coaches and the faith of the quarterback. I don't intend to let them down."
* Gross was limited in practice Wednesday with a sore groin, but Freeze said not to worry, he will play against Georgia. "We are just resting him a day or two and let him get completely well," Freeze noted.