'Another Good One'

Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze, despite a painful elbow issue and a swollen right hand, met the media with another smile on his face after Tuesday's practice session.

The Rebels continued preparations for the Compass Bowl Tuesday with another spirited workout, according to Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze, who has somehow torn a tendon in his elbow and is experiencing some pain and swelling of his right hand.

"I was real pleased with the practice," Freeze noted. "The energy was good and saw some good individual effort. the young kids got a lot of good reps, particularly late with full contact for the younger guys.

"(TB) Carlos Davis had some good runs today as did I'Tavius (Mathers) and Jaylen (Walton). Carlos doesn't know much right now, but he has speed. Maihkail Miller is doing some good things at quarterback. Barry (Brunetti) had another good day. (OT) Robert Conyers did a nice job in one-on-one drills. I couldn't tell much about the defense until I watch the film on Carlos Thompson, Temario Strong and those guys, but they got a lot of good reps to evaluate them on."

Miller ran the second and third teams now that starting QB Bo Wallace is being rested.

"He has a much better understanding of what we are doing now, particularly considering the lack of reps he got during the year. He has improved drastically," Hugh noted.

While on the subject of your players, Freeze had to mention some defensive players as well.

D.T. Shackelford
File Photo

"The truth is, our defense is what was impacted more by young players. Issac Gross, Channing Ward, Trae Elston, Q Burdette - the job they have done has been remarkable, all things considered," Freeze said. "Channing continues to get better, but everyone must understand that not many freshmen defensive linemen are going to come in and not experience some growing pains against the offensive lines we face. Spring will be his time to make up a lot of ground."

The Rebels did quite a bit of scrimmage-like, full-team work today and it was obvious Freeze wanted it all to be up-tempo stuff.

"From last spring to now, we have come a long way with our tempo," he noted. "I really think year two is when you will see what we really want to do from a tempo standpoint. That's when you should see it speed up even more. Next year, depending on who we sign on the offensive line, I'd like to be about 80% tempo next year. We need more depth to do what we really want to do though.

"Having said that, I am pleased with how far we have come in one year."

Random Notes:

* D.T. Shackelford dressed out in shorts and a helmet today and went through some full-speed bag drills and "get-off" drills with the defensive line. His work was limited to drills where there was no chance for any contact with another player, but he looked to be in pretty good form considering it's been nearly two years since he has had a helmet on. "He could go through practice now, but we made the decision to wait until spring," said Hugh. "I don't know what to expect because I have never had one who has been out for two years. Spring will be very revealing for him. We will start him at Mike LB and go from there."

Donte Moncrief
File Photo

* TE Jamal Mosley, who is working to try to get academically eligible for the bowl game, was still MIA Tuesday. In his absence, the Rebs are using senior H.R. Greer more in sets that use at tight end/h-back. Freeze said those packages were installed for the Egg Bowl because Ferbia Allen was not available and H.R. was very effective in doing his part. Ferbia is back at practice now, his knee braced up, but he is limited in what he can do.

* DT Uriah Grant (groin), OL D.J. Bailey (knee) and Wallace (shoulder) were the only ones held out of practice. Grant is expected to return after the Christmas break and Bo will start throwing again then as well.

* Mathers and Walton continue to make plays when their number is called. Both are showing the ability to slash, cut, read blocks and take it to the house when they get to the second and third level. Walton is a Jeff Scott clone, in many ways, in the way he darts, weaves, slashes and then explodes into an opening.

* Freeze said CB Charles Sawyer and TB Jeff Scott will fill out the paperwork necessary to get an evaluation on their draftability in the NFL.

* While there is quite a bit of excitement about the potential of Strong, it's obvious to even a novice he is very raw in his linebacker skills. He's basically starting from scratch with Coach Tom Allen. Bare basic technique stuff, like how to take on and shed a block, is being worked on now. Obviously, he has a long process to go through and spring will be a key time for him.

* We did not take a crazy pill this morning, but it's going to sound like it with this next tidbit. It appears as if the Egg Bowl has catapulted WR Donte Moncrief to yet another, higher level. His confidence level is at an all-time high and he's catching everything he touches. He has gone from being a really good player to a player that is sometimes mesmerizing to watch. As wide receivers go, he's become so fluid and effortless - another level of performance. Scary thought for the opposition of the future.

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