Back At It

After a weekend off, the Rebels resumed spring practice Monday morning. Once again, wet condition drove them inside, but they made the most of it and Coach Hugh Freeze had a little wake up surprise for them to start the workout.

The shrill of the head coach's whistle resonated through the Indoor Practice Facility at 8:05 a.m. this morning.

It was a wake up call for the Rebel football team after a long weekend off.

One-on-one bull in the ring time.

If that won't get the juices flowing, nothing will.

It did.

After some very physical matchups, the Rebs were ready to get on with practice.

"We got them going early with some one-on-one. That was good. It reminded them why we are out here and that we can't afford to waste a single period," said Coach Hugh Freeze. "The offense was good in Red Ball (tempo), but the defense dominated late in the team period.

"I thought the offense, at the end, went through the motions a little too much today and we can't have that. We'll get that fixed and come out ready to go Wednesday and Thursday."

The defense has been ahead of the offense through five practices this spring. With 10 more to go, including the April 13th Grove Bowl, the offense has some ground to make up.

"We've done well in tempo for the most part," Hugh continued. "Our defense has done some good things, which has made it hard on the offense, especially against an offense that is playing without Aaron Morris and Emmanuel McCray, who has class conflicts, some. We're playing with some young guys up front who are still in the learning curve.

"We have to get some more depth up front. The quarterbacks are missing some throws they should make or holding the ball too long at other times. There are a lot of things going on there. At times, we look OK, but at times we have looked awful."

Spring training is about getting better and identifying who can do what. Coaches are always looking for guys who have improved or are making a move to the next level.

Freeze saw four, at least for Monday.

I thought DE Carlos Thompson, LB Serderius Bryant, DE Channing Ward and S Chief Brown had their best days so far today," noted Freeze. "The redshirt year has helped Carlos. His body has matured some and he's playing more physical. We still have work to do on his maturity level off the field, but we are pleased with his progress on the field so far.

Channing Ward
File Photo

"Channing is starting to get it. Things are becoming more natural for him and he's playing faster. Same with Chief. Serderius looks quicker and more sure of his assignments.We need all three of them to keep coming on."

Random Notes:

* DT Issac Gross (groin), DE Cameron Whigham (knee) and Slot Receiver Korvic Neat (turf toe) all returned to practice Monday after missing some time last week. Gross is still a little "tight" and was limited in practice, but he got some drill work in. Whigham and Neat went back to work full swing.

* DC Dave Wommack concurs with Freeze on Chief Brown's progress. Ditto on on Quintavius Burdette. "They have both come a long way since last fall," said Wommack. "Chief is much, much better now and is playing faster. He knows what to do and is producing."

* LB Colton Walls, the son of former Rebel great Wesley Walls, is feeling his way through after transferring to Ole Miss from Clemson. Colton is about 5-11, 205 pounds - the same size as Denzel Nkemdiche. He's got good feet, based on drill observations. Wesley was at practice today. He is considering a move to Oxford from Charlotte, NC.

* Cornerbacks Coach Jason Jones is making a seamless transition to the Ole Miss staff, according to Freeze. "Jason is a perfect fit for our staff and he's a great technician," noted Freeze. "He's still feeling his way through some in the defensive system, which was expected, but as far as a mesh with this staff, I couldn't be happier, and chemistry is important to me."

* With McCray missing the first hour or so of every practice due to classes, redshirt freshman OT Robert Conyers is getting a double dip of reps, which he needs. ON the first team, he's playing right tackle with Pierce Burton sliding over to LT. On the second team, Conyers is getting left tackle reps. He's non-stop in team drills and rarely leaves the field. Just what the doctor ordered for his progress.

Carlos Thompson
File Photo

* Speaking of Burton, when he came on board last spring, he was aggressive, but he was also unsure, feeling his way and learning on the fly. This spring, he's totally different - confident and knows what to do. That, combined with his innate aggressiveness and year's experience, and you have yourself a stalwart, an anchor on the OL.

* There's an interesting battle going on at Husky. Will it be Dehendret Collins, Mike Hilton or Brishen Mathews? All three bring something to the table and all three have their strengths in different packages. Right now, there doesn't appear to be a clear leader. That is shaping up to be a tight race to fall camp.

* Charles Sawyer, Senquez Golson and Snoop Brassell appear to be the cream of the cornerbacks, but don't count out veteran Cliff Coleman and sophomore Anthony Standifer, both of whom have drawn praise from Jones during practice. Carlos Davis is also getting his feet wet at the position and has made some plays during the ongoing learning process.

* True freshman Tight End Christian Morgan is already getting some reps with the first team offense as he learns on the fly. Is it because of his fast advancement or because that position is so uncertain? It will take a lot more days to answer that, but in the meantime, he's getting valuable reps with the top guys and has already shown good pass-catching skills.

* The Rebels will resume practice Wednesday morning.

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