Beat Up, But Physical

Add a couple of more to the injury list for spring football. It's been one of those springs, but the players who are available are giving Coach Hugh Freeze a physical brand of football.

Spring football is vital to the development of players and the core direction of a football team.

But sometimes it can be costly in terms of a rash of injuries.

The necessity of spring football trumps everything else, but a dollar to a doughnut Coach Hugh Freeze is probably glad this spring session is almost over.

"We've had a physical spring, but I'm glad, besides the Grove Bowl, this was the last physical day," said Freeze. "We are not going to do much Friday - we have one more required day in shorts, so this was about it.

"We will have a physical Saturday, but the injuries sure have been mounting. Thankfully, none of them will - or should - cost us in the fall."

His brief overview of how spring has gone?

"I like our attitude and energy. I am not happy with where we are, but some of that has something to do with the number of people we have out," he stated. "That does not make me feel warm and fuzzy. The kids whoa re out there have given us good effort and there has been marked improvement in a lot of kids.

"I think of the Chief Browns of the world, and Temario Strong and D.T. Shackelford, Carlos Davis, Anthony Alford and Woody Hamilton - several guys on defense. As a whole team, however, I wish we had been more consistent on offense."

The defense "won" the battle today, with a caveat.

"No question they won today," said Freeze, "but some of the situations we worked on were geared more for the defense. Third-and-longs, for instance, are tough for an offense to win consistently.

CB Charles Sawyer
File Photo

"But the bottom line is that the defense had more passion today. The offensive line did not play physical at all."

With Friday being a light day, Freeze outlined what he wanted to see Saturday, in a somewhat repetitive refrain.

"On offense, just stay away from teh negative plays and turnovers. Stay on schedule with great tempo," he noted. "On defense, keep playing physical and creating turnovers. We still give up some big plays and I would like to see that limited to very, very few."

Random Notes:

* Freshman Tight End Christian Morgan will have to undergo surgery on a meniscus tear in his right knee. Freeze said he will be fine for fall camp. The "usual" rehab time on that is roughly six-eight weeks. The operation is scheduled for next week.

* WR Vince Sanders is a new victim of the injury bug. In Monday's practice, he rolled his ankle and did not practice Wednesday.

* In today's workout, CB Charles Sawyer tweaked his knee or quad - prognosis undetermined.

* Rebel commitment C.J. Hampton, a safety from Meridian, was at practice today. Nice looking athlete. 6-1, wide shoulders, filled out nicely for a high school senior-to-be.

Carlos Davis
File Photo

* LB Keith Lewis has been somewhat lost in the shuffle this spring with the buzz over the return of Shackelford and the late rise of Strong, but Keith has a definite role, maybe a big role, on the. He is penciled in to be the MLB on all passing downs and is the starting Wolf OLB when the Rebels are in a 4-3 look. He's had a very good spring. Don't overlook his value.

* If you don't think the Rebels are building some depth on defense, check out some of the names on the second-team right now: Chief Brown, Channing Ward, Lavon Hooks, Carlos Thompson, Carlton Martin, Serderius Bryant, Nick Brassell. If they can't crack the starting lineup - yet - on 'D', there has to be some optimism from a depth standpoint on that side of the ball.

* A young player who keeps showing up more and more each day is converted RB Carlos Davis, a speedster now at cornerback. Carlos is on the smallish side, but his toughness and heart and speed show up every day. In fact, he had the hit of the day Wednesday. Hard-running TB Darryan Ragsdale cut to the sideline, turned the corner and was going full speed when he and Davis locked horns. Davis took him down cleanly with a vicious hit to the thighs. Watch for number 20 in the fall - you already know what he can do on special teams. There's more coming.

* Dehendret Collins has been moved from Husky to cornerback, leaving Mike Hilton, Brishen Mathews and walkon Josh Richardson as the Husky depth chart. Collins has played corner before so it is not entirely foreign to him and he made some solid plays in pass skelly today. The footnote to this tidbit is that signee Tony Conner is anticipated to be a candidate for the Husky slot in fall camp.

* WR Donte Moncrief dressed out Wednesday but was held out of all contact drills. Donte is nursing a shoulder injury.

* Slot Receiver Korvic Neat, who has been struggling with a knee injury and a toe injury, returned to practice full speed Wednesday, contact and all.

* MLB Mike Marry has made himself about as valuable as any player on the team. Why? Let us count the reasons. One, he's a leader. Two, he knows the defense inside and out. Three, he doesn't take false steps or get himself out of position. Four, he's one of the more physical players on the team. Five, and this may be the most important one, for the first time in nearly a year and a half, he is completely healthy. No plantar fasciitis that afflicted him two years ago. No hamstring issues that slowed him down most of last year. If he stays healthy, he will have a banner senior season in 2013. Write it down.

* DT Issac Gross remains sidelined with a groin issue. The diagnosis? Rest, young man, rest.

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