On the Mend

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze didn't spend much time chatting with reporters on the post-spring SEC teleconference on Wednesday.

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Really, there was no reason to. His four minutes was enough, seeing as the Rebels finished up spring training nearly three weeks ago and are well into their off-season strength and conditioning program. Most questions were answered by the conclusion of the Grove Bowl April 6.

Save for, of course, the status of quarterback Bo Wallace, recovering from surgery on this throwing shoulder. Freeze said he's "about 10 days out" from beginning his throwing program. The junior didn't practice at all this spring, though he did dress out.

"We've got a plan in place for him," Freeze said. "We're about 10 days out. I know the doctors feel like everything's going well. The plan I've seen is a gradual process. You want to make sure you don't overdo it, but they're going to push it pretty aggressively."

Freeze was fairly pleased with the work his team got in over 15 practices spanning the latter weeks of March and first week of April. However, the offense struggled, with the absence of Wallace a big reason why.

Wallace started all 13 games last season, completing 235 of 368 passing attempts. He totaled the second-most total yards (3,384), third-most passing yards (2,994) and fourth-most touchdown passes (22) in a single season in school history.

"I think it has something to do with missing Bo," Freeze said of the offensive struggles, "but it probably had more to do with us losing three offensive linemen this spring, and we struggled probably more up there that caused some of the issues we were experiencing at quarterback.

Bo Wallace
USA TODAY images

"I think it was a combination of that. I certainly think it would have benefited (Wallace) greatly to be at spring. Every single day, he took every mental rep. We would just stand back and discuss. I do think there's some benefit in that, because his struggle last year was being late on throws that caused a turnover, trying to force something. Hopefully those mental reps are going to help him when he starts doing it live again."

Ole Miss was 7-6 last season, a five-game turnaround from 2011 in the first year under Freeze, culminating in a blowout win over Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Ala., in January. Freeze signed a top-10 recruiting class in February.

His program has momentum. But if the spring was any indication - the Rebels dealt with a myriad of injuries along the offensive line, at wide receiver, etc. - his program still has a long way to go to get to where Freeze wants it to be.

"Well, we feel like we took strides in the right direction, particularly defensively," he said. "We were able to stay fairly healthy on that side of the ball, and I thought they dominated pretty much the entire spring. We, unfortunately, had some injuries on the offensive side the last two weeks of spring that really showed again our lack of depth. We were fortunate last year in the season to get through the season playing the same five offensive linemen and same receivers. Don't know that we can count on ever having that again.

"So, it kind of just revealed to me again we're still early in our process. But the kids' attitude and effort was phenomenal in all 15 practices. I do feel we made some great strides. It was a success. I wish I felt better about what we got accomplished offensively. We've got a lot of work to do between now and fall, especially on that side."

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