That Sound. . .

Football season officially started last Thursday when the team reported, but Ole Miss football officially started this morning with the sound of pads popping as the Rebs donned shoulder pads for the first time this preseason in practice.

You know Rebel football is here when players start putting on their armor.

Sunday morning was the first practice with shoulder pads and helmets and it produced the sound all football fans crave - pads popping.

"The sun came out and they got a little wilted with the extra weight they were carrying. We felt a little sorry for ourselves. We have to overcome that. Sometimes our mind tells us we can't do things we really can, so we have to overcome that," Coach Hugh Freeze said. "We did some good things though. I'm not dissatisfied by any means. Some of the first day in pads stuff in noon heat you expect."

The Rebels started practice at 10:15 and went until 12:15 - the heat of the day toward the end.

"We need some heat. We need a test of our willpower so today was good," Freeze noted.

All eyes are on QB Bo Wallace's right wing since he experienced soreness in it yesterday and that was a big topic of discussion.

"We saved him a little until the end and I think that helped him. He wasn't complaining today. We just have to take it real slow," he noted.

Wallace said he was frustrated yesterday, but felt better today.

"I don't know, I just expected to be a little further along. I thought I would be 100 percent by camp and I'm not quite, but today was better," Wallace said. "The good thing is that I'm not sore where the surgery was. It's more toward the elbow, so that is encouraging. I'll be fine. I just want to be fine now."

Robert Nkemdiche
Chuck Rounsaville

Random Notes:

* Injury update: Freeze said he felt DE C.J. Johnson was the closest to coming back of the group that is currently out. "Patrick (Junen) is coming along nicely but will be a while," said Freeze. "Charles (Sawyer) will a while and Issac (Gross), I'm just not sure. Issac is the one I am worried about for the opener. Charles, it's hard to say."

* With the 6-8 week loss of WR Vincent Sanders with a broken collarbone, what will be the impact on the offense. "Ja-Mes is prepared to play inside and out. We have some good young ones, but Korvic's (Neat) role has to increase. It's certainly a blow. The guy knew everything we do and did it at a fast pace," Freeze stated. "He had a good offseason. Hopefully, he will only miss three games. I'm also excited about the young kids. I'm impressed with Quincy (Adeboyjo) and Laquon (Treadwell). They pick things up quickly and they have a high skill level. They will help us this year. Also Cody Core figures into the equation. Right now, our outside guys would be Donte Moncrief, Ja-Mes, Quincy and Cody."

* Reshirt freshman RT Robert Conyers is pulling double duty for now. He's learning how to snap the ball and is playing some center along with his right tackle reps.

* In a brief kickoff return drill Sunday, Jaylen Walton, Kailo Moore, Mark Doson, Trey Elston and I'tavius Mathers were used as the deep men. Other than Walton, that's mostly bigger bodies with speed, which is what the coaches want in that high-impact assignment.

* The coaches are always looking for more safety-tight end-linebacker type bodies for special teams. Two newbies who fill that role already are TE Evan Engram and Safeties Derrick Jones and Tony Connor. "Any of these freshmen we don't redshirt will certainly be called upon to help on special teams if they have the capabilities. Those three absolutely do have that kind of talent - big guys who can run," Freeze stated.

* Treadwell was moved from outside wide receiver to the inside today. The move adds a bigger body to that position. He is working there with Neat, Collins Moore and Jordan Holder.

Ja-Mes Logan
Chuck Rounsaville

* Senior Brishen Mathews played Husky in spring training. He has been moved to free safety now and is competing with Cody Prewitt, Derrick Jones and Tyriek Garcia. Chief Brown can also play free safety, but he is currently at Rover (SS) with Elston and Anthony Alford.

* At Husky, Mike Hilton and Tony Connor are battling things out, but Cliff Coleman, a veteran who played corner in spring, has been move to that slot. Josh Richardson also gets Husky reps.

* OG Patrick Junen did dress out Sunday, but was very limited in what he did. You'll recall, he's overcoming not only a surgically repaired wrist injury but a surgically repaired toe injury as well.

* In team drills to end the practice, TB Jeff Scott ripped off a 70-yard run to open things up nicely for the offense. RB Coach Derrick Nix is going to have fun sorting out the running back situation. Scott is apparently "the man," but it seems all of the candidates make a play or two a game that is impressive. Walton had a big gainer in an early tempo team drill and Mathers and Dodson also had nice runs. Again, Kailo Moore showed his speed after catching a short pass for a big gain in the open field as well. Good problem to have.

* With Bo limited early in practice, freshman Devante Kincade turned some heads in some passing drills. He showed a nice deep ball - a tight spiral of over 50 yards, a 35-yarder on the line and an accurate 10-yard throw in full sprint out mode to his right. The kid has a live arm, no doubt about that.

* Cb Bobby Hill is making an impression as well of the newcomers. As thin as the Rebs are at corner, Hill is proving to be athletic enough to handle the position. The issue? Like all these freshmen, he's swimming mentally and will have to play catch-up in the learning department. . . Derrick Jones is another newcomer in the secondary that has raised some eyebrows early on due to his athleticism. He's rangy and has plenty of room to fill out on his lanky frame.

* We're trying to piece together a decent, somewhat accurate depth chart, but it's probably going to take a couple of more days to let the dust settle a little more. We'll keep you posted.

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