Night Moves

The opening game against Vanderbilt will be on a Thursday night. Consequently, Rebel Coach Hugh Freeze wants to get the Rebels' game clock set. He made a step in that direction by holding a 7:15 practice tonight.

"It was good tonight," said Coach Hugh Freeze. "We had yesterday off and came back late tonight. I thought it was a good practice.

"We got a lot of us versus us stuff and then later ina the practice we started introducing some things we might see in the game against Vandy. We also got in some good special teams work early."

Freeze was asked his thoughts on Saturday's scrimmage after getting to review the film.

"I thought the offense came out really strong and look really efficient. We stayed on schedule," said Freeze. "Bo (Wallace) did some really nice things and the receivers caught the ball well. The O-line is definitely getting better.

"Then the defense rallied and came on strong. It was back and forth from that point on. Our defensive front played well in the latter parts of the scrimmage but our secondary is still hit or miss. We get out of position sometimes and give up the big play, which is what we said all along we cannot do. We are working hard to get that corrected. Overall, there was some good back-and-forth, for sure."

In the scrimmage, LT Emmanuel McCray had some personal issues to take care of and missed the workout. Freshman Laremy Tunsil took his place on the first unit.

"Laremy did very well. (OL Coach) Matt (Luke's) words were that he graded out as high as any freshman he has ever coached in a scrimmage. He's right on track," noted Freeze.

In the past week, it was not the first time Freeze had complimented the progress of the Reb offense. What was the difference?

Matt Luke
Chuck Rounsaville

"It's never just one guy. Obviously, the quarterback usually gets more criticism than he deserves and more credit than he deserves, but if your front is playing well, it makes that guy's job a lot better," said Freeze. "We are in better synch up front, and our receivers are getting on the same page. We have some young receivers who are starting to understand and get a feel on things. That makes it an easier throw.

"Our improvement has been a combination of things, but certainly better decisions by Bo has had a lot to do with it as well."

Random Notes:

* The Rebels had as close to a "full house" of personnel as they have had all of August. . . DE C.J. Johnson was dressed and ready to go after missing a two or three days last week to rest a sore Achilles tendon. "He went the whole practice, so did Issac (Gross)," Freeze stated. . . DE Robert Nkemdiche was back at full speed after missing most of last week with a strained groin. . . CB Senquez Golson has been nursing a sore hamstring since the second day of camp, but he was dressed out Monday night. Senquez was very limited in what he was allowed to do, but was jogging through some drills and working hard on an exercise bike when he wasn't taking half-speed reps. . . OG Patrick Junen was allowed to do more than he's been doing and is hopefully on the path to coming back full strength in the near future. "He went the whole practice, which was good to see," noted Hugh . . CB Charles Sawyer was running full speed, but was still in a white jersey signifying no contact. Other than being cautious with the contact side of things, Sawyer is back and will be released for contact soon. . . TE Christian Morgan was fully dressed out for the first time after a two-day acclimation period last week. He was very limited in what he did, but he's out there giving it a go. "He seemed to be running fluidly and he has good hands," Freeze allowed. "He didn't get enough spring in to get an evaluation, so he's like a newcomer, but we are so shorthanded there that hopefully we can get him ready for a package or two, at least.". . . Freshman DT Herbert Moore, who dislocated his shoulder a week or so ago, was dressed out and back at practice today. . . . LB/DE D.T. Shackelford, after missing two days last week, returned to duty Saturday and was back out in the grind today. "We are right on track, we just need to keep them all healthy between now and next Thursday," Hugh added.

* The only "no-show," other than WR Vincent Sanders, who is rehabbing from a broken collarbone early in camp and will miss three games, was TB I'tavius Mathers, who rolled his ankle in the first scrimmage nine days ago and has not been able to practice since. The hope is that he will be back later this week.

* The first four periods of practice tonight were dedicated to special teams and making sure the different personnel on special teams were alert for any scenario. Good work - the last thing you want is 10 guys to line up for the punt team or a field goal. Backups were also schooled.

* A knock-on-wood omen, perhaps. There were no new injuries from last Saturday's scrimmage. It was a live scrimmage and the coaches were holding their collective breath, but the Rebs came out of the workout unscathed.

* The Rebs worked on the stadium field under the lights tonight. The stadium renovations are looking sweet. The field turf has bright, new lettering in the end zones, in the middle and the two SEC logos. The brick at field level, along with the white capping, is completed. The only thing left to do is to put down the blue turf that will expand the working area on each sideline. It will look sharp when the home opener rolls around.

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