Working Toward Saturday

Ole Miss moved one step closer to its Saturday match with Texas A&M with another physical practice Wednesday on the practice fields. Coach Hugh Freeze liked what he saw in the workout.

The heavy lifting for the week is over.

The Rebs went through a full-pad practice Wednesday on the practice fields and continued their "theme" of getting physical with the fundamentals, working some periods on tackling, stripping the football and techniques of blocking.

A mid-season refresher course, if you will.

"We could take a whole hour and talk about the things we have done well and the things we haven't done well. We kind of got spoiled a little bit the first couple of games with the run game and the way people played us," said Coach Hugh Freeze. "We were averaging 11-12 yards a pop on some of our perimeter runs.

"We were being played a two-high shell look. When defenses are doing that, we want to call what we were doing a lot. But it hasn't been that way the last couple of weeks and that has made us look at our whole structure and go back to some stuff that we think will help reestablish some of our stuff.

"And there is also the matter of getting back to basics and fundamentals. Sometimes you get away from the little things and we have emphasized those this week."

Texas A&M has a vaunted offense, a prolific scoring machine to this point, but what about the Aggie defense?

"It's difficult to say. We are nothing like Alabama or Arkasnas, so we can't get much off those tapes," noted Freeze.

Hugh Freeze
Ben Garrett

"We are similar to Rice and Sam Houston a little bit, and in those two games the Aggies had six or seven guys out who are back now.

"We are looking at a lot of stuff from last year and what they did against them and us. They are younger than they were last year, but they are sure athletic. There is a lot of variety in what they do, so we are having to prepare for a lot of looks."

Random Notes:

* Freeze has high praise for CB Mike Hilton. "He's a guy who commits himself to this team and his play. He watches film on our days off (Monday). He loves the game and loves being around it," noted Freeze. "He has adjusted to corner very well. He's got his hands full at 5-9 covering some of the receivers we will be facing soon, but I know he's at the right position. His eyes have been in the right place, his assignments have been sound and he's done what we have asked him to do consistently."

* Cornerback Carlos Davis has been suspended for the first six games of the 2013 season due to an ACT discrepancy. Davis, who proved himself to be a special teams ace last season, was moved to corner from running back in spring and showed good potential there. He will be eligible to play against LSU next week. The expectations are to see Davis resume his duties on the kickoff coverage team where he was frequently the first one downfield last year.

* There has been a lot said and written about freshman Quarterback Devante Kincade. Will he redshirt or play has caused most of the conversation, but what about fellow freshman QB Ryan Buchanan? Buchanan is a definite redshirt, barring a late-season injury catastrophe, and he is taking this time to work on his footwork and learning the system. QB Coach Dan Werner said Buchanan came to Ole Miss with a tendency to throw off his back foot, losing velocity and accuracy. Buchanan has been working hard to extend and plant his lead (left) foot and get more body into his throws. Werner said he likes what he has seen of Buchanan's progress with his throwing motion and getting the proper footwork down pat will help with his ball velocity.

* TB Jeff Scott missed yesterday's practice with a deep thigh bruise. The sentiment then was that Scott would return to practice today. He did and looked to be ready to rumble against the Aggies, barring any setback. "He wasn't 100% today, but he's alright. He won't stay sidelined over a thigh bruise," Freeze stated.

* Defensive End C.J. Johnson was still in a boot and on crutches at practice today. He remains questionable, but hopeful, for Saturday's contest with the Aggies. Johnson has a bone bruise on his foot. The only thing that will cure that is rest and there's no way to determine how much rest. Every person heals differently. "We are going to MRI him tonight and make sure nothing is structurally wrong. If it's not, he'll try to play, the emphasis being on 'try' to play," Freeze added. "We have to make sure playing is not going to hurt him structurally or cause him to miss time down the road. If it's just pain, he will try to give it a go, I think.". . . Let's hope a quick recovery is in store for him so he can suit up and play against Texas A&M. If not, the Rebs will go into the game with three proven DEs - Channing Ward, Cameron Whigham and Robert Nkemdiche - and a converted LB - D.T. Shackelford. Carlos Thompson (shoulder) is also sidelined with injury.

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