Manning Center Workout

Rainy weather in Oxford drove the Rebels inside the Manning Center for Wednesday's practice session as they continue preparing for Saturday morning's game against Arkansas.

Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze called Tuesday's practice "sluggish" and expressed a need for his team to "clean up some things quickly."

The Rebs were forced inside Wednesday by rainy weather, but did they look sharper? Did they meet Freeze's standard?

"It was a better day today. The energy and attention to detail was better," Freeze noted. "I'll watch the film tonight, but my first impression is that we did much better today than yesterday, which we needed."

Freshman TB Mark Dodson had a solid debut versus Idaho and that has muddled things a little at the TB slot.

"I like the way all of those guys have gone about their business. All four of them (Walton, Mathers, Dodson and K. Moore) have looked good this week," he stated. "We are not afraid to use any of the four. We'll make the call on Jeff tomorrow.

"Mark earned the right to get some looks this week. He'll probably get a carry or two or more."

After two days back, how have Mike Hilton and Robert Nkemdiche responded?

Robert Nkemdiche
Chuck Rounsaville

"They've done well. I have seen no signs they are hurting. They have looked good. They are not apprehensive either," Freeze closed.

Random Notes:

* Freshman Running Back Eugene Brazley, who had knee surgery over the summer and is redshirting this year, has started coming out to practice some to observe. He's doing light squats and pushing a light sled in the weight room now and is set to start running next month. There is hope he could get in a little bit of spring training if everything stays on schedule.

* The addition to the weight room in the Manning Center is expected to be completed "within a month." In early December, the new flooring for the weight room will be installed and a few pieces of new equipment will be brought in. Strength & Conditioning Coach Paul Jackson is not going to add a whole lot of new equipment to fill the extra square footage. Rather, he is pretty comfortable with the available equipment and will just spread things out more so workout conditions will be less cramped. . . . The new cafeteria will take longer to complete because there are a lot more moving parts to that part of the Manning Center renovation.

* TB Jeff Scott's recent MRI revealed that it's not a thigh bruise that is keeping him on the shelf. Jeff has a bone spur in his back and it's causing the nerves running on the front of his leg to flare up. He was given a shot to calm things down. There is a chance he will be available to return punts and have some spot duty at TB against Arkansas and, if the shot works as hoped, he will be ready for full action against Troy. . . . If he cannot go against Arkansas, Jordan Holder will handle punt return duties as he did against Idaho. As Freeze said, tomorrow will tell the tale.

* Redshirt Safety Anthony Alford had a hard cast on his left forearm/wrist/hand Tuesday, but he practiced. No word on what his injury is yet.

* Versatility is a great weapon for a player to have in his arsenal. Tuesday, Bryon Bennett played DT and Robert Nkemdiche played DE. Wednesday, their roles were reversed and DL Coach Chris Kiffin said that Robert would start inside at DT and Bennett would play DE, where he has been the past two weeks. "I think Rob may end up as an inside guy anyway, so he might as well go in there now and Bryon has done good things outside at DE so we are going to keep him there for now," noted Kiff. . . . Kiffin also said Nkemdiche has lost 15 pounds since his injury and he thinks that could help him with his first step quickness.

* Since the coaches are not certain about the conditioning of CB Mike Hilton, coming off a three-week hamstring injury, freshman Derrick Jones has been splitting number one reps with Mike in practice. Expect them to split reps versus the Hogs.

* Going down the stretch of the season, it appears OL Coach Matt Luke has found a comfort level with his starting group - LT Laremy Tunsil, LG Jared Duke, C Evan Swindall, RG Justin Bell and RT Pierce Burton - and with at least three valuable backups - Emmanuel McCray, who plays three positions, Patrick Junen and freshman Austin Golson. Having eight OL with a high level of trust isn't bad this time of the year. "I think the development of all those guys has been very good. We have more depth there now with Junen coming back and the development of Tunsil and Golson," said Freeze. "I am pleased with the direction that group is going."

* CB Charles Sawyer's availability for this weekend has gone from questionable to doubtful, maybe out. He has not practiced so far this week. Senquez Golson and freshman Bobby Hill are manning his slot this week.

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