Mental Approach

In a normal week, with a game the following Saturday, the Rebels would have physical practices on Tuesday and Wednesday and start tapering off from the contact on Thursday and Friday, concentrating more on the mental aspects of the game. The approach this week, with the game on Thursday, if focusing more on the mental side.

It looked odd - the Rebels taking the practice field of the Manning Center on a Tuesday in shells, helmets and shorts, but this is an odd week.

The Egg Bowl, as you are well aware, is Thanksgiving night and the Ole Miss coaches have opted to approach things a bit differently, with an emphasis on the mental approach and a little less of the physical.

"This week is more mental for us. Obviously, we had to have some physical work yesterday, but we need to go into the game as fresh as we can," said Freeze. "These practices are designed to preserve their physical ability and get their minds sharp with mental reps.

"Eleven games into the season, with seven SEC games behind us, we don't need a reminder that it will be a physical game Thursday. We need a reminder to do things the right way, which is mental. All of us already understand how physical it will be."

Freeze liked what he saw out of his troops on Tuesday.

"It was a good day. The guys seemed tuned in to the mental approach we are taking. They know how important our fits and gameplans are," he stated. "The attitude was great and we have enjoyed the atmosphere out here. We will go see the men's basketball team play here shortly to eat up some time and spend some time together.

"It was a good day. I think they are focused."

Bo Wallace
File Photo

Another part of the mental game, which Freeze did not feel the Rebs handled well against Missouri, was the cold weather and there are predictions of even more cold in Starkville Thursday night.

"I did not think we handled the weather well the other night. I don't talk about those things a lot, but I did today with the team," he noted. "We got behind and our mind was not our friend. It will play tricks on you and trick you. One of the core values of our program is mental toughness and we will have to have that Thursday night.

"There will be some adverse times in that game and we have to respond better than we did Saturday. Both teams have to play in it, but it is a factor."

Freeze would have preferred to go outside this week, but wet conditions kept the team inside.

"I wasn't going to go out in the wet weather and risk injury, but I would have preferred to go outside this week," he said. "We will go out in the cold tomorrow in our walk-through at the hotel, but the bottom line is we have to handle the conditions."

There has been some Twitter action from the Mississippi State players this week. Freeze doesn't expect the Rebs players to reciprocate.

"I talk to our guys every week about social media. They know how we want to represent our program and I trust they will do that the way we want it done," he noted.

Random Notes:

* How was QB Bo Wallace, who was suffering from the flu against Missouri and on his way to recovery? "He felt some lingering effects this morning. He was a little weak today, but he went through everything in practice and we will get him off his feet the rest of the day," said Freeze.

* Freeze said senior CB Charles Sawyer probably cannot go against the Bulldogs and it doesn't appear TB Jeff Scott is any better off either. Neither practiced Tuesday.

* DT Woodrow Hamilton, who has a lower back issue, did return to practice today as did WR Cody Core, who is dealing with an ankle issue. "I think both of them will play. They may be limited, but they are going to try to go," noted Freeze.

* Freeze has fostered a focused, but relaxed, atmosphere in practice this week. That approach is important to him. "I want our players to see that this staff does not change from game to game, win or lose, good times to bad times," he added. "I want consistency in this program in the way we approach things. A lot of people figuratively live and die with the outcomes of football games and I am determined that won't be me or us. We understand how important it is and we want our players to understand that as well, but we also want them to understand where the game of football is in the big scheme of things."

* Freeze has been implementing piped in cowbell noise into practice sessions. "We better get used to that," he said. "We don't know how the process has been going with the regulations on those, but we certainly expect to hear some in this game."

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