High Energy

The Rebels got a beautiful day - sunny and 45 degrees - and took advantage of it with a crisp practice on the Ole Miss practice fields Wednesday.

Sparked by a full-speed cut blocking drill that Coach Hugh Freeze said "makes me cringe," the Rebels resumed practice Wednesday on the practice fields and turned in what Hugh called a "high energy workout."

"It was good to get out on the grass and the effort was great. We had real high energy," said Freeze. "We got some real good work done."

Freeze and his offensive staff are working hard to jump start an offense that scored only one TD in eight quarters against Missouri and MSU.

"We are working hard to stay on schedule and stay balanced and in manageable situations," he said. "For us, it's about being able to run the ball. As I have said, the games we did well in, we were able to run the ball. The games we didn't, we didn't run the ball well.

"We are working hard on fundamentals, like the track of the back, the quarterback reads and blocking the down linemen more effectively. We have worked really hard on that for five days now and hopefully it will show up in the bowl game. I have seen progress there. Our backs are understanding and maturing and are watching cutups of teams that do those things well. We are working on the little things, which we may have ignored some during the season - a lesson I have learned. The kids seem determined to get the bad taste from the last two games out of their mouths, but let's be real - right now they don't have the pressures of class and that has helped motivate them as well. They have more energy to devote to football."

On the defensive side, the cut blocking drill is still in full swing. That's a scary proposition with the risk of injury, but it's what Georgia Tech and what the Rebels must be schooled on.

"I want to blow the whistle and stop it about half the time," said Freeze, "but I know if we don't practice it, we will pay for it. The guys doing the cuts for us are doing a phenomenal job and that's important, but it is extremely scary from a risk standpoint.

"Anthony Alford is so good at cutting defenders in the open field that we may have to install that next year for him. It's important to take on that block, keep your balance and go get the ball carrier or divert the runner to our help. There has been a drastic difference in how we are handling that type of block now versus five days ago. Some of our defensive guys have gotten really good at it."

Random Notes:

* Update on TE Evan Engram and LT Laremy Tunsil? "Laremy is running in the pool and we don't know much yet," said Freeze. "Evan is going to be released the first day we get to Nashville. He's going to try to go. Whether he can or not remains to be seen, but he will be medically released the 26th and give it a try."

* Frosh TE Christian Morgan, who has had recurring kneecap issues, has decided to give football up. "He just doesn't think he can overcome that difficult, recurring injury he has had," said Freeze. "He may stay here or he may transfer - he has not decided that. He made that decision early this week. It's been on his mind for some time. We wish him well in whatever he decides."

* The Rebels signed EMCC MLB Christian Russell today and Freeze, who can talk about a signee, was asked about the new addition. "We are getting an athletic Mike LB who can run. The guy competed every game for a JUCO national championship team," noted Freeze. "We have a need there and we watched him closely for a long time. At the championship game practices, our coaches we extremely impressed. We had to fight hard to get him in the midnight hours, but we are really glad we have him. Christian has had a hard life and has really had to overcome a lot. He is hungry. I am really pleased we have him on board."

* The question is posed to us daily - where will Anthony Alford play next year? So we asked Freeze. "Take your pick - Wildcat QB, safety, punt return, kickoff return - the kid is a difference-maker," said Freeze. "Trust me, he will be on the field a lot in some capacity."

* The same question was posed about DL Fadol Brown. "Fadol could play outside or inside. I am really impressed with him and he's a great kid who wants it badly," Freeze noted. "Against power teams, he is a big body who can play off the edge. Against spread teams, he is big and strong enough to play inside if we need him there."

* It's not looking as if senior WR Ja-Mes Logan is going to be eligible for the bowl game. Tough break for a player who has given a lot to the program, but having said that, the Music City Bowl may be a coming out party, of sorts, for freshman Quincy Adeboyejo and sophomore Cody Core. "They have both done really well in Logan's place," said WR Coach Grant Heard. "Quincy is a lot like Ja-Mes. Cody is going to be a very good player for us. He is starting to gain confidence and come into his own. He's got good speed and length. I am excited about him and he may have a big day in the bowl game."

* We'll have more on QB Bo Wallace in a separate story in a day or two, but the highlight of the interview with him today was that physically, he's just not where he needs to be. "Not being able to workout for six months has really hurt me physically. I haven't been able to make the throws I made the past two years," he said. "My arm is weak right now. I will get it back with a good offseason because I am in no pain and I am structurally sound, but this year I have played quarterback with my mind more than my body. I am anxious for my senior year when I am sharp mentally and physically."

* Redshirt freshman QB Ryan Buchanan may be the holder on placements next year. Chris Conley is a senior and Ryan has been working as the holder in practices this week. He's shown good hands thus far.

* Senior TB Jeff Scott has returned to practice and looks very fresh and rejuvenated. He's running as well now as he was the first day of August practice and his presence is being noticed.

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