Another In The Books

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Rebels continued their march toward Monday's Music City Bowl tilt with Georgia Tech with another workout at Montgomery Bell Academy, that is hosting all Ole Miss practices this week.

The Rebels were greeted with an overcast day, replete with a light sprinkle, Saturday at MBA, where they held a non-contact practice for an hour and a half.

Once again, all eyes were on freshman Tight End Evan Engram and DT Woodrow Hamilton, who are coming of the injury list and are anticipated to play in the bowl game.

"Evan is still sore, but he's going to try to go. I'm not sure what we will get out of him in the game, but we are hoping to get enough plays from him that he will be a factor. We can do more things with him in the lineup," said Coach Hugh Freeze. "Woody has gone through all the drills and went through contact yesterday. It looks as if he will be ready to play."

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for freshman Left Tackle Laremy Tunsil, who has not worked out in Nashville.

"It doesn't look good for Laremy. We were hoping he would be able to practice when we got to Nashville, but it hasn't worked out that way," Freeze said.

Hugh Freeze
Ole Miss Athletics/Josh McCoy

Swindall has ben the starting center for three years. Now his Rebel career is coming to a close.

"It all went too fast," said Swindall. "I am real proud of the turnaround we have had in the last two years under Coach Freeze and working with Coach (Matt) Luke has been great. He's an outstanding coach. The seniors not only want to win our last game for ourselves, but for them too. We want to leave behind a program on the rise and an 8-5 record would be an indication of that."

Evan believes the center position will be in good hands next year.

"Robert Conyers and Ben Still have spent a lot of time with me in the film room and I think they are going to be fine. Plus, Coach Luke may try Justin Bell there or Austin Golson. Out of those four candidates, one will emerge to hold down the position well," he noted.

One more game to go for #56. What does he expect from the Yellow Jacket defense?

"Georgia Tech has a really good front seven because they are high effort guys and they are sound. They work hard. They will be a tough challenge," he noted. "They do a lot of things the SEC defenses do. They are not as heavy physically, but they have as good a motor as anyone we have played."

Random Notes:

* Without Tunsil and freshman OG Austin Golson, out after postseason shoulder surgery, the Rebs will be going with eight offensive linemen. The starters will be RT Pierce Burton, RG Justin Bell, C Evan Swindall, LG Jared Duke and LT Emmanuel McCray. . . The backups will be Patrick Junen, who can play all OL positions except center, Robert Conyers, who can play both tackles and C and Ben Still, who can play center. . . At the Monday press conference with Tech Coach Paul Johnson, Freeze was lamenting the lack of depth. Johnson said, with a smile, "You've got three more lineman than I have. I've got five."

* The Rebels appear extremely loose during practice. They are doing what they are supposed to be doing with a bowl bid - having fun, but when it comes time to work, they are focused and intense. It's been a good practice environment as the Music City Bowl rapidly approaches.

* The starting DL? Right now, it looks as if Robert Nkemdiche and Issac Gross, healthier than he has been all year, will hold down the tackle slots and senior Cameron Whigham and D.T. Shackelford will get the nod at the defensive end slots.

* TB Jeff Scott was not at practice Saturday due to a severe illness in his immediate family. It is doubtful he will be back in time for the game. Without him there, Jordan Holder, Korvic Neat and Trae Elston were handling the punt returns chores.

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