High Energy

It wasn't always pretty. It wasn't always the way the coaches draw it up. In fact, it was - overall - a so-so workout from the standpoint of execution, but the energy level and intensity of the first spring practice session tonight in the Manning Center intensity was off the charts.

Make no mistake about it - the message that this spring football will be high octane and high energy was sent and received as the Rebels opened spring drills in the Manning Center Tuesday night.

There were mistakes aplenty, which is natural for the first spring practice as coaches try to meld new players into reps, but the pace was outstanding.

"The defense looked pretty good. The offense was out of synch. From an execution standpoint, it was pretty average, but I was pleased with the way the kids ran around," said Freeze. "It's so hard to tell a lot without pads on, but you could tell they were excited and gave us excellent effort."

The Rebels had a solid 1-hour, 45-minute workout and there was non-stop action the whole time, from drills to unit work to full team competition.

"We wanted to set a tone for the spring," Freeze noted. "We want this kind of energy and effort every single practice this spring. After tonight, they all know what we expect, veterans and newcomers."

Obviously, all eyes were on the quarterback position for much of the practice because that's where several story lines are for the early going.

How is Bo Wallace's arm after a full offseason? He says as good as it's been since he's been here. He certainly threw better than he did at the end of the 2013 season. . .

It was also apparent redshirts Devante Kincade and Ryan Buchanan have been working hard since the season. Ryan's arm strength has improved noticeably. Kincade's arm, always strong, appears more under control under duress.

C.J. Hampton
Thomas Graning

And then there is Jeremy Liggins, the biggest QB ever at Ole Miss, hands down. The young man is massive, particularly from the waist down, bigger than any OL on the team and his arm is very, very strong. He throws BBs.

Kendrick Doss, like most freshmen QBs at their first practice, looked tense, but he also has a live arm.

The battle for the number two spot is about to get real interesting. The good thing? The coaches have viable, legitimate options, if first looks mean much.

Random Notes:

* There are three "Qs" at slot - Quincy Adeboyejo, Quintavius Burdette and Quadarias Mireles. While Burdette and Mireles look to be guys who can help the team in the slot, Adeboyejo has taken his game to a new level. It is apparent he has worked hard in the offseason. He is a bit thicker now and more explosive from a physical standpoint and, mentally, we watched a much more confident athlete tonight. His star is rising rapidly.

* DE C.J. Johnson was held out of practice today and it's likely he may not go this week as a precaution. . . RT Austin Golson did not do any team work or one-on-ones with defensive linemen, but he went through all individual (indo) drills. They are both expected to return to full action after spring break, if not sooner.

* 6th-year senior D.T. Shackelford no longer wants to go by D.T.. He wants to be called by his birth name - Deterrian - and it is now listed that way on the official roster.

* Several players got reps at new positions. Channing Ward at tight end (he caught a couple of passes); Kailo Moore at corner (it looks as if he's going to have the goods there); Chief Brown at Husky (his natural position, the coaches believe); the three Q's in the slot (Adeboyejo is a stud in the making); Carlton Martin at RG (certainly athletic enough if he can catch on); and Golson to RT (another one moving to his "natural" position.) We will keep you posted on their progress, but from a quick glance, they all showed flashes the moves will be good for them.

* We saw one injury on the day - RS freshman Trey Beldsoe hurt his shoulder on a diving catch on the turf over the middle. The severity of the injury is not known right now.

* Another player who stood out was thud end (Bandit)Fadol Brown, who sat out last season due to the transfer rule. He is already working with the first unit in Cameron Whigham's spot. Cam was a steady player, maybe even underrated, but the early indication with Fadol is he is a bigger, faster, stronger Whigham who is expected to provide more edge pressure from the thud position than Cam was able to muster.

* The conditioning of the team is obviously good. Kudos to S&C Coach Paul Jackson and staff. Freeze put the team through the proverbial wringer tonight and they held up. Unconditioned athletes would not have handled that pace.

" It was hard to tell much, yet, with the mid-term guys because of their hesitancy and the tension of first-practice jitters, but a few things were noticeable. DE Marquis Haynes is pure athlete with an extremely quick first step. C.J. Hampton definitely looks the part of a free safety. MLB Chrisitan Russell's head is spinning right now, but he's got good speed and movement. Doss appeared very nervous, but that did not hide his athleticism.

* From what we could see, nobody blocked Robert Nkemdiche and Issac Gross much all day. Nkemdiche is no longer a freshman and there is not a bit of hesitancy in his play. He is turning it loose. And Issac is healthy for the first time since the 2012 season and it shows.

* It was good to see DE Carlos Thompson, who missed most of last year with nerve damage in his shoulder, back on the field and obviously feeling good. With C.J. out today, Carlos took first-team DE reps and showed up on more than one negative play.

* If there was any concern about Laquon Treadwell moving from slot to the outside to take over for Donte Moncrief, lose it. While we know this is a mouthful, he may end up better than his predecessor. Quon looked terrific today - bigger and faster than he was last season.

* The number one OL in team drills today was LT Laremy Tunsil, back in fine form; LG Daronte Bouldin, getting several kudos from OL Coach Matt Luke; C Ben Still, 15 pounds heavier than last season; RG Justin Bell, steady Justin; and RT Robert Conyers and Davion Johnson splitting time with Golson being held out.

* The top DL was Bandit Fadol Brown, DTs Gross and Nkemdiche and DE Thompson with C.J. not participating today.

* The Rebs will have another closed practice session Wednesday at 3:30 and then an open practice at 6:00 a.m. Friday.

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