'Two for Two'

Energy was the name of the game on Tuesday in the first spring practice for the Ole Miss football team. The big question leading into Wednesday's practice was could the Rebs maintain that level of intensity back-to-back? The answer was a certain 'yes,' according to Coach Hugh Freeze.

"We want to have 15 high-level, high-energy practices this spring. To get where we want to be and move this program up, we have to do that," said Freeze, after Wednesday's workout, the second of spring training. "Right now, we are two for two.

"After watching yesterday's film, we turned the ball over too much, but we played with a lot of energy. Today, we still had some turnovers, but we cut back on those some and we also had several explosive plays and there was no question the energy was there again."

Hugh is looking for effort and consistency while he builds the depth chart.

"It's all about effort, attitude and consistency while we shore up our depth chart. That will be our focus this spring," he noted. "So far, we have the highest percentage of total buy-in since we have been here, counting the offseason and the first two spring practices. We just have to keep that ball rolling.

"We, the players, are handling things the right way for the most part."

Concerning the depth situation, Freeze says he has seen improvement already.

"Just getting C.J. Johnson and Carlos Thompson back and adding C.J. Hampton, Anthony Alford, Fadol Brown, Christian Russell, Marquis Haynes and moving Channing Ward over to TE has given us a different, better look," he said. "Except O-Line and WR, we are deeper on our team, in my mind."

Freeze and his tempo-ilk peers in coaching got good news today. The NCAA tabled the proposed rule to wait ten seconds after the ball has been placed to snap it.


Hugh Freeze
Bruce Newman

"I'm happy, obviously. I'm glad it's over and we can move forward. I have respect for both sides, even those I disagree with the other side," he explained. "The right thing to do was to table it and look at it later. If they want to look into it again, let's have some great dialogue about it that involves the entire membership.

"Let's get it vetted out correctly though."

Random Notes:

* Jeff Roberson will have a story with DE Fadol Brown soon, but for a little teaser of what's going on with the big man, Freeze: "I'm real pleased so far. He's a hard worker, he plays with a high motor, he's given us more length there and he changes our look."

* Freeze was also pleased with redshirt QBs Ryan Buchanan and Devante Kincade Wednesday. "They did some very good things. Ryan had a couple of picks, but I think both of them were on the receiver running the wrong route," Hugh stated. "I couldn't be more please with their progress. Ryan understands our offense completely and today Devante broke contain and threw a 50-yard bomb on the run on the money for a TD. Plays like that change a game."

* Redshirt freshman RB Eugene Brazley, sidelined last year rehabbing a knee injury, has shown Freeze some burst he likes and has actually gotten some first-team reps for evaluation purposes. "We are trying at QB and RB to mix it up and give everyone a chance with our number one unit," Freeze stated. "That gives us a better chance to give a fair evaluation. Eugene is quick. He's a little leg weary right now and he moves around too much right now in the hole, but you can tell when he makes a one-cut move that he gets out of it pretty quick. We didn't miss on him."

* Friday will be the first full pad day, starting at 5 a.m. with meetings and 6 a.m. practice. "It's important these kids rest the next day and a half and eat properly and get ready for a lot of contact," Freeze noted. "I really think that practice will be a good one. I know it's a risk to work them as hard as we are going to this spring, but I just don't know how to get where we are to where we want to go without having physical spring practices. I think our players get it. They want to compete for the SEC West title and this is what it takes."

* Hugh on DE Marquis Haynes: "I love the kid. He's quick twitch and I think he has a very high ceiling. I think with C.J., Carlos and Marquis coming off the edge, it changes the look of our defense quickly."

* Prior to practice Freeze worked some with PKs Andy Pappanastos and Andrew Fletcher. They each had six kicks from 42 yards out. Both were 5-6, both had plenty of clearance to spare and both kick really high balls. Promising first look. P.S. - WR John Ratliff appears to be first in line to hold on placements and Will Denny, the reliable one, returns to handle snapping chores.


I'Tavius Mathers
Bruce Newman

* CB Derrick Jones (hip flexor) and DE C.J. Johnson (precaution) sat out Tuesday's practice but both were full speed Wednesday. . . CB Senquez Golson (hamstring), WR Vincent Sanders (hamstring), WR Cody Core (hamstring) and the two Morrises, Aaron and Christian, were all out today. The Morrises will miss all of spring. Sanders, Core and Golson are expected back after spring break.

* DT Bryon Bennett had a poor second half of last season and fell off the radar toward the end of the year. He is making a comeback of sorts. "We challenged Bryon in the offseason and he has been tremendous," said Freeze. Bennett is currently behind Issac Gross, but the drop off from one to the other is minimal with the effort Bryon is giving now.

* OLB Serderius Bryant is taking his suspension sanctions seriously. He has been allowed to practice this spring and is making an effort to become the leader of the LBs. First in line for drills, all-out effort and encouraging teammates. Good signs.

* Channing Ward's transition to TE seems to be going well. After one run play, Ward made a textbook block on a DE and got a chest bump from Freeze. He also caught several passes and appears to have solid, if not better, hands.

* Jeremy Liggins dropped back to pass and with what seemed to be a flick of his wrist, threw a 60-yard strike to a streaking Laquon Treadwell in the end zone for a score. Strong arm. P.S. - Trust me on this - no DB wants to hit him if he breaks past the LOS. It would be TKO Liggins.

* Kincade, not to be outdone, threw a 50-yard bomb on the run rolling right and then followed up rolling left and threw a 20-yard bullet back to his right on the run to Quincy Adeboyejo. Another strong armed youngster, Kincade.

* CB Anthony Standifer is trying to redeem himself after being kicked off the team last year and being given a second chance this spring. Today, he responded with two interceptions.

* At center, Ben Still seems to be the most consistent with the shotgun snaps required in this offense. Robert Conyers, who is also playing RT, had some issues today in that area. Still had none.

* Walkon Wideout Cale Luke had two long TD receptions today, one from Kincade and one from Bo Wallace.

* One player who has changed his body for the better is MLB Temario Strong. He's lost some weight and is much leaner now, which has helped his quickness and LB Coach Tom Allen said the light has come on for Strong with his quest to learn the entire defense. "He came in an hour early today and did nothing but study film," said Allen."He wants it badly and looks much more comfortable now than he has in the past."


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