Comeback

For about 2/3 of Saturday's scrimmage, it looked as if the Ole Miss offense was going to "win the day," but a late flurry by the Rebel defense captured the day's victory.

In Saturday's scrimmage, the second of spring training, in cold and blustery Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, the Ole Miss offense looked to have an edge for most of the day.

But a flurry of turnovers and big plays by the Rebel defense toward the last third of practice gave the defense a hard-fought win.

"We had way too many turnovers, way too many," said Coach Hugh Freeze of three fumbles and two interceptions on the day.

There were some positives on the offensive side of the ball, however.

"We ran the ball much better than we did last week," he continued. "The turnovers were the difference. I thought the offense had the defense off-balance for much of the day, making some big plays in the passing game and running the ball well, but the defense, as has been the case all spring, started creating turnovers and shifted the momentum of the whole practice.

"Overall, it as good competition. Considering we had our starting tailback (Jaylen Walton, hamstring) and slot receiver (Quincy Adeboyejo, groin) out, I thought we moved the ball fairly well. We just need to take care of the ball better."

In the run game, Jordan Wilkins led the way with 40 yards on 4 carries, Eugene Brazley had 36 yards on 4 carries, I'Tavius Mathers had 17 yards on 3 tries and Mark Doson had 14 yards and a TD on 4 totes.


Bo Wallace
Thomas Graning

QB Bo Wallace went a long stretch of the day in complete control, but toward the end of the day, in the Red Zone portion of the scrimmage, he threw an interception that Freeze took credit for.

"I told him not to throw it left and I should have shut my mouth and let him play," Freeze said. "It's probably a good thing I can't stand behind them on the field in games.

"Bo is showing good poise this spring and he has a good understanding of what we are trying to do."

Wallace ended up 11-17 for 164 yards, 2 TDs and a pick on the day.

WR Laquon Treadwell, who had 4 catches for 69 yards and 2 TDs, had another stellar day, as did most of the wide receiving corps.

"We are thin there, especially with Quincy and Vincent (Sanders) out, but I am very pleased with their development," Freeze assessed. "Quon continues to make big plays daily. Collins Moore and Cody Core have been consistent and are doing a good job."

Unofficially, Moore also had 4 receptions for 60 yards and TE Evan Engram had 3 for 35 yards.

A week ago, Freeze was applauding the Rebel effort and intensity, but wanted to see better execution. He's still giving an ovation for the effort and, in his mind, the execution has gotten better this week.

"With the exception of not taking care of the ball, which I know is important, we executed better all week. The turnovers always make you feel bad, but we can put a heavier emphasis on that and correct a lot of that," he closed. "I'm pleased with the turnovers the defense is creating, but we had a few too many penalties there today.

"As long as they keep giving us this type of effort, we will finish spring on a positive note."

Random Notes

* Cornerback Senquez Golson also missed Saturday's practice with a stomach virus. "He was willing to try to go, but he had an episode right before practice started so we told him to sit it out today," said Freeze. . . In his absence, Derrick Jones and Mike Hilton got the nod with the first unit.

* Carlos Thompson and C.J. Johnson were the starting defensive ends. Thompson is apparently having a solid spring and has edged out, for now, Fadol Brown, who is also having a good spring. The thinking? DC Dave Wommack wants more edge speed and Thompson provides that, but early in the scrimmage Brown beat his blocker and absolutely obliterated QB Devante Kincade from behind, forcing a fumble.


Jeremy Liggins
Thomas Graning

* All-American FS Cody Prewitt is having better luck this spring holding on to the ball when he has had the opportunity for an interception. Before the actual scrimmage started, during a third-down situational drill, Cody stepped in front of a Wallace pass, gathered it in and romped 55 yards for a TD.

* The backup QBs took some lumps Saturday. Kincade managed a decent day, going 3-6 for 17 yards with 1 pick and rushing (live) for 25 yards on 8 carries, but Ryan Buchanan and Jeremy Liggins combined for a 1-9 passing day and Liggins had a fumble on a third-and-short situation that was returned for a long defensive score by OLB Serderius Bryant, who raced 80 yards for the TD.

* Wallace to Treadwell is becoming more and more lethal. Treadwell is not only beating defenders at times, but even when he is covered tightly, he's out-muscling them for the ball. Strong youngster who simply attacks the ball in the air.

* While Kincade did not have a great day, what he did show was very good mobility in the pocket and when he tucked the ball to run. He's got some quickness and he is a tough runner who does not go down with the first contact a lot. He got hit hard several times and kept popping up for more.

* Jared Duke, who started at LG last year on the Rebel OL, was standing on the sidelines during the scrimmage. What are his thoughts on the development of the OL this spring? "I think they are doing remarkably well," Duke, who goes to most practices, said. "They are better right now than we (the 2013 OL) were midway through August practice last year. Those young guys - Tunsil, Golson, Bouldin - are going to be real special in time."

* MLB Temario Strong, DT Issac Gross, DE C.J. Johnson and MLB D.T. Shackelford all had QB sacks on the day and OLB Keith Lewis recovered a Wilkins fumble after a good gain. Also, DT Bryan Bennett had a scoop and score from 25 yards out on a Buchanan fumble after a blindside hit.

* CB Cliff Coleman had the interception Freeze was referencing when he directed Bo where to throw the ball in the Red Zone.

* C.J. Johnson got shaken up on a collision with D.T. trying to make a tackle and banged up his shoulder a little bit, but Freeze said it was not serious.

* Another c.J. - freshman Hampton - is making his presence known more and more daily. He not only had a late interception off of Kincade in the end zone, he laid two or three big licks on ballcarriers. The youngster apparently likes the physical side of football.

* Another newbie making his presence known is DE Marquis Haynes. It will be had to keep him off the field when fall rolls around if he continues to progress the way he has in three weeks of spring ball. He was a steal for the Rebel staff in recruiting.

* One of the most improved players on the team is RG Daronte Bouldin, the redshirt freshman. "He's still making some mistakes, but he has a lot of ability and he will get there," said OL Coach Matt Luke. "I think, in time, he's going to be a real good one."

* Engram has picked up where he left off before last year's injury. Linebackers just can't cover him and he is fearless over the middle in traffic. Good to see him back at 100% and rolling.

* From an untrained eye, where are the issues? A familiar tune - depth on the OL, depth at WR for now - Sanders, Quincy and a kid named Pack will help that - and the need for one or two more interior bodies on the defensive line.


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