Progress Report

After a mock game last night and a hot practice today, Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze gave his analysis of the Rebel team, in general, to this point of August camp.



"We got to get out in the heat today and we've had very little of that. We handled it OK," Freeze said. "Of course, it will be 72 degrees in the dome Thursday night, so it's not a concern now, but we need to work in the heat some more.

"Week 2, we have an afternoon game, so we better be ready for the heat."

How did the Rebs handle the heat?

"They did OK, but it took its toll a little. They haven't had a day off yet, so that was part of it too. We are giving them all of tomorrow off," he noted. "Considering everything, I thought they did OK with the heat and practiced well."

Freeze gave a brief progress report on the Rebels.

"We had our final mock game last night and I thought our fits were really good on defense with the ones. The twos have some work to do," he assessed. "Offensively, it was as good a mock game as we have had as far as execution. There were only two MAs.

"The QBs understood the looks they were getting and the receivers made the correct adjustments. In the kicking game, Will (Gleeson) had a great night on our sky punts and coming out punts. In field goals, there's still a battle, but (Andrew) Fletcher still has the edge from 43 and in. The long field goals, we still aren't sure yet who will handle those."

During the last media opportunity, Freeze mentioned that another receiver needed to step up. Has that happened?


Ole Miss wide receiver Markell Pack.

"Markell Pack has had two really good days in a row, so we are pleased with him and we will rep him hard between now and game time," noted Freeze. "Also Trey Bledsoe has done well lately. Trey would be the outside guy and Pack the inside guy in the bottom part of the rotation."

This August, it is well-documented the switch from QB to tight end for Jeremy Liggins. His progress report?

"We have limited using him at QB for now because we want him to keep learning at TE and we don't want him overwhelmed," Hugh continued. "Anthony Alford has done really well in that Wildcat QB role. He's a quick learner. He knows how to set up blocks and he has patience when it's called for. He can also throw it a bit, which helps.

"We have limited Jeremy to three packages for week one so we don't confuse him. He's getting those down. He still makes some MAs, but when he does it right, he's pretty good."

Freeze was asked about Boise State.

"It's hard for us to put our finger on their identity with new coaches, etc," he said. "I'm sure we'll have to do some adjustments as we go Thursday night. What we do know is that they have been one of the most successful programs in the nation the last decade and they know how to win.

"They have a good QB, an NFL caliber RB, good receivers, tow excellent corners and a very active LB. And they enjoy playing in big games - they have proven that. It will be a big test for us."

Random Notes:

* Freshman FS C.J. Hampton didn't have a good start to August practice, but of late, he has come on stronger and stronger. "He was one of the ones who did well last night. He missed a couple of checks, but he's coming on and has worked hard and has a good attitude. He's progressing now," Freeze allowed.


Ole Miss safety C.J. Hampton.

* LT Laremy Tunsil sat out today's practice and told Freeze to joke with the media about his absence. "He said to tell ya'll he just wanted a day off, but he's got a little tendonitis and we want him well," Freeze said. "There's nothing to it."

* DT Issac Gross, who has been out a while with a neck ailment, showed up during practice in a helmet and shorts to do a little agility/drill work. "He's coming on. He did some running around. Monday will be a big test for Issac to see where he is mentally and physically," Hugh said.

* The Reb receivers got a little good news today. WR Collins Moore, out all of August with a knee injury, will return to practice Monday after getting an early medical release. "He's way ahead of schedule physically. Mentally, I'm sure he's going to be behind, but we're excited he is ahead of schedule," Hugh explained.

* Is there more incentive in the opener against Boise than in most openers? "I think any time you open up on ESPN in the Georgia Dome, there's more incentive," Freeze noted. "We should be a motivated team, especially playing a team like Boise."

* Freeze said if it were up to him, they'd be loading the buses today. "I'm ready to play. We have had enough practice. We don't have everything down pat, but it's time for a game," he stated. "I know the kids are ready to play."

* Craig Frigo is a guy who keeps showing up in the offensive line rotation for the Rebels. Why? Tough and versatile. "He can play all five positions," said Freeze. "He's tough and he gets after defenders. He's also bright. He's not a 70-snap guy, but he can help us in a lot of ways, and will."


Ole Miss DB Alvin Moore.

* Don't be surprised to see sophomore Matt Brown in the game in certain situations behind Evan Engram. "If Even comes out, Matt will play in his role," said Freeze. "Nick Parker and Liggins will be more in the traditional TE role."

* There is not a lot of optimism about transfer WR Damore'ea Stringfellow being granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA. It's obvious because the coaches have him in a scout team jersey. If there was a lot of hope, he would be in a red jersey getting first and second team reps in practice.

* Now that Carlos Davis is out for the year, who will return punts in the opener? Look for it to be Anthony Alford. It appears he has edged out Pack and Trae Elston, at least for now.

* It appears both Moore twins - A.J. and C.J. - will get some action as true freshmen. A.J. is the second team Husky right now behind Tony Conner. C.J. was penciled in to redshirt until Davis,. Tee Shepard and Chief Brown got hurt, which hurt the depth on special teams. Look for C.J. to have kicking game duties.

* A caveat: Some of the second team offensive linemen are not ready for prime time yet - a couple are, but in years past the Rebs have had worse scenarios in the OL backups and there is definitely potential for the future with the likes of Davion Johnson, Daronte Bouldin, Rod Taylor, Frigo and Robert Conyers. Not a bad group at all. The future looks pretty good with them on deck for a couple/few more years.

* Guessing game: It is very likely one of the six running backs will be redshirted. There's only one football, after all. Look for that guy to be Akeem Judd. It's not that Judd could not help this year - he has done well, but he is essentially the same style of back as Jordan Wilkins, who was here in spring and understands the offense better. A year on the shelf will help Judd get that much better and, he's willing, we've been told.


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