SEC Time Already

After a 71-yard rushing output against Boise State in a 35-13 Ole Miss win last Thursday, Hugh Freeze said Monday he and his staff didn’t have the Rebels quite as prepared as they should have been.

“It certainly did struggle,” Freeze said of the running attack Ole Miss had against Boise State. “We did a poor job preparing our kids. I could sit here and say it was because we really weren’t sure what (the BSU defense) was going to do, and that’s true. They did do some things that we weren’t ready for and that we hadn’t worked.”

However Freeze also said the Rebels’ offensive team wasn’t clicking of its own accord in the first half against the Broncos.

“I think the way we started the game had as much to do with it as anything. It made us really, really tentative with the shifting and the verbage on their defensive fronts and us having the false starts. We didn’t play very physical at all.”

There’s more.

“Part two is they had a good scheme and were committed to stopping the run,” Freeze said. “I don’t know how many times their safeties were making tackles at the line of scrimmage, but they were committed to stop that. Thus the passing game had some big plays in it.”

But Freeze admitted Ole Miss had about as much to do with the lack of run game as Boise State did.

“It was not just the scheme, we played very tentative and not very physical. And we did a poor job preparing our kids for that, and we’ve got to get that fixed.”

Quarterback Bo Wallace had good numbers, except for three interceptions. He was 25 of 36 for 387 yards and four touchdowns.

But three throws went to the Broncos defenders.

“The first (interception) he threw is not even part of the progression. He didn’t come off the progression. He threw it to a place that shouldn’t be part of the progression.

“The second one down in the end zone, after watching the film, it is part of the progression. It should not have been his first look, and the receiver had really bad spacing that caused one guy basically to guard two. So that was kind of a combination there.

“The third one is a play we really like in that situation. We ran it and the backer made a good play. He didn’t see him. But that was where he should start a read, where he did. The other two were not where the ball should go on his first read.”

* On injuries after BSU: "OK. Friday was a normal Sunday for us. We had some soreness. It was a physical game, whether they hit us or we hit them. In this morning’s staff meeting, everyone is expected to go through practice today with the exception of Collins Moore. That’s it. Issac (Gross) is expected to go today.”

* On the true freshmen who played: “Really good. I thought Gates and the Moore twins were phenomenal on special teams. Webster was really solid at his corner position. Markell Pack did well. Didn’t get Rod Taylor in as much as we needed to, but we will this week. DeMarcuis Gates and C.J. Hampton played solid. Marquis got his first sack and played well on special teams for us.”

* On Vandy: "It’s SEC football on the road, and we’ll be ready. They have really good players, especially a good defensive line, and that’s a good place to start in this league. They’ve got quite a bit of returners, and their tailbacks are really talented. On the offensive line they have some good returning players. They struggled at the quarterback position the other night. You turn it over seven times, I don’t know who is going to win (doing that). I don’t expect that to happen again (from Vandy). I’m impressed with Coach Mason as I’ve seen him around these meetings, and I know he will have them ready to go.”

* On the Rebel special teams and defense: “We thought our special teams played really well. Our defense played really well. We had a few busts, and that happens in early games. I thought we were a physical tough defense. We got pressure on the quarterback, which was a welcomed sight. The defense kept us in the game. Those two goal line stands were really nice. Our special teams were solid.”

* On Tony Conner: “He’s always been a good player for sure, and he’s athletic. He’s doing a much better job in pass coverage drops than he did last year. He’s always been physical. He made several really nice plays at getting underneath stuff that caused the quarterback to make some bad throws. He’s continued to improve mentally and physically. But he’s been gifted from day one.”

* On Channing Ward: “To be perfectly candid, he plays better in games than he practices. He played well the other night. One of their players made a comment to him that he didn’t like too much, and it was quite funny. But it upset Channing. Channing may have played a little better. We’ve got to rotate that defensive line. We have two afternoon games coming up. You have to keep them fresh. If he keeps producing in games like that, he’ll certainly keep playing.”

* On Denzel Nkemdiche coming back this week for Vanderbilt: “Last year after the knee injury and surgery after the Vandy game, I don’t know if he ever recovered. He always had a little gimp in his leg. I don’t see that this fall camp. He’s hungry and ready to play and prove himself. It’s just a matter of getting the gameplan down this week. He and Sederius will split time. And I’m sure we’ll have a third-down package where they’re both on the field. We’re excited to have him back. Hopefully he’s learned from the experience he’s been through and that he values the opportunity that he has.”

* On Robert Nkemdiche: “He probably played too many plays. I talked to Coach Kiffin about that yesterday. It’s hard to take him off the field in a tight game. But it will benefit him in the fourth quarter being a better pressure player and in the weeks to come. We have to continue to watch that closer.”

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