Preparation Continues

Ole Miss continued their preparations for the Saturday tilt with Auburn in the Manning Center Wednesday in soft pads, concentrating more on the mental side of the game in three-quarter speed drills.

Ole Miss resumed practice Wednesday in preparation for the big game with Auburn with a workout in the Manning Center in soft pads.

"I like the way we've worked this week," said Coach Hugh Freeze. "Our bounce back from last Saturday has been good. We know we have a great challenge in front of us. In our estimation, Auburn is one of the top four or five teams in the nation. It will be a great test for us to see how we respond to respond to adversity, but we will be at home and hopefully we will have 55,000 of our fans there making it difficult on the Tigers.

"Hopefully, everyone who was nicked up will be ready to play. Everything has looked positive on that front so far this week."

Freeze had a funny reaction to being named as number four in the early playoff picture.

"My first reaction is that we will always be the answer to one of those AFLAC trivia questions," he smiled. "I have respect for the selection committee and we are honored to be in the discussion, but it's way too early to get too excited. It's good for our fans and I hope it makes them bring a little more energy in the stadium Saturday, but there's a lot of ball to play and I want to be in the final four in December."

The Rebel run game has not been up to the standard hoped for, especially last week against LSU. Can they fix it?

"I think we have a good plan and hopefully we can have some success running it Saturday. It's not good when you can't and the opposing defense knows you have to pass it. We need to have some balance, but nobody but one team has really run it on Auburn's defense so we know it will be tough," he stated.

Freeze was asked how QB Bo Wallace has responded this week after a rough outing against LSU.

"Very well. He is resilient and anxious to get back out there and compete," Freeze noted.

Random Notes:

* The injury situation doesn't seem to be as bleak, for lack of a better word, as it was Saturday night after the LSU game. LT Laremy Tunsil (bicep) practiced Tuesday and Wednesday at his left tackle spot and it did not look as if he was having any issues. . . DT Robert Nkemdiche (shoulder) also practiced both days and looked like he was in good shape. . . FS Cody Prewitt (ribs/shoulder) was limited again, but one gets the feeling the only thing that would keep him from playing is a tranquilizer gun and a steel cage. . . The lone exception is Center Ben Still - he is still not at practice, but Freeze said he will try to come back to practice Thursday. "We will let him bang some tomorrow and test him to see if he can go. He's moving better, but we haven't put him in a team situation yet," Freeze noted. "One day will tell us if he can handle it. It would be nice to have him for sure so we can let Robert Conyers move around and help us that way."

* The verdict on OLB Denzel Nkemdiche's injury was broken fibula. He has surgery Sunday morning and a plate was put in to secure the bone. The prognosis is 6-8 weeks, meaning he could possibly be ready for a bowl/playoff scenario.

* Two redshirt wideouts have been getting positive reviews all season for their work on the offensive scout team - transfer Demore'ea Stringfellow and freshman Dayall Harris. Stringfellow came to Ole Miss a little heavier than he played as a freshman at Washington, tipping the scales when he reported at 235 pounds. He's now down to his playing weight of 220 and has gained back a step of speed he had lost with the weight gain. Harris reported to Ole Miss at 183 pounds and is now a solid 200 pounds while maintaining his 40 speed in the 4.4s. Two more examples of quality work by S&C Coach Paul Jackson and his staff in the weight room.

* A couple of weeks ago, we mentioned the 30 pounds weight gain by freshman DE Victor Evans. It appears he has put on even a few more pounds. While we have no verification yet of that, he looks closer to 240 now than the 230 we indicated a while back.

* CB Senquez Golson has eight interceptions in as many games. As a senior, he has become one of the most requested interviews by the media. He handles that role well. "We have a lot of energy this week," said Golson. "Last Saturday was tough, but once I saw the sunrise Sunday, I was fine. We put that game in the trash. We had a lot of energy at practice Tuesday.". . . On facing Auburn: "Our defense is built more to handle Auburn's offense versus the 'I' offense LSU ran. We are more familiar with their system since we practice against ours, which is similar, every day. Let's just say we are more comfortable on defense his week than we were last week.". . . On Auburn QB Nick Marshall: "We have to be very disciplined in our assignments. It's very important to have our eyes in the right place and recognize what is happening as it is happening.". . . On the Auburn offense: "They are more balanced this year. I think they throw the ball better than they did a year ago.". . . On what makes the Rebel defense click: "Consistency. The first three years of my career, we have had a lot of ups and downs. Good one game, not good the next. Our goal all year has been to be consistent and I think we have been so far.". . . On his play: "I understand the game better now. I have experience and I have learned how to watch film and be ahead of the game before the game even starts.". . . On this week's game: "I think we all understand that if we don't win this week there will probably not be any playoff for us."

* Auburn's offensive M.O.? They don't run a lot of plays and rely on the bread and butter of just four, but the challenge is recognizing their plays because they run the same plays out of a lot of different formations and use a lot of motion/movement to try and confuse defenses. The key? Recognition and not being confused with the movement/motion and different formations.

* As always, Thursday's practice is closed and there will be no report. See you Saturday!


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