Backup Nirvana?

With due respect to Presbyterian College, if things go well for the Ole Miss Rebels Saturday, this game should be a chance for every Reb who dresses out to get some quality playing time and every injured Reb to rest and get better.




Any Saturday, against any opponent, there is always a chance for something unexpected to happen, but barring anything "crazy," the Rebel backups should get ample opportunity to show their wares, gain valuable experience for the future and impress their coaches.

At least, that's what is widely thought to be the plan.

But one would be hard-pressed to get the Ole Miss coaches to express that sentiment. It's in their nature, and wise, to prepare for the unexpected, so this week in practice, it's business as usual.

After Wednesday's practice, Coach Hugh Freeze discussed the game, Presbyterian, the possibilities and his expectations.

"Coming off the disappointment of Saturday night, it's been a little less motivating to get going, but I've been pleased with how things have piked up," said Freeze. "The attention to detail has been good. They have not slid on the little things.

"We are giving the young kids a lot of reps. We'll have some guys out so they will need to step up. We hope to be able to take it easy on some guys, like Cody Prewitt. We'd like to rest him a lot."

His goals for the Presbyterian game?

"I want to see us execute and get everyone some time. I'm concerned the game and executing. I'm not concerned with how much we win by. Getting the win and getting the team ready for what's ahead are the things that are important to me," said Freeze. "That's the focus."

Freeze was asked about Laquon Treadwell's spirits this week.

"He's doing better. He came around a lot today and was pretty sore, but he's ready to help coach our receivers and get back with us," he said.

Random Notes:

* Last Saturday, the Rebels used two punters - freshman Will Gleeson and freshman Gary Wunderlich. What is the formula/thinking on which one to use when? There are several factors. One, field position and the type of punt the coaches feel is best for the situation. Two, who the return man is and what his strengths/weaknesses are. Three, giving the return man different "looks" with the spin on the ball - Gleeson punts lefty, Wunderlich righty. Four, gut feel. While Gleeson has proven he can sky kick or rugby kick effectively, his sky kicks do not have the hang time of Wunderlich's. Gleson's strength is placing his punts where the coaches want them kicked. Wunderlich's strength is just that, leg strength.

* LT Laremy Tunsil, LG Aaron Morris, RB I'tavius Mathers and SS Trae Elston did not practice Wednesday and, most likely, will not play against Presbyterian. There are a couple of other Rebels nicked up that will probably sit as well.

* A review of "out for the year," in case you have forgotten. WR Laquon Treadwell, OLB Denzel Nkemdiche, CB Carlos Davis, and CB Tee Shepard.

* Center Ben Still practice again on Wednesday. Again, tough young man.

* If things go well, the second team offensive line should get a lot of action. They will consist, at this writing, of LT Christian Morris, LG Chris Frigo, C Chase Hughes, RG Daronte Bouldin and RT Davian Johnson. They've gotten a lot of reps this week and it will be interesting to see how thy perform in a game.

* As mentioned yesterday, if Tunsil and Morris do not play, LT will be taken over by Fahn Cooper, LG will be manned by Justin Bell, freshman Rod Taylor will move to Bell's RG spot and Robert Conyers will man Cooper's RT slot.

* CB Senquez Golson is getting a lot of ink, and deservedly so with his nation-leading nine interceptions on the year, but a player on defense who deserves just as much praise is counterpart Mike Hilton. Hilton has not only played cornerback admirably, but he has also been called upon to play some Husky and to switch back to strong safety two times, including this week, this year. Not many players have that capability. That is a lot more difficult that some may think, but he handles it and handles it well. Hilton may not be the flashiest player on the team, but it just might be nobody is more valuable.

* Look for the Rebels to feed TBs Jordan Wilkins and Mark Dodson a lot this week. Look for Jaylen Walton to get some rest and, of course, Mathers is out with a concussion. Eugene Brazley will also get some chances to tote the rock. Should be fun watching the young backs getting a chance to romp.


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