There are a lot of things that can be accomplished in an open week. Rest, healing and getting a head start on the gameplan for the next game. But perhaps the most important thing that can be addressed is getting back to basics that are sometimes put to the side during the heat of a season.

During the course of a grueling season, coaches and players concentrate so hard on strategies, plays, getting better as a unit and the next opponent that sometimes what they learned in spring and August - the fundamentals - get lost in the shuffle.

Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze said as much after Tuesday's practice.

"Our league is so competitive that it's the little things that can make a difference in winning and losing," he said. "Doing the fundamentals and basics - playing with sound technique - is sometimes ignored in the heat of the season and your play can suffer a little.

"This week, we are taking a refresher course in fundamentals with periods of individual drills to sharpen our games back up."

DC Dave Wommack agreed.

"We are so worried about team time during game weeks that we cut into our indo time. These open weeks are very important to get back to doing the little things correctly that you may have let slip a little due to lack of time during a regular game week. We get 20 hours a week and sometimes indo is what suffers," he said. "We have worked indo drills hard this week and I think it will pay of the remainder of the season."

The Rebels worked in the Manning Center in helmets Wednesday and continued along those lines of fundamentals first, but they, like yesterday, got a jump on putting in the Arkansas gameplan.

It was also another day of healing for the wounded.

Freeze said he expects everyone who has not already been declared out for the year to be ready for the November 22nd match with the Hogs at 2:30 p.m. (CST) on CBS in Fayetteville.

Random Notes:

* LT Laremy Tunsil (bicep), LG Aaron Morris (quad muscle), PK Gary Wunderlich (left hamstring) and LB Keith Lewis (concussion) were held out of practice this week and are expected to be sidelined all week. All are expected to resume practice next Tuesday.

* Free Safety Cody Prewitt was MIA at practice today as well. He has a stomach virus. Cody's rib issue, injured against LSU and aggravated against Auburn, are improving. He should be "much better" for the Arkansas game.

* Prewitt, as you know, was a First-Team All-America selection last year. Who is the most likely on the Rebel team for that honor this year? Most believe it will be senior CB Senquez Golson, who is second in the nation in interceptions with nine, so far, and has more picks than any corner in the country. With those kind of numbers, it won't be a surprise to see him get All-American recognition.

* Prewitt and Golson have both been invited to play in the Senior Bowl this year. Both deserving as they pursue their dreams of playing on the next level.

* Who does Rebel Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack consider to be the most improved defensive player this year? He was hard to pin down to one because he thinks a lot of them have improved because of experience, but when pressed, he chose sophomore Husky Tony Conner. "This year, Tony knows his position very well and just doesn't make many mistakes. He has improved drastically from last year simply because of experience and knowledge," Wommack surmised.

* Freshman OL Sean Rawlings seems to be making the most of his redshirt year. He reported to Ole Miss in the summer at 280 pounds and is now up to 295 with a goal of playing at 300. He has already been recognized by S&C Coach Paul Jackson for "vast" improvement in his strength numbers and yesterday, when discussing young players who have caught his eye in practice recently, Freeze said he has been impressed with Rawlings' progress and projects him as a possible center in the future.

* Freshman OL Jordan Sims continues his positive march toward a good playing weight with more weight loss news. Jordan, who reported to Ole Miss in the summer at 384 pounds, is now down to 340 with a now-realistic goal of 320-325.

* There probably hasn't been enough written about Fahn Cooper. He deserves some praise. It is very difficult to move midstream from right tackle to left tackle successfully, but that is what Fahn has had to do with Tunsil being out the last two games. He's not only done it, but he's graded well. Tip of the hat to the big fellow.

* Senior Wide Receiver Vincent Sanders has always made plays in his career, but the thing he has concentrated on this year, and been successful with, is his yardage after the catch. Sanders, long one of the most underrated players on the team, has become a very dangerous runner with the ball in his hands. Continuing that trend could be critical to the team moving forward without running mate Laquon Treadwell, the master of yards after the catch.

* The Rebels will have a light, closed practice Thursday and then will take Friday and Saturday off before resuming with their normal game week preparations Sunday.

OM Spirit Top Stories