The Ole Miss football team started a little later than usual Thursday morning after two tough practices Wednesday. They came out with an eye on improvement and plowing ahead. Coach Hugh Freeze was pleased.
After two tough practices Wednesday, Freeze didn’t know what to expect Thursday morning, even though the Rebs were greeted on the practice fields with more cool – for a Mississippi August – weather.
He was pleasantly surprised.
“To come back from last night – a high-energy practice I thought was really, really good, we bounced back well this morning with decent spirit,” said Freeze. “It was good.”
The Rebel offense won one competition drill and the defense won the other. Tiebreaker time.
“I let the coaches decide how to break the tie. They went from the 20 in a Red Zone drill and the offense found a way to score, so they won the day. Again, there was good spirit and the kids responded really well to the daily grind of fall camp,” he noted.
* Who are the candidates for “Most Improved” on the Rebel defense? A straw poll with the defensive coaches threw out five names: DT Woodrow Hamilton, S Chief Brown, CB Dehendret Collins, DT Carlton Martin and DE Carlos Thompson. Currently, with C.J. Johnson, Charles Sawyer and Senquez Golson out, Carlos and Dehendret are running with the number one defense. Will they hold that position? Maybe, maybe not, but when Freeze/Wommack talk about developing depth, these are some prime examples. P.S. – Woody has been with the ones since early spring and Chief is considered a starter as the third safety in the rotation, capable of playing either safety slot.
* We are asked constantly how fast freshman TB Kailo Moore is. We have seen no times, but we’ve watched him and the answer is real fast. In kickoff return drills this morning, Kailo took a kick, accelerated, picked out a running lane, cut and then looked like he was shot out of a cannon. We don’t know what his exact sprint numbers are, but trust us, the kid can motor.
* Looking to the future, the number two offensive line has some intriguing talent for later down the line. Included are Austin Golson, Robert Conyers and Laremy Tunsil, and they are all guys who should develop into top-notch OL, if not now, in the near future. Bodes well for trench work down the line.
* In Red Zone play last night, a little bird told us, freshman TE Evan Engram caught two TD passes in a heated, intense, live session. Linebackers have a hard time matching up with the speedy frosh TE. “Even is a football player. He still doesn’t know everything we do and was slowed down by the staph infection last week, but as far as being a natural ballplayer, he is every bit of that,” Freeze assessed.
* How are the tight ends doing? “It depends on what we ask them to do. We are making progress in some areas and in others, that’s just not who we are going to be this year,” he said. “We have to be smart enough to know the difference and coach accordingly,” Hugh stated. “Every year, you do what you think you can do based on the personnel you have and that’s where we are at that position until we can get some more players there. We don’t have anyone right now – at this point – who can do everything we want done out of the position, but we have some who can help us do some things.”
* Red Ball (tempo) work this morning saw some good action. In the opening drive, ones against ones, it looked as if the offense had it going on after a nice catch by Slot Jordan Holder on a tipped ball, a Laquon Treadwell short gainer, a 12-yard completion to Donte Moncrief and a 6-yard run by TB Jaylen Walton, but LB Keith Lewis had different ideas when he stepped in front of a Bo Wallace pass, picked it off and ran to daylight for a nice return.
* When the ones came back out on the field, Treadwell had two receptions, but after moving the chains on those, the offense stalled.
* QB Robert Ratliff and freshman QB Devante Kincade got most of the reps with the number two offense. On Kincade’s possession, he found WR Cody Core for a 65-yard gain. Kailo Moore punched it in from four yards out for the score.
* DE Robert Nkemdiche (groin), DE C.J. Johnson (soreness) and Slot Korvic Neat (swollen knee) did not practice today. Neat did some drills, but not any contact work. D.T. Shackelford also sat out the morning practice. . . Junen appears to be getting real close to making his comeback. He did more drill work today than he has done in previous practices. . . Senquez Golson and Brishen Mathews, both with hamstring pulls, remain sidelined. . . . CB Charles Sawyer practiced today, but did not go through any contact and probably won’t until Monday. “Robert is progressing nicely. C.J. has a tight Achilles and the last thing you want to do with a tight Achilles tendon is try to push through it. His leg is fine other than that,” noted Freeze. “I was pleased to see Charles out there today. Senquez ran again today, he and Brishen. That’s a good sign. Issac Gross has gone every day since he came back. I expect Junen back next week. I’Tavius Mathers (ankle) is out of his boot now, so his situation is getting better. Korvic did some things today and his knee seems better.”
— Chuck Rounsaville, OMSpirit.com Publisher