Preparations for the 2014 Ole Miss football season began in earnest Saturday with a two-hour workout on the practice fields adjacent to the Manning Center.
Wearing helmets and jerseys without pads, the Rebels enjoyed the mild temperatures that have characterized this summer so far.
Head coach Hugh Freeze praised the incoming class of newcomers, who were able to practice for about 40 minutes before the veterans joined them on Saturday.
“I really like the class we just brought in,” Freeze said. “There are a lot of talented kids in it. If we can do a good job of helping them understand how we want to do things and what they are to do, I think we’ve got some guys that can perform. I don’t want them to get too far behind where they can’t play fast.”
Among the newcomers that Freeze mentioned as standing out on day one: Dayall Harris, Rod Taylor, Tee Shepard, Damore’ea Stringfellow, A.J. Moore, C.J. Moore, Kendarius Webster, Sammie Epps and Jeremy Liggins.
Freeze quipped about starting quarterback Bo Wallace’s arm strength. Wallace went through a whole offseason healthy and spent some time with mechanics guru Tom House, as well.
“He’s overthrown two streaks,” Freeze said. “We never had that problem before. His arm’s definitely stronger right now.”
With special teams aces Tyler Campbell and Andrew Ritter graduated, the kicking units will feature some stiff competition this fall.
Competing at punter are redshirt-freshman Will Gleeson and true freshman Gary Wunderlich. The race for placekicking and PATs is between senior Andrew Fletcher, redshirt-freshman Andy Pappanastos and Wunderlich.
“I was pleased with Gleeson. He hit it well today,” Freeze said. “I thought Andy had the best day (of the kickers), but Gary had some really good hits, particularly from the left hash. Pleased with Gary’s punting, too. We’ve got two quality punters there. It’s a good battle for the PAT/field goals stuff.”
Fans may attend the team’s practice, weather permitting, on Saturday, August 9 at 9:45 a.m., in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. That will be the only fall practice open to the public.
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–Ole Miss Sports Information
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