Thursday, September 23, 2021

Monday's Football Practice — Shepard May Be Out for Season

The Ole Miss Rebel Football team practiced inside of the Manning Practice Facility on Monday morning.
The big news from the press conference that followed was that sophomore Tee Shepard tore a tendon in the bottom of his big toe.

Tee Shepard Photo by Joshua McCoy / Ole Miss Athletics
Tee Shepard Photo by Joshua McCoy / Ole Miss Athletics

Shepard signed with the 2012 class at Notre Dame then transferred in to the program after playing at Holmes Community College. He suffered the injury Saturday at the open practice and had an MRI done on Saturday. Physicians in Birmingham, Ala., are looking at the images and results may not be back until tomorrow. Depending on the severity of the tear, Shepard could miss the season or only be out for weeks.
Despite the loss, Coach Hugh Freeze was upbeat at Monday’s press conference. He started out saying that he loves the energy of his players in August. Freeze added the Rebels are headed in the right direction and he believes the squad has a great shot to be a better team than the previous two years — both of which ended with bowl victories.
“If we can stay healthy through the remainder of camp going into the Boise game, I love what I see and I think our leadership is better and our offense and defense are we are definitely deeper,” Freeze said.
Referring to Shepard’s injury, Freeze said that he is always optimistic about injuries until he hears otherwise. Freeze explained that if the tendon in Shepard’s toe is completely torn, he will definitely need surgery and be out for the year. In some cases, Freeze added, players with a similar injury where only a partial tear is indicated have been able to play through the injury and get it repaired during the off season
In this case, the coach won’t speculate until he and his staff hear from the medical experts in Birmingham.
What happens if the talented cornerback is out for the season? Freeze doesn’t anticipate much shuffling in the Rebel backfield. “I think that it is one place that we have some capable guys — Kalo Moore and Ken Webster can step up and Cliff (Coleman) is learning so he can go back and fourth from corner and safety, also.”
Through the first few weeks of practice, Coach Freeze describes this year as a normal camp. There have been points at which he has been disappointed and frustrated, but elated at others.
I'Tavius Mathers runs for a touchdown in the Grove Bowl
I’Tavius Mathers runs for a touchdown in the Grove Bowl

Another aspect of the Rebel team that the coaching staff is pleased with thus far is the running back corps. Freeze says there is no back that he and his staff worry about handing the ball to at any given point in the game.
“In today’s practice. their was times that I loved the competitive nature of the action,” he said. “The way they got after each other in some of the team drills was really, really good. In other parts of practice, there were too many mistakes and drops and we all believe the team just has to execute better —  but it has been a good camp so far.”
–Adam Brown, HottyToddy.com sports editor

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