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Rebels Learning in Practice as Fall Semester Begins

HottyToddy.com file photo
HottyToddy.com file photo

The Ole Miss football team did not practice on Monday due to the first day of classes for the fall semester. However, the Rebels returned to the practice field Tuesday afternoon to continue preparing for the 2015 season.

School back in session means there are more responsibilities for the Rebels, such as attending class during the day while also hitting the weight room and going to practice. Ole Miss ran some up-temp offense throughout the evening, the pace preferred by Coach Hugh Freeze. However, the fourth-year head coach was not satisfied with his team’s performance during the camp session.

“It was a work day for sure,” said Coach Freeze when talking about the first practice since classes started back up. “We have to get them accustomed to doing that with great demeanor and attitude. Hopefully we will handle the next Tuesday better than we did this one. It didn’t feel like we had the energy today that we need to be a great football team.”

Aside from Tuesday’s practice and a few nagging injuries throughout the first two weeks, it has been a primarily positive camp for Ole Miss.

“As far as the kids responding to the challenge of raising the level of expectations over the course of the two and a half weeks of camps, I’ve been really pleased.”

When asked about the quarterback competition, Freeze maintained that the guy he saw as the leading candidate to start the season opener is still the same guy. However, Freeze said he will see how the week goes as the competition continues to play out. If Freeze’s gut feeling is right and the leading quarterback remains consistent, a starter could be named early next week. Nonetheless, the title of starter will mean just that and nothing more.

“It just means who will start the game,” said Freeze. “Ultimately, how they do during the game will be the biggest test. I still think all three will have their opportunity.”

One of the bright spots in Tuesday’s practice was the play of the secondary, led by junior cornerback Tony Bridges. The junior college transfer has been all over the field during training camp, and he added another interception today, which teammate C.J. Hampton said put him over the double-digit mark.

“I think he has 10 now. He’s just so long. If he gets beat, he can recover quickly just because his body is so long. He’s usually in a good position to make a play,” said Hampton.

Along with his physical stature, Bridges credited his quick reaction for his multiple interceptions.

“You can’t let them attack you,” Bridges said about covering the wide receivers. “You have to go get the ball at the highest point too.”

With classes starting up again, the Rebels are still learning on the field throughout fall camp. That concept seemed to be a main point of reflection for both Bridges and Hampton.

“I think I’ve learned a lot, and we’ve been playing well,” noted Hampton “Everybody knows what is going on and spends a lot of time learning – we’re all just putting our brains together and not just playing football.”

Asked which teammate has served as a teacher on the field, Bridges quickly pointed to senior Mike Hilton.

“I’ve learned a lot from him. I listen to him all of the time because he’s a very positive guy,” said Bridges. “He’s always working with me on my technique. Without technique you can’t play this game.”

Just 11 days separate the Rebels from taking the field to begin the 2015 season. However, there is still time for Ole Miss to continue learning, improving and preparing for a highly-anticipated campaign.

Notes and tidbits:


  • As far as the injury bug, Freeze expects to have Tony ConnerWillie HibblerJeremy Liggins, Kalio Moore and Rod Taylor back. Conner, Hibbler, Liggins and Moore are listed as day-to-day, while Taylor could be back in a couple of weeks.
  • There have been some position battles on the offensive line throughout camp. If the season started today, Freeze said he expects senior Justin Bell and true freshman Javon Patterson to get the nod at the guard slots. Junior Robert Conyers has a slight nod over senior Ben Still at center, but Still could see snaps with the first unit in games.
  • Aaron Morris is continuing to get better in practice after coming off his knee injury last season. The senior is trying to shake off the rust and increase the amount of time on the field after missing the spring.
  • When asked about younger players that have stood out on offense, Freeze mentioned freshmen Alex GivensVan JeffersonDawson Knox and DaMarkus Lodge. However, he is hoping the offensive depth will allow some of the young Rebels to redshirt this season.

Follow Ole Miss Football on Twitter (@OleMissFB) and Facebook (Facebook.com/OleMissFootball), in addition to www.OleMissSports.com.

Courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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