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Rebels Open Fall Camp With New Motivation

OXFORD, Miss — Ole Miss Rebels, fresh off their best season in modern history, opened fall camp earlier this week and hosted the annual media day on Monday afternoon.

“We are continuing to do things here that make Ole Miss very relevant in the college football scene,” head coach Hugh Freeze said. “It’s been a good two days. I’m looking forward to getting media days done and locking in with our team and hopefully building team chemistry.”

The football program is currently the dark cloud of the NCAA, as an investigation lasting over three years has come to the forefront over the past few months. Freeze iterated, however, that the investigation doesn’t take away his joy from preparing for the football season.

Ole Miss opens the season on Labor day against Florida State, and then two weeks later hosts top-ranked Alabama before facing top 20 Georgia at home.

“I’ve never been on a staff that’s faced a September like we’re going to face,” Freeze said. “It’s not hard to motivate our kids. They know what’s in front of them so that’s a positive. The negative is you’re going to play some really difficult teams and you could be a top-15 team and you’re going to be in some battles right away and you’re not sure how those will go. So it’s a very difficult schedule and I don’t discount anybody.”

Freeze said that the contest against FCS opponent Wofford concerns him, for Wofford will play the previous Thursday night and Ole Miss will get back to Oxford early Tuesday morning and begin having to prepare for a triple option offense.

The Rebels will be without Jeremy Liggins services right now as the senior quarterback turned offensive lineman is being held out of camp. Freeze said that Liggins didn’t not live up to team standards.

Charles Wiley, however, was at practice on Monday. The freshman defensive end was arrested earlier this month on a domestic violence charge.

“If we played a game today Charles would not play,” Freeze said. “But all the knowledge that has been given to me, we feel like he should still be practicing until the court decides whatever the case is and then we’ll make a decision at that point.”

Senior defensive end Fadol Brown has an injured foot, but Freeze sad that the Florida native came out of the boot on Monday.

Senior safety Tony Conner is coming off of a torn meniscus during the 2015 season and will be one of the upperclassmen on Ole Miss’ defense this season.

“I haven’t watched today’s film, but my instructions to the coaches were ‘Get him to the boss,’” Freeze said of Conner. “He knows what to do. He knows our scheme. He’s one of our better football players.”

Freeze said that the positions that probably need the most development before the opening contest against Florida State are the offensive line, tight end and linebacker.

The Rebels lost starting linebacker C.J. Johnson after the 2015 season, leaving the Rebels thin in depth at the linebacker position.

The Rebels brought in graduate transfer Rommel Mageo who led Oregon State last season in tackles to contribute immediately to the linebacker core.

“Quick learner. Have to run him out of the building,” Freeze said of Mageo. “He’s a football junkie, and I love that about him. I’m anxious to get pads on him and see how he does.”

The Rebels will go into the 2016 season like they went into the past two years with aspirations and hopes of winning the SEC West and competing for a national title.

“I assure you there’s motivation,” Freeze said. “I’m more motivated than ever to prove that the young men that choose to come to this wonderful university and sacrifice and change the narrative around this program. We’re very motivated.”

Collin Brister is a staff writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at collin.brister@hottytoddy.com.

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