Back In The Saddle

Jason Jones

The ole Miss Rebels resumed practice Tuesday with an eye toward the future, more specifically the Auburn Tigers, and trying to shed the weight of letting the Texas A&M game slip through their fingers. read about it inside.

Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze's tenure has had all sorts of different obstacles to overcome in his 10 months on the job.

This week, he has something different to tackle.

Getting his team to shed the disappointment of losing a game they all felt they should have won and moving forward unencumbered and not tethered to last Saturday to the next one - the Auburn Tigers Saturday morning at 11:21 in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

"We don't do anything differently in terms of preparation," said Freeze, "but we are careful as coaches to make sure the players know we have confidence in them and we expect them to come back with confidence.

"Our theme for the week is 'confidence.' We did a lot of things correctly against Texas A&M and that will be our focus. Sure, we have to correct the mistakes, but we will do it in a positive manner and with confidence."

By now, everyone knows about Bo Wallace's sister, Baylee, and the car accident she had last night.

"He was a little distant at first, but he settled in later on," said Freeze. "Baylee broke her neck last night, but she does have movement in all her extremities and the doctors are very optimistic she can have a full recovery.

"Surgery started at 2:30 today and it was going to be a lengthy surgery, so I am sure his mind was here and there. His parents were optimistic and said she is very lucky."

Hugh said, in a very sympathetic way, that there always seems to be something happening in any program when that many people are involved that has to be dealt with in a compassionate manner.


Bo Wallace
File Photo

"Bo's not the only one. We've had a run of bad things here lately. Kids lose their grandparents or get bad news from the doctor. We've had several of those things lately," he said. "We've got a couple of good people who support our program who have gotten really bad news in the last couple of weeks.

"There's always something to address, but what I believe is that as a team we are walking along life together. It's not natural for some kids to open up and share what is happening in their lives, but we encourage that and it's getting better."

Freeze said the energy and focus Tuesday was good.

"It started Sunday the way they attacked the weight room and then we had a good start to the week's preparations today," he noted.

Freeze reiterated his concerns with Auburn's defensive front, but it's no different than any SEC game, he said.

"Every week, you turn on the film and there are at least one or two guys you better know where they are and have a specific plan for. Auburn has real good defensive ends, but their inside guys are good as well," Hugh assessed. "They were very disruptive in the LSU game and that is a concern, for sure."

Random Notes:

* After gaining 108 yards on 21 carries with one TD, TB Jeff Scott hobbled off the field after the Texas A&M game with an ankle injury. The good news is that it is not severe. Jeff, heavily taped, practiced Tuesday and appeared to be close to full speed. He missed no reps in the practice. Normally, if an injury is lingering, Tuesday is used for an extra day of healing if necessary. Apparently, Jeff is in good enough shape that he didn't need that.


Korvic Neat
File Photo

* DT Woody Hamilton (high ankle sprain) has missed a couple of games, but is now on the comeback trail. He is being eased back into action this week. Tuesday, he was allowed to go through all drills and some contact work. He is expected to do more tomorrow and even more the next day and, if plans are successful, be available for the game against the Tigers.

* QB Bo Wallace said he is finally 100% healthy for the first time since the UTEP game. "I hurt my lower back in that game and then my shoulder in teh Tulane game, but I am fine now. I feel better than I have in several weeks," said Wallace. Bo was pleased with his play against A&M, except one throw, his last one of the night. "I made good decisions all night and ran the offense better than I have run it all year," he noted. "That last one, though, is going to live with me because I had two guys open on that play and made a bad mistake when we needed it the most. It's part of playing football, you are never going to be perfect, but the timing on that play was tough for me to swallow." On the ball just before half that slipped out of Bo's hand and was intercepted and returned for a TD, Bo said that has never happened to him before on any level. "I guess there is a first for everything, but I never did that even in junior high," he stated. "That was crazy, a fluke, and it was even crazier that it didn't fall to the ground and went straight in the guys' hands." Bo expects the Rebs to rebound. "Everyone in that locker room knows we can score a lot of points on anyone and we are fighters, so we will just go at it again full speed this Saturday," he closed.

* In an apparent attempt to get more explosion on the defensive front, Jason Jones has been moved from defensive end to defensive tackle. Tuesday's number one defensive line consisted of Jones and Issac Gross at DT and Cameron Whigham and C.J. Johnson at defensive end. It's obviously a speed move, but with the way DL Coach Chris Kiffin shuffles numerous players in and out during the game to keep them all fresh, if the move is not working, a switch back would be no major issue.

* Slot Receiver Korvic Neat has missed the last couple of games due to a pulled groin, but he was practicing at full speed on Tuesday and appeared eager to get back in the fray. "He looked good. I don't think he was hurting, or he didn't appear to be. I expect him to be full go," noted Freeze. "We haven't been going much 10 personnel the past couple of weeks with him out, but we can do more of that now. We have also moved Ja-Mes Logan inside some and now he can move back outside more. Philander Moore had a good practice today, so that's good."

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