by John Luke McCord
The Ole Miss football team hit the practice field Tuesday morning for the first time in full pads. After head coach Hugh Freeze noted the Rebels didn’t end Monday’s practice like he had hoped, Tuesday’s practice was an overall better finish to the day that ultimately belonged to the defense.
“Finished a little better,” Freeze said following practice. “We had to beg it out of the offense.”
Freeze went on to say that the offense performed well in the red zone drill, a drill he admitted they should excel. The offense also did better in the “dirty ball period” today, according to Freeze.
“Early on, the defense is really taking it to us(offense), and we’re not coming out consistently, and we’re not moving the chains enough,” Freeze added about the offense.
Freeze was asked if junior quarterback Bo Wallace had mentioned any pain in his surgically repaired throwing shoulder. He was very succinct with his response.
“Right now, his arm is not the problem,” Freeze said. “He’s got to be more consistent to get this offense going.”
Four freshman stood out in today’s practice and they were the usual suspects. Quarterbacks Devante Kincade and Ryan Buchanan both had good days.
“Both made good throws today,” Freeze said. “I think both will be good players.”
The other two freshman that stood out Tuesday were a pair of receivers, Laquon Treadwell and Quincy Adeboyejo, and it’s obvious both will see playing time this season.
Freeze also spoke about the options at running back behind senior Jeff Scott.
Sophomore backs Jaylen Walton and I’tavius Mathers are ahead of the rest, but not by much, according to Freeze. He said that freshman Mark Dodson helped himself out by coming in early. Freeze said that he sees good things from Dodson and freshman Jordan Wilkins. Freshman Kailo Moore is a guy that he spoke about having multiples roles on offense and Scott could see some of that, as well.
Observations from practice:
Freshman tight end Evan Engram missed practice due to a staff infection. Junior cornerback Senquez Golson missed practice again due to a hamstring injury. Freeze said that they will let Golson heal now so that the injury does not linger with him during the season. Senior right tackle Pierce Burton missed practice again today, but Freeze said that he could have gone.
Junior defensive end Carlos Thompson, senior safety Brishen Matthews and senior corner Charles Sawyer also missed practice. Sawyer appears to be the only one in that group that could miss game action.
Junior defensive end C.J. Johnson, senior offensive lineman Patrick Junen and sophomore defensive tackle Issac Gross all dressed out, but were limited today. Gross could miss game action, but it appears that Johnson and Junen are close to being full go.
A few more things I noticed were the physicality of the practice and freshman defensive end Robert Nkemdiche. This was the first practice in full pads in fall camp. The hitting was hard and loud. The defense gets to the ball carrier and comes in a bad mood.
As for Nkemdiche, he ran with the first team defense the whole practice. He was being double teamed a lot, and it didn’t seem to bother him. He was in the backfield most of the time he was on the field.
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