|August 25, 2012||McCray's strong endorsement of Mackey||no comments|
|August 25, 2012||Seven days to kickoff||17 comments|
|August 24, 2012||Friday Chat||14 comments|
|August 24, 2012||Friday Morning Update||no comments|
|August 23, 2012||8-23 Practice Report||no comments|
|August 23, 2012||10 days till kickoff||29 comments|
|August 23, 2012||Thursday Morning Update||no comments|
|August 22, 2012||8-22 Practice Report||no comments|
|August 22, 2012||Scholarships Awarded||10 comments|
|August 22, 2012||Laxer arrested||no comments|
I was semi-off today – the last time I'll be able to say that on a Saturday for quite some time – and was able to take in a Tupelo High cross country meet.
The Rebels are scrimmaged today, but it was closed to media. All the heavy lifting is done. There is some minor jockeying going on, but basically, the coaches know who's going to play.
When all is said in done, I suspect Bo Wallace will be the starter at quarterback, and how much he plays will depend on what he gets done. Barry Brunetti will play too and will have the same arrangement. If he leads touchdown drives he'll play more.
The guy to watch on this offense will be Randall Mackey. He could very well turn out to be the Rebels' most productive player. He'll start at running back, and you'll see him move around to different places. He's looked good.
Emmanuel McCray, the starting left tackle, had some interesting things to say about Mackey this week, hinting at Mackey's off-field issues last year.
“He's spectacular. He's a playmaker. You can put him at any position, even on defense, and he'll make plays. He's learned the offense.
“He made a reputation for himself, but he's really turned things around. He's going to have a big year. I'm positive of that.”
Hopefully for Mackey individually and the Rebels collectively, McCray will be on target with those comments.
Mackey is a gifted athlete who has lacked maturity at times. A Parade All-American, this is his last chance to do big things in the college game, and Ole Miss needs big things from him.
Speaking of McCray, more from him and more on the Rebels' offensive line in Sunday's print edition.
Getting into the Way Back Machine here.
It was 1990 and I was covering Southern Miss on Saturdays, Meridian High School on Friday nights.
Part of my Meridian responsibility was a game advance every week. Typically, I'd work on that on Wednesday or Thursday, and that involved calling the opposing coach.
It was late in the season, and Meridian was getting ready to travel to Moss Point. I was still fairly new as a Mississippi Resident, a little more than a year into it then, but I had heard many stories about Moss Point coach Billy Miller, now the late Billy Miller.
There were a few consistent themes. One, he was a good coach, and his teams won most of the time. Moss Point had been described to me as a “football factory.” Two, he had a big personality that could shift from fun to angry to mean without notice.
Well, I decided that I was going to call Billy Miller, but I wasn't going to invest a lot of time with it if things started going south. Had other things to do.
Things went south in a hurry. I couldn't get things back on track. I finally said, thank you coach Miller and hung up the phone.
Within five minutes he had tracked down the Meridian Star's phone number and called back to apologize. We had a great interview, and we visited again at the Mississippi-Alabama all-star game in Mobile just prior to his death.
It was in Mobile that I was waiting in a dorm lobby for a couple of Meridian players after practice. Coach Miller walked in, and we talked. A minute later, a player walked in. An offensive lineman from where I do not recall. He was a big fella, seemed to be opposed to conditioning. Miller jumped up, ran to the far wall, then looked at me and said, “Quick, Parrish, get up and go to the other wall. Help me balance the room.”
Camp Wilderness is complete, and the focus is turning to Central Arkansas.
Yes, it's an FCS foe for the Ole Miss opener. Jacksonville State isn't that long ago, and the Rebels didn't play particularly well against Southern Illinois last year. They're not in a position to take anyone for granted.
Hugh Freeze says beyond quarterback and safety other positions are set. They're still mixing and matching a few defensive backs, but I'm guessing the five will be Wesley Pendleton and Senquez Golson at the corners, Dehendret Collins at Huskie and Charles Sawyer and Cody Prewitt at the safeties.
Freeze says both Bo Wallace and Barry Brunetti will play at quarterback but hasn't announced a plan for that. It will be in large part determined by the flow of the game. The guess here is Wallace will start. He'll have the first opportunity to have the "hot hand," and Freeze did say that if either quarterback got on a roll he'd stay in the game.
The biggest passing game concerns I've seen in camp have been Wallace's inability to go an entire practice without an interception - usually because of a decision - and Brunetti's habit of having passes batted at the line of scrimmage.
Questions, comments, topics ... leave them here.
I'll be checking the blog throughout the day.
Spanning the globe on a Friday morning. ...
From the mother ship, recruiting, cooperation and Mississippi State.
From Gainesville, columnist Pat Dooley remembers when the East was the dominant SEC division, and he doesn't think it will take much for the East to rise again. Here's the plan he maps out.
There seems to be a mixed bag of expectations for Tennessee this season, those expectations getting higher the closer you get to Knoxville where Vols coach Derek Dooley says you won't have the Vols to kick around any more. Others are taking a more wait-and-see approach. Whatever the case, it never helps to suspend your top returning receiver, and it doesn't look like Da'Rick Rogers will be back.
Speaking of Dooley, he's a popular name but by no means the only name on a list the nation's "hotseat coaches."
Auburn coach Gene Chizik has named his quarterback, going with the athlete. Birmingham columnist Kevin Scarbinsky says Kiehl Frazier didn't win the job by default.
From Tuscaloosa, Alabama's focus shifts away from itself and toward Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson.
From Baton Rouge, Kevin Minter isn't a Cajun, he's from Georgia. He's paid his dues with LSU and is following the footsteps of another Georgian as he tries to become the next impact linebacker for the Tigers.
As game week gets closer there is less drama at practice each day unless it involves injury. Today it did not, except for more good news, with Collins Moore catching balls and looking good doing it, we're told.
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze continues to cite progress in the recovery of Charles Sawyer and Wesley Pendleton, good news for he Ole Miss secondary.
Freeze said he liked the energy of today's practice and cited "phenomenal" catches by Vince Sanders and Ja-Mes Logan.
He's still looking for a turnover-free day from his quarterbacks. Bo Wallace threw a pick today, the only turnover among he and Barry Brunetti, that Freeze said was a wrong decision. Freeze took responsibility, saying, "We need to coach them better and let them know what we want them to do on that play."
The position switch of E.J. Epperson from tight end to defensive end looks like it will end with a starting job for Epperson, who continues to run first team. Coaches really like Epperson's attitude and effort.
I asked defensive coordinator Dave Wommack about Channing Ward's week, and he was the third coach I've heard talk about how Ward "looks the part." Wommack didn't have much to say about Ward's mental week but finished off that subject by laughing, stressing that Ward will definitely play and saying, "Do I look crazy?"
Florida is not as dominant right now as it has been in recent seasons, but it was up there among the national elite many times when the team I was covering, whether Ole Miss or MSU, got the better of the Gators.
Florida was ranked No. 3 in 2000 when MSU off-set the Gators' 494 passing yards with 351 rushing yards and won 47-35.
Getting into the Way Back Machine now, but I was a Meridian Star employee in 1992 when I covered a Thursday night MSU win over Florida, 30-6, in which the Bulldogs limited Gators running back Errict Rhett.
Afterward, as players were walking off the field and media headed to the interview room I walked alongside Rhett and asked him what State had done to have so much defensive success. He used an expletive, in a polite sort of way, to explain that he really had no idea.
Later, on the Ole Miss beat, I watched Eli Manning pass for a mere 154 yards but lead the Rebles to a 17-14 win over then-No. 4 Florida. Matt Grier had a couple of picks, one returned for a touchdown.
The Ole Miss defense knocked around Rex Grossman that day.
The Rebels followed up that game with a 20-17 win in Gainesville the next season.
I recall that after State defeated Florida in 2000 it was absolutely destroyed in the Swamp the following season, 52-0, when the Gators were ranked No. 2. I asked a Florida player if he was concerned that the Bulldogs might score late against the reserves and spoil the shutout. His response was, “We could have played for two weeks, and they wouldn't have scored.”
After the 2003 win, Ole Miss didn't see the Gators again until 2007, a 30-24 Ole Miss loss in Oxford.
Then came the 2008 trip, the 31-30 Ole Miss win, the Kentrell Lockett blocked PAT, the big game from Dext McCluster, Jevan Snead's deep ball to Shay Hodge and finally the fourth-down stop of Tim Tebow to end the day for the eventual national champs.
I've never heard a quieter stadium. Unexpected wins are always fun to cover, because players and coaches are so excited – and talkative – afterward.
Spanning the globe on a Thursday morning. ...
From the mother ship, Brandon Speck is keeping up with the recruitment of Itawamba AHS running back Ashton Shumpert this season and had an update earlier this week. There are a lot of schools' on Shumpert's radar, including Ole Miss, MSU and Vanderbilt.
From Knoxville, there are good vibes coming out of the media-restricted Tennessee camp, but columnist Bob Gilbert isn't buying in with the Vols just yet.
Gilbert writes about the cumulative failure of several Tennessee coaches - including former coach Lane Kiffin - for the Vols' worst slide in a century. Kiffin has recovered nicely, however, from his abrupt Tennessee departure and has quickly guided Southern Cal out of the wilderness and back to a position of competing - perhaps being the favorite - for the national championship.
Of course, when you're talking Lane Kiffin, former Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron is never far away. He was with Kiffin for that one season in Knoxville and is back at USC, the place he left to coach the Rebels. The Trojans are getting a lot of attention these days for their offense more than their defensive line. Ed says his group will have to be a work in progress.
There were questions about the shoulder of Missouri quarterback James Franklin, which required off-season surgery, but his play in camp has put to rest many of those concerns.
Staying with the quarterbacks theme, it looks like Texas has picked one ... at least a starter. Sometimes things change by the third game - when Texas visits Ole Miss - but it appears David Ash has edged out Case McCoy, at least for now. There are those in Austin, though, who wish the Longhorns had landed Franklin some time ago.
By Hayden Sowers
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze called this the toughest week of practice, the one right before the game week that also correlates with the first week of practice, see what Freeze had to say about Wednesday’s practice:
Freeze said Jamal Mosely has done “almost everything right” since his arrest, but the final word on his punishment will come next week.
Freeze said Bo Wallace threw the ball the best today, and it continues to look like it is Bo’s job to lose. Freeze is adamant on Wallace and Brunetti playing the first two games, but in the past 6-7 practices Wallace has separated himself from Brunetti.
RB Jeff Scott was back at practice today per Freeze, “He did everything today. I think he is real close to being back to 100 percent.”
Freeze prasied three guys on the defensive scout team today, DE Temario Strong, S Quintavious Burdette, and LB Serdarius Byrant saying Strong had “about 10 sacks”. Freeze runs his scout team differently than most saying just because a player is on the “scout team” per say doesn’t mean he won’t play this season. Freeze likes the get the first team guys the best look he can get.
Seven Ole Miss walk-ons - and their parents - got some good news recently when scholarship awards were announced.
The list includes:
Terrell Brown, OL, 6-10, 377, Sr., Drew
Chris Conley, P, 5-8, 190, Jr., Bradenton, Fla.
Louis Covington, CB, 5-10, 185, Jr., Baton Rouge-Central, Fullerton College
Kyle Horine, DB, 5-9, 200, Sr., Kingwood, Texas
Josh Lancaster, LB, 5-8, 220, Sr., Mobile, Ala.
Jack Nuismer, TE, 6-2, 234, Jr., Nashville
Robert Ratliff, QB, 6-0, 215, Jr, Fort Worth, Texas
Here is the statement from Ole Miss baseball coach Mike Bianco regarding sophomore pitcher Josh Laxer.
“We are aware of the situation involving Josh Laxer and are looking into it,” coach Mike Bianco said in a statement. “Once we have all the information, we will take the proper action and handle the situation internally.”
Laxer was arrested late Friday and charged with public drunkenness, Oxford police say.
Laxer was a key part of the Rebels' pitching staff last year, going 4-0 with a 5.60 ERA in 12 appearances. He made five starts.