|August 28, 2012||What Scott missed this month||4 comments|
|August 28, 2012||Staying on message||no comments|
|August 28, 2012||Tuesday Morning Update||2 comments|
|August 27, 2012||Press Conference Notebook||no comments|
|August 27, 2012||First Depth Chart||1 comments|
|August 27, 2012||8.27 Depth Chart guess||1 comments|
|August 27, 2012||Epperson's Effort||no comments|
|August 27, 2012||Monday Morning Update||1 comments|
|August 26, 2012||Baby steps, big steps for the OL||3 comments|
|August 26, 2012||Six days to kickoff||1 comments|
Jeff Scott has two years of experience, but that doesn't mean his practice time lost because of injury this month is inconsequential.
Scott has taken the "mental reps" as they say, but how much he plays in Saturday's opener against Central Arkansas will be determined by how he handles practice this week, Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said.
The bottom line is Scott is on page with the offense, but has missed the contact, and re-learning the contact is a big deal for a running back.
Says RB coach Derrick Nix: "The biggest thing is getting hit, going through full scrimmages. That's a necessity for a running back. You have to go in and get acclimated to getting hit by guys a lot of times. That's one of the easiest ways to go out and fumble the ball, if you're not used to the contact. That's the biggest thing. I think mentally he's going to be there. He realizes what we're trying to do with the offense, but at running back you've got to get hit, get a feel for running into linebackers on the blitz or getting ready to hit guys that are coming unblocked with ball-security."
Had Scott been healthy they entire month he'd have had a challenge on his hands with Randall Mackey's move to the backfield. As it stands, the depth chart reads Mackey "or" Scott as the starter. Freeze made liberal use of the word "or" sprinkling it 10 times through the first regular season depth chart.
If Scott is healthy, he'll be a big part of things, and it will be interesting to see he and Mackey on the field at the same time.
Interesting, too, will be how all the backs are used with freshmen I'Tavius Mathers and Jaylen Walton then veterans Devin Thomas and Nick Parker lining up behind Mackey and Scott. Nix says all six backs will have "different roles."
Hugh Freeze talked of the wilderness and talked of rebuilding in the off-season. He's never talked about winning and losing, and that didn't change at his first regular season presser.
Freeze stayed on message Monday, choosing not to pressure his players into thinking they have to win, even against an FCS opponent in Central Arkansas. Hugh's Message
The most definitive statement Freeze has made about his quarterbacks came on Monday when he said "probably around" Wednesday he would name a starter. Being the starter only means you get the first chance to not come out of the game. Freeze has said whoever had the hot hand would play, a kind of "make it, take it" approach to his two-quarterback system. So the best way to stay on the field is to lead a scoring drive every time. That's what Bo Wallace intends to do. Notebook
Spanning the globe on a Tuesday morning. ...
Good read on the Sun Belt Conference here, the league the produced Hugh Freeze, as the article states has been considered the least of the least as football leagues go. There's a spring in the step for the SBC under a new commissioner. The league, at least those speaking here, believe the SBC will be just fine with refocused goals when the dust settles on the college football landscape. ...
From Columbia, Mo., (you have to specify which Columbia now), Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel confirms that his best running back will not be back from a major injury this season and has good things to say about the senior who will take his place. The Tigers open up with Southeastern Louisiana. ...
Speaking of Southeastern Louisiana, former Ole Miss quarterback Nathan Stanley has survived in a QB competition against the guy he played behind last year. He will start for the Lions on opening day, because he had a good camp and protected the ball better. Stanley threw six interceptions to two touchdowns last year. Southeastern is coached by Ron Roberts, who led Delta State to GSC championships in four of the last five years. Stanley lost out at Ole Miss after Jeremiah Masoli transferred in and was not productive in a four-way spring competition that followed for the 2011 season. ..
From Fayetteville, Knile Davis, one of the top backs in the SEC in 2010, has been declared fit and ready for the Razorbacks' opener this week against Jacksonville State. Davis sustained a broken ankle in camp in 2011 and missed the season. Also from Arkansas, the circumstances leading to John L. Smith's role as interim head coach are bizarre, but Smith is happy to be where he is. ...
The SEC kicks things off with an "appointment television" matchup Thursday night between South Carolina and Vanderbilt in Nashville. It's a great opportunity for Vandy's James Franklin to take a big step after telling us about all the buzz around Vandy football. Some are calling this Vandy's Super Bowl. ...
Notes from the Hugh Freeze presser …
Here's Hugh on the importance of winning the season opener against Central Arkansas:
“I can't sit here and say … I would never say it's do or die. Any time you put that statement out in front of your kids it's not good, because this is a process. It's going to take patience. It is going to be a process. It's not going to be cured overnight. Does it expediate our journey? Absolutely. The confidence that is gained from success … there's nothing like it. We talk to our kids all the time about staying out of the chair. The chair represents a given results and not the process. If you're sitting in the chair and you're always about results, when things don't go your way, you're tempted to lose concentration and focus through the adversity you face. It will still be about the process win or lose.”
A decision on the starting quarterback could come Wednesday, Hugh says. Both quarterbacks will play, and who plays the most depends on who has the hot hand.
Bo Wallace says it's his goal to “lead a scoring drive every time.” That's a great goal obviously.
Throughout the competition Wallace and Barry Brunetti have been able to keep things friendly, Brunetti says.
Ferbia Allen is pumped about the new offense, eager to run pass patterns from his tight end position and to have fewer plays “with his hand in the dirt.”
Freeze says he expects a wide-open offense from UCA. He played against UCA last year while coaching at Arkansas State.
Both Allen and Jamal Mosley have run downfield patterns in the new offense. Mosley's status for the season opener against UCA remains unclear. Freeze announced the Mosley was suspended indefinitely following the player's late-summer arrest. Mosley has practiced all through the month. Freeze says he was given a list of objectives to achieve and that “he's done everything we've asked him to do.”
Randall Mackey was a no-show at the presser. We'll talk to him tomorrow, hopefully. In his absence there were plenty of people talking about Randall Mackey and the good things most folks believe he can do at running back.
Here's offensive coordinator Dan Werner: “It's different when you're a quarterback and the linebackers are dropping to cover a pass. At running back, they're plugging gaps. It's a whole different ballgame, and he's looked really good. He's got great vision, great timing and balance. Of course, nothing's been full live. It's a innate thing. I'ts not like we can do a drill. Somebody didn't do a drill with Magic Johnson and teach him to do no-look passes. He just had it, and we're hoping that Randall just has it.”
Most of the wounded players still out, CB Wesley Pendleton, CB Cliff Coleman, S Charles Sawyer, are expected back this week. How much any of them will play in the first game remains unclear and will be determined by what kind of week they have on the field.
Setting up for the Freeze presser and looking at the first depth chart.
Lots of ors here, of note:
Barry Brunetti OR Bo Wallace at quarterback; Randall Mackey OR Jeff Scott at RB; Ja-Mes Logan or Vince Sanders at Z-WR.
On defense Cody Prewitt OR Chief Brown at free safety; Charles Sawyer OR Chief Brown at rover with freshman Trae Elston listed third.
No Ors at the corners. Wesley Pendleton then Cliff Coleman at the field corner, Senquez Golson then Louis Covington at the boundary corner.
On the defensive line, Issac Gross then Gilbert Pena at nose, Carlton Martin then Bryon Bennett at DT. Uriah Grant listed third at NT.
Here's one man's take on what a 2-deep might look like for Saturday against Central Arkansas. We'll know a little more later today. It was Ed Orgeron's staff that coined the phrase “etched in sand” regarding the depth chart. It won't be surprising to hear that phrase today.
There are a couple of names missing in this guess list that I suspect will see significant snaps. Don't know if they'll start Collins Moore out of respect for the work Korvic Neat did in camp, but Moore will play, and they will want to get him into shape. Same for Charles Sawyer. They may get him on the field quicker and more often than Moore, because of the inexperience in the secondary.
Running back will be an interesting position to watch. I really think they built depth there this month. Randall Mackey had a good camp, and Jeff Scott, while far and away the most experienced, was held out most of camp. Look to see both of them on the field at some point.
At corner, Louis Covington has had a good camp, and Wesley Pendleton has missed a good deal of time with the knee sprain. Those two could flip on a depth chart.
WR: Donte Moncrief, Cody Core
WR: Ja-Mes Logan, Vincent Sanders
Slot: Korvic Neat, Philander Moore
QB: Bo Wallace, Barry Brunetti
RB: Randall Mackey, Jeff Scott
TE: Ferbia Allen, Jamal Mosley
LT: Emmanuel McCray, Robert Conyers
LG: Aaron Morris, Justin Bell
C: Evan Swindall, Chase Hughes
RG: A.J. Hawkins, Jared Duke
RT: Pierce Burton, Patrick Junen
DE: C.J. Johnson, Jason Jones
NT: Gilbert Pena, Issac Gross
DT: Bryon Bennett, Carlton Martin
DE: E.J. Epperson, Cameron Whigham
LB: Mike Marry, Joel Kight
LB: Aaron Garbutt, Denzel Nkemdiche
CB: Senquez Golson, Abdul Bangura
CB: Wesley Pendleton, Louis Covington
S: Dehendret Collins, Brishen Mathews
S: Cody Prewitt, Trae Elston
S: Charles Sawyer, Chief Brown
Since the Rebels started practice earlier this month no position has seen as much experimentation as defensive end.
Clearly, Hugh Freeze and his staff are trying to find an answer to the pass rush problems that plagued this team last year. The Rebels had just 13 sacks a year ago, compared to 34 by opponents.
Only five of those sacks came from defensive ends, and they were produced by Wayne Dorsey and Gerald Rivers, who are no longer with the team. Only one sack was credited to a defensive lineman -- tackle Uriah Grant -- who is back with the team this season.
There are high hopes and expectations for sophomore C.J. Johnson who will hold down one end spot. The other is an opportunity for someone, and in camp senior E.J. Epperson won over Freeze and the defensive staff with his effort. Epperson is described in this update as not the most talented player but as someone who will play with maximum effort each play.
Epperson is an interesting story, a senior who correctly assessed himself as the backup tight end and sought the move to a position he hadn't played since high school at Class 2A Humboldt, Tenn.
There have been other experiments here, like sophomore Ralph Williams moving from linebacker. Cameron Whigham brings some experience, and Channing Ward brings raw potential.
With so many unknowns at the position, it's important to have someone like Epperson leading the way with work ethic.
Spanning the globe on a Monday morning. ...
This from Ole Miss Media Relations. ...
Television for the Rebels' season opener against Central Arkansas is being carried only on pay-per-view.
The telecast is being carried on cable systems across the region (listed below). Channel assignments on Direct TV, Dish TV and UVerse will be announced at a later date.
ESPN Gameplan/ESPN3.com will have the game in outside markets, but the game will be blacked out in Mississippi, Arkansas and Memphis, Tenn. In the blacked-out areas, residential purchases on DirecTV and Dish Network are by remote.
Announcers will be Richard Cross handling play-by-play duties and Brett Norsworthy as color analyst.
CABLE SYSTEMS - $34.95
Cable One: Biloxi, Gulfport, Long Beach, Pascagoula; Comcast: Corinth, Hattiesburg, Jackson, Meridian, Rankin County, Tupelo, Memphis (TN); Mediacomm: Biloxi, Long Beach; Metrocast: Amory, Ashland, Booneville, Guntown, Hickory Flat, Holly Springs, Iuka, Louisville, New Albany, Oxford, Pontotoc, Starkville, Union, Red Bay (AL); Suddenlink: Greenville, Greenwood
SATELLITE SYSTEMS - $39.95
Dish Network: Channel TBA; DirecTV: Channel TBA; UVerse: Channel TBA
From Yahoo, Pat Forde reports that an NCAA investigation into the recruiting of Memphis-area prospects isn't a recent thing.
From the Dr. Saturday college football blog, Alabama coach Nick Saban responds to comments made by Steve Spurrier about his coaching skills ... comments made four months ago.
Speaking of Saban, will there be a fifth-year senior rise from obscurity to play a key role on this year's Alabama team, as Nick Gentry did on defense last year? If so, Saban isn't saying ... or making predictions. ...
From Baton Rouge, LSU coach Les Miles has put the BCS title game loss to Alabama behind him. He's moved on and hopes his team has too. Miles believes the Tigers could be better this season than they were in 2011 when they steamrolled most regular-season opponents.
The offensive line has made the most improvement of any position group at Ole Miss this month. From a spring of struggle as it learned an up-tempo system that is different in many ways from a traditional offense, the guys up front say they are cohesive and confident as Game Week arrives. OL Improvement
I have written before about the habit I have for being on time. I hate being late. When I'm covering a football game, on time doesn't mean at the kickoff, it means an hour and a half or two hours before.
Well, by my definition I was very late at Legion Field in 1990 for Southern Miss-Alabama.
That was a game that is remembered as one of the highlights of Brett Favre's college career. He was only six weeks removed from a near-fatal car wreck in which doctors removed 30 inches of his small intestine. He had missed the season opener against Delta State but came back to lead a 27-24 comeback win over Gene Stallings and No. 13 Alabama.
Favre would lead Southern Miss to a win at Auburn later that year. The Golden Eagles finished 8-3 in the regular season and lost to North Carolina State in the All-American Bowl in Birmingham when another Favre-led comeback fell short. That season included an 18-17 loss at Georgia the week after Alabama, and the four losses were by a total of 12 points.
Back to the Alabama game.
I was working in Meridian and had been in Gulfport the night before covering Meridian High. At the time my wife was on the path to becoming my fiancee. Not sure if she realized it then or if she realized it more than I did. Anyway, the Meridian High graduate and I got back from Gulfport in the wee hours of the morning.
I was wired with that adrenaline you get from being up late and knowing you have a big day the next day. After a little sleep, I was ready to go. But Laurie convinced me that we needed to leave as late as possible, not because of my lack of sleep but because she would take her grandmother to another part of Birmingham – a nicer part – to meet her Aunt for grandmother to continue on to a visit in the Atlanta area.
I felt like I was in no position to refuse, especially when the ladies don't usually understand or agree with my timeline on game day.
So for this late morning kick, we were heading east on I-20/59 much later than I would prefer. Ultimately we reached the exit where traffic was backed up to the interstate.
I was unhappy with this development, and I was told later – not with warm and comforting vibes - that Laurie and grandmother could feel the tension in the car rising.
Anyway, I inched off the interstate and along the neighborhood road to Legion Field. Soon I made the announcement that when I could see the stadium I would get out of the car and walk, jog actually. I don't think this helped the tension.
I half walked half jogged several blocks, made it to will call and finally up to the press box where I had to run off someone from my seat, a hanger-oner who was excited by his good fortune to find the front row seat of some guy who had ordered a pass and didn't show up.
When all was said and done I was a little winded, and kickoff was nine minutes away, long enough for me to catch my breath.
I watched Favre's performance, and Laurie, with grandmother on her way to Atlanta by then, drove right up to the stadium and picked me up a few hours later.
There was much less tension on the way home, and Laurie has enjoyed telling the story from her perspective a few times through the years.