|August 31, 2012||College Football Page||no comments|
|August 30, 2012||Bo Wallace named starting QB||6 comments|
|August 30, 2012||Predictions Anyone?||27 comments|
|August 30, 2012||Grandy, return specialist, returns to Ole Miss||no comments|
|August 29, 2012||8.29 Practice Report||no comments|
|August 29, 2012||Freeze from SEC teleconference||no comments|
|August 29, 2012||The running back situation for the opener||no comments|
|August 29, 2012||The Freeze Era||no comments|
|August 29, 2012||Wednesday Morning Update||2 comments|
|August 28, 2012||8-28 Practice Report||no comments|
Junior college transfer Bo Wallace has been named the starting quarterback for Ole Miss, the school has announced.
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze will comment on his decision later today.
Freeze has said all along that both Wallace and Barry Brunetti would play in Saturday's season opener against Central Arkansas. Whoever has the hot hand will play the most, he said.
It seemed to me that Wallace was the better passer this month and might have won the job earlier had he been able to go through complete practice sessions without an interception. Brunetti, listed at 6-foot tall, continually struggled with passes batted around the line of scrimmage.
Brunetti's running and leadership skills are solid, though, and he can be effective as well.
Welcome to Prediction Thursday for 2012.
What'cha got? Bring it to the table. (And other cliches.)
The Hugh Freeze Era begins Saturday night at 6 against Central Arkansas. You have to be there or order the pay-per-view if you're going to see it.
Here's what I think you will see:
First, an Ole Miss win, but here's how the Rebels will get there.
One, a running game. Even with Jeff Scott unlikely to play. The Rebels should be able to get through this game without Jeff Scott as the Ole Miss OL will out-weigh the UCA defensive front by an average of 37 pounds. The absence of Scott will be felt more next week against UTEP if he's not back to good health.
For Saturday, Randall Mackey will have a solid debut. The freshmen, I'Tavius Mathers and Jaylen Walton, will get carries too, but the staff will go easy here and make sure they've adapted to the nerves that go along with your first college game.
Freeze will name a starting quarterback later today, and the guess here says it's Bo Wallace. Wallace and Barry Brunetti will both play. Freeze has said that from the very beginning. You'll see Wallace be effective but throw one interception. Brunetti, the running quarterback, will get some things done with a package that wasn't shown during open periods of practice, another guess
There's a lot of excitement for Ole Miss football right now, the excitement that typically follows a coaching change. There has been genunine improvement in camp: the OL, the RBs, DB Louis Covington come to mind.
But the last memory of Ole Miss football in game action is not good. There are a lot of veterans who are eager to atone for this memory, and it would be a good thing for the Rebels to experience success early.
UCA is a good, solid team at its level, much like Jacksonsville State was two years ago. The Bears, 9-4 and a playoff team last year, are ranked No. 21 in FCS. They return six all-Southland Conference players, one of them wide receiver Jesse Grandy, formerly of Ole Miss. They will have a mobile quarterback, three senior running backs and an offense similar to Freeze's in terms of formations and tempo.
The Rebels need to play a solid, efficient game. That doesn't mean they have to win by three touchdowns for the game to be a success, but they need to show a good understanding of schemes. They need to be confident and in control.
At the end of the night, don't expect to have a lot of questions answered about this Ole Miss team. If they play well and win, the natural response will be, "Well, it was an FCS team."
If questions are answered the answers won't be good. It will mean that UCA has pushed the Rebels, maybe even won the game, and that rebuilding Ole Miss football is behind schedule.
Leave your predictions and analysis below.
Prediction: Ole Miss 28, UCA 14
Saturday night will mark the first time Central Arkansas has played against a BCS conference opponent since moving from Division II to the Football Championship Sub-division (formerly I-AA) six years ago.
While that will be a first for the Bears, it won't be a first for UCA wide receiver Jesse Grandy, a Pine Bluff native, who played two seasons at Ole Miss before transferring back to his home state.
Grandy led the Bears in receiving last year with 49 catches for 788 yards and nine touchdowns. He was second-team All-Southland Conference. He averaged 21.6 yards on kick returns and ranked in the SLC's top 10 in receiving yards, punt returns, scoring, receptions per game and all-purpose yardage.
“I'm very excited. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We could have opened up the schedule with anybody. We could play New Mexico or somebody in New Hampshire. It's a chance for me to go back and see a lot of old friends and have a small, little reunion,” Grandy said.
At Ole Miss, Grandy had 24 catches over two years. He ranked third in the SEC in punt returns as a sophomore with a 14.7-yard average and also averaged 20.9 yards on kick returns.
By Hayden Sowers
Hugh Freeze gave his team a little break from the heat today letting them go inside into the Indoor Practice Facility for a little under two-hour practice, “Anything we can do to motivate them to get a little more out of them I think is good, but this is really the first time we have done this when the weather is nice so I think they really enjoyed it.”
LB Denzel Nkemdiche has moved into a starting LB role over the past 3-4 days, and DC
Dave Wommack acknowledged that after practice, “I feel like he has come a long well this past week, but these past few days he has been really good.” This staff’s focus on more speed on the field is more aparent with Nkemdiche playing over Aaron Garbutt, who has more muscle and weight, but less speed than Nkemdiche.
DE Channing Ward will has specific packages for him to play with, but Wommack says Ward only knows about “a fourth of the defense” right now.
Look for S Charles Sawyer, DB Cliff Coleman, and DB Wesley Pendelton to all be full speed ahead Saturday. Big boost for the Rebel defense as Sawyer and Pendelton are both starters. Wommack on Sawyer, “Charles is so important to our defense being the quarterback back there really loud.”
On the negative injury front don’t look for RB Jeff Scott to play much Saturday, if he plays at all.
TE Jamal Mosely will be a gametime decision, after his arrest earlier in fall camp.
Right now the overall mood around the team is that they are just ready to plan. I overheard multiple players on the sideline talking about how they were just ready to play Saturday, and Wommack and Freeze both echoed that.
Some highlights from Hugh Freeze's time on the SEC teleconference ...
We're a little bit tired of hitting on each other and seeing each other's schemes. We're ready to see someone else's. I'm not sure how any new coach of a program can evaluate exactly where you are, particularly in this league. I'm anxious to get us out and see exactly where we are and what the truth really is.
We will get together tonight and make a decision. It will be announced tomorrow.
(How much of your offense will you use this week?)
Probably around 60 percent of our offense will be used in these first weeks.
(Concerns about UCA)
The biggest concern we have is they always are picking up the Division 1 transfers that move down, and they have several for this season. We're not sure how they will fit into their schemes. You know that they have great athletic ability, so that's always a concern.
The depth is such an issue there on the offensive line that I don't think we can be totally sold out to what we hope to be in a few years, but there has been considerable improvement. Hopefully we will see that Saturday.
(Freshmen to play this week?)
I'm expecting seven to play, possibly eight.
News that Jeff Scott, the most experienced running back for Ole Miss, continues to be slowed by lingering back pain lowers the chance that he'll be available for the season opener Saturday against Central Arkansas.
A month ago that would have been cause for great concern, but the move of Randall Mackey to tailback seems like it will be a very good thing given the camp and practice he's had. The young guys have shown out too, and there are program veterans like Devin Thomas and Nick Parker who also did some good things.
Make no mistake, if Scott's poor health lingers into the second week, it will be a big blow to the Ole Miss offense.
The opener, though, is against an FCS opponent. Ole Miss is not in a position to take any opponent lightly, but this is not the type of defense the Rebels will face the remaining weeks of the season. Up front, the Rebels' offensive line will outweigh the Bears' four-man defensive front by an average of 37 pounds.
Earlier this week running backs coach Derrick Nix told us that all six backs would have “different roles,” and that was when he thought he'd have Scott.
My guess is the opener shapes up with Mackey getting more carries and being a bigger part of the offense that he would have otherwise. Not that he was going to be a small part, but his touches will no doubt increase, and they'll need to get him prepared for what another game without Scott might mean for him.
As good as the freshmen were in camp, they'll want to go lightly with them in their first college game. Maybe that plan changes after the sweat breaks, and I'Tavius Mathers and Jaylen Walton have successfully touched the ball a couple of times, but early on, they'll be looking to see how those two respond.
That could mean a larger role for Thomas and Parker. Maybe those guys would have a big role anyway, but at some point you're going to run out of snaps.
Spanning the globe on a Wednesday morning. ...
If jumping to the SEC is difficult enough, how about jumping to the SEC without a bye week? In essence, that's what Texas A&M will do, although it will take a week off here at the beginning after its scheduled opener with La. Tech in Shreveport was postponed because of Hurricane Isaac.
A&M and Tech will now play Oct. 13. A&M will play 12 straight weeks beginning in Week 2 of the season. ...
If Michigan is left out of the conversation of the nation's top teams, Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson is not left out of the conversation of the nation's top players. He'll test an Alabama defense that lost seven starters but is expected to reload on the strength of the program's recruiting. Alabama and Michigan meet Saturday at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Ole Miss won't be the SEC's only two-quarterback team for opening week. From Gainesville, Florida coach Will Muschamp will alternate quarterbacks as well. ...
From Auburn, Gene Chizik has a big opener against Clemson in Atlanta. It presents opportunity for the Tigers and for Chizik, a time to focus on football rather than a number of off-field incidents in the off-season. ...
From Knoxville, company for the Honey Badger. Tennessee wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers is no longer part of the program because of failed drug tests, he says.
Looking for a favorite in the SEC East? AJC columnist Mark Bradley says Georgia will go 11-1 and win the division. ...
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze wasn't very pleased with Tuesday's workout, saying it lacked “pizazz” from the offense.
He didn't know exactly what led to a sub-par afternoon but said it could have been related to the later lifting period for the offense. Whatever the case, it's something the coaches will address, he said.
“Defensively it was excellent. I thought their energy was great, their attention to detail and to the game plan … and they were coachable. Offensively, we had no energy, no bounce in our step like it's game week. That was a little disappointing. I'm sure they will bounce back tomorrow.”
Perhaps contributing to the defensive energy was the return of two starters, cornerback Wesley Pendleton and rover Charles Sawyer. Both have been out for several weeks, Sawyer since the second day of camp.
“Just watching I thought Charles looked really good. Wesley looked 80 percent. I thought Charles was the farthest along,” Freeze said.
Backup corner Cliff Coleman also returned to practice today.
The news was not so good for running back Jeff Scott, and his status for the opener begins to lean to doubtful. Scott has a back injury.
“He tried to go today, and I was proud of him for that, but he's not himself for sure. If we had to play tomorrow, I don't know that he would be a factor,” Freeze said.