Spring Football winding down

The heavy lifting is done with spring football.

There’s a walk-through practice on Friday that is closed to media and fans. The Grove Bowl is Saturday at 1. It’s not a day that will count a great deal toward position battles. There aren’t many of those this spring anyway. It’s been more about building depth. Hugh Freeze knows who most of his starters are.

Saturday is a day about not getting hurt.

Here are a few players to watch:

Channing Ward. We knew this would be an important spring for Ward, who missed most of August camp last year as a true freshman. Even with junior starter C.J. Johnson out with a broken leg, Ward hasn’t been running first team. The consistent message from the staff has been that Ward needs to “turn it loose,” that the understanding of the defense is not the biggest thing for him right now.

Mark Dodson. I’m slow to jump on the bandwagon for freshmen and anoint them as “the next big thing,” but Dodson, an early enrollee, has been impressive. Nice blend of speed and power. Ask Nick Brassell about his power. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Dodson take away snaps from I’Tavius Mathers and Jaylen Walton as the No. 2 back behind Jeff Scott. That would be more from Mathers than Walton, who has a different skill set.

Maikhail Miller. He’s benefited from getting so many reps this spring with Bo Wallace out injured. He’s made some good throws, some not so good, but he’s still young, still learning, and still very physical. It would not be surprising to see Freeze with his creativity find a package or a play for Miller, a big and powerful guy who can handle the ball.

D.T. Shackelford. What he’s attempting is very rare, to get back to playing form — and his playing form is very good — after two years away. If he can get back to the level he showed in 2010 — even if it’s only for 15 plays a game — this will be a much better defense. Shackelford has had a good spring, but I don’t think questions can really be answered until he experiences game day speed. And he’ll experience SEC speed right away with the Aug. 29 opener at Vanderbilt.

Quadarias Mireles. Wide receiver depth has been extremely low this spring. Numbers were already down, and there have been injuries too. When August arrives three starters returns, but there’s a wealth of opportunity for newcomers to break into the rotation. Mireles has been feeling his way around and hasn’t played as fast as Freeze believes he will play in August. He can be a playmaker in the slot.

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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  • The Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving brings back memories of my dear Grammy and her world famous recipe for Blackbear Pudding. You just put the Blackbears in an Egg Bowl and beat them silly for 4 quarters, then chill.
    “Roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair.”

    • Concerned

      lol. Grammy must use that Starkville math. The Golden Egg record for Thanksgiving Day games is 10-5-1 with Ole Miss being the “10.”

    • Roger Davis

      And they should make yours memorable, too. How ’bout the Mini Mormon Tabernacle Choir with a rousing rendition of ‘Oh Happy Day’, the excavation of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Ayatollah Khomeini, Saddam Hussein and a message delivered from Kim Jong-un. You are so deserving.

  • Mantachie

    buell why do u come on here. it shows where you rank in class, i am an ole miss fan , from time to time i may go over to brads blog but usually only after you or the over due turf grass has been on here hating on the rebs. u need to go to states blog, they need some post. every time i have took a look its empty over there. you seem to be their only fan, so go support brad

    • JB

      Mantachie, did you once go by the handle Oxford Rebel? JB

  • Mantachie

    JB, first let me say thanks for serving our country. to often it takes something like sept 11 to remind us of those who serve. we still have men and woman away from home and we need to pray for them each day. to answer your question no i only been on here as mantachie. my wife is from here and we moved here in 1989. My love for oxford comes from living there twice. I went to school there early in life and then again for 4 years as a teenager. As a teen I hung out on the campus.walked around and dreamed of what it would be like to play at the stadium. My memory can only take me back to the games of the late 70’s but i have been a fan since then. outside of Brewer and Cutcliff most years I have not known a winning team. excited about the future!

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