There’s a lot of buzz around this Ole Miss defense, the most talented and experienced unit the Rebels have field in Hugh Freeze’s brief tenure.
After today’s workout Freeze was more disappointed in his offensive line than he was excited by the defense.
“The things we tried to run this morning you have to be able to protect, and we did not protect at all. We’ve got to get more effort out of us offensively. We had two real good days this week. Yesterday and today both have been pretty evident the defense is way ahead and dominating, so we’ve got a ways to go, but everybody does at this point,” he said.
Usually a defense is ahead of an offense at this point in camp, but Freeze said the gap was wider than what would be considered normal.
“It’s typical for them to be ahead but not quite as dominant as I think they were the last couple of days. Probably half the plays we had scripted were wasted reps for the receivers, because our quarterbacks didn’t even have time to go through their progressions.”
Freeze has changed some things wtihin the offense, and it’s taking some time to teach that to younger players.
Two things have resulted: The defense’s play has made the process even slower, and while working on basic offense the Rebels haven’t worked on their tempo schemes.
Robert Nkemdiche led the defense today. He lined up at another spots, once standing up over center, and few offensive linemen slowed him down.
One that did was Laremy Tunsil. Nkemdiche didn’t spend a lot of time over Tunsil, but I would say in the plays I saw Tunsil would have won on points.
In most of the scrimmage work, however, Nkemdiche was in the backfield.
Freeze says Nkemdiche has been dominant all week.
“Pretty much. Our gap schemes, we can’t back block because of him. That’s caused us to have to change some things, and when you’re installing you want to be able to just run your stuff and teach it, but it looks so bad that you get frustrated. He’s a handful,” Freeze said.
Shepard out: Heralded junior college transfer Tee Shepard, a former five-star signee with Notre Dame, missed today’s practice with a foot injury. He had an MRI scheduled for 11 a.m., and Freeze was hopeful to know the results of that soon.
Shepard had been running in a rotation of first-team cornerbacks. Today’s first-team corners were Mike Hilton and Senquez Golson, the latter having a couple of interceptions.
Hilton had been working at Huskie as well as corner. With Shepard out freshman D.J. Buford was getting a lot of second team work behind Tony Conner.
OL competitions: Freeze said he’ll let the competitions at center and right tackle go for about another week before naming his starters for the opener against Boise State on Aug. 28 in Atlanta.
Earlier in the week he praised junior college transfer Fahn Cooper and had Cooper running first team at right tackle. Robert Conyers got a lot of first-team work there today. Conyers is also competing with Ben Still for the job at center.