A few take-aways from Hugh Freeze’s post-practice presser …
Freeze continue to stress his team’s depth, though that depth has been stressed with the off-season loss of Chief Brown, and the potential loss of T.J. Shepard.
A final word on Shepard’s status will likely come this week. Typically, if you’re getting a second opinion there was something you didn’t like about the first one.
“This is something I’m not familiar with, the tendon on the bottom of the big toe. If it’s completely torn he’ll definitely need surgery. If it’s not, well some have played through the year and then gotten it fixed. We want to wait for the guys that do that all the time to tell us what they think,” Freeze said.
Information on Shepard was being FedExed to Birmingham docs today. It would be tomorrow at the earliest before those reports have been read.
While Shepard’s status is unclear it appears the Rebels are adding freshman corner Kendarius Webster now. He’s been in a blue jersey, not the no-contact green one. Freeze calls him “gifted,” but there’s a lot to learn for any freshman, especially one who’s missed a handful of practices.
Freeze said he doesn’t believe the potential absence of Shepard will require wholesale shuffling at cornerback.
Overall, Freeze had an upbeat tone about where camp is at this point.
“I love what I see. I think our leadership is better. We’re definitely deeper, and we’re excited to get going. Nothing has changed there.”
Running backs: Mark Dodson spoke to media today. Freeze says there’s really no separation among a large number of quality running backs. I’Tavius Mathers and Jaylen Walton would likely get the first opportunities because of their experience, he said.
“I’m pleased with all of our running backs. It’s another place that we have depth with quality people. I’m not afraid to play any of them,” Freeze said.
Offensive Line: Competition continues at center and right tackle, and it sound like OL coach Matt Luke is doing some tinkering in his quest to build depth. Freshmen Rod Taylor and Sean Rawlings were getting reps at tackle today.
“And we moved Carlton Martin inside with Daronte (Bouldin) and some other guys who were playing inside,” Freeze said.
Freeze was asked about Taylor’s conditioning for camp and said, “He’s pushing himself to get through it. I don’t worry about his conditioning. It will get there.”