Freeze says his mindset is more anxious heading into opener

By John Davis, Oxford Citizen

Last season, the Ole Miss Rebels met Boise State in Atlanta in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game. It was a contest that kept the attention of the players through the summer.

This season, the Rebels host UT-Martin, an FCS opponent that hasn’t fared well against teams from the SEC, in the opener. Ole Miss is a large favorite, and as Freeze said, everyone has an idea of how the game is going to turn out.

“The mindset for me is I’m more anxious. You know what people’s perception of what this Saturday should be if we were to just be real with one another,” Freeze said. “You’re never quite sure what your team is going to do on that opening day. We have new quarterbacks, so I’m probably more uptight about this one than I would be. Your mind is not your friend.”

Freeze continued to praise the Skyhawks following Wednesday’s practice, and the job coach Jason Simpson has done during his tenure.

“I would like how we have opened up the last few years and have our FCS opponent a little further down the schedule a bit,” Freeze said. “This was done long before I got here. We got to do it, and it’s my job to get them ready.”

Injury update

Cornerback Carlos Davis was back on the practice field Tuesday, and Freeze said that he looked good in practice fielding punts.

“We’re going to give him a shot,” Freeze said.

To play or not to play

There is a chance a handful of true freshmen play this season. Then again, there is a chance only one, or two, play in 2015. Freeze and his staff are still making the call. It appears that wide receiver DeMarkus Lodge may get a redshirt. Van Jefferson, another standout wideout in high school, may also sit even though he impressed during camp.

“We got to sit down and have a conversation between him and his parents,” Freeze said about Lodge playing in the opener, or the season as a whole. “It’s not ability or talent, him or Van both. If you throw them out there in week one, two or three and all of sudden everyone stays healthy and they’ve gotten 15 reps. Even though they’re quality and they can play, is that really best for them long term? You wish you had a crystal ball as to how you’re going to stay health wise. We don’t and we have to do best with what we feel is a joint decision between the young man, the family and our staff.”

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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