Ole Miss safety Trae Elston brought up the issue of heart and effort in postgame interviews Saturday when the Rebels lost 37-24 at Memphis.
Sometimes players say that after a disappointing loss — and these losses are beginning to come with more regularity than they have in a while — when they don’t know what else to say.
I’m not saying that’s what Elston did. I will say that it looks to me like effort may be part of the problem but not the only problem. Confidence right now is just as much an issue.
There were varying opinions Monday on the heart and effort question, but Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze pledged that this week’s preparation would be full of passion. He hopes ultimately that each individual, player and coach, will make the right decision to respond.
In the notebook we take a look at a lengthy list of players going through concussion protocol this week.
The most notable one is defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche. Two other starters, Elston and punter Will Gleeson, and backup linebacker Tayler Polk, will go through protocol testing as well.
Nkemdiche has played both sides of the ball and special teams this year, although his plays in the other two phases have been limited.
He was on offense when he got hurt, carrying the ball on an unsuccessful third-and-1 rushing attempt when his head banged against the turf on the tackle.
After the game Freeze said he he didn’t have any problem with the idea of Nkemdiche on offense and that, in essence, you can’t coach scared and not play a kid because he might get hurt.
He had a revised answer to the Nkemdiche on offense question Monday.
“If Robert Nkemdiche has anything to do wtih it he will play offense again. I don’t know. I will continue to debate that. Robert came to see me this morning to make sure I wasn’t thinking about keeping himm from doing that. That is just the competitor in him for sure. It has been successful for us, but we will think through all of that for sure.”