By John Davis, Oxford Citizen
Laremy Tunsil is free, and set to play in his first game of the season Saturday night against No. 15 Texas A&M. The junior offensive tackle, held out the first seven weeks by Ole Miss due to an NCAA investigation, has made things more lively on offense.
Hugh Freeze raved about the way the Rebels practiced Tuesday when asked about what Tunsil’s return has done for his teammates from a morale standpoint.
“We had a great Tuesday and a great Sunday. The offensive practice (Tuesday) was quite enthusiastic and I think he is a part of the reason,” Freeze said during Wednesday’s teleconference. “I think it’s also getting some other people back to where they were slotted to play. Justin Bell is back at center and Fahn Cooper is back to right tackle. We seemed to have a little extra pep, and I would guess that he is a part of the reason for sure.”
Freeze went on to say that Tunsil handled things “as well as one could” through the difficult process.
“There were days where you are extra frustrated. Most days though he was very in the moment and he did the things he could do that day to make sure he was getting better,” Freeze said. “He tried to isolate that in his mind where it didn’t affect other areas of his life.”
Freeze said that defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche was going through his concussion protocol in the effort to play against the Aggies.
“I’m not sure if everyone’s is the same throughout the country. Ours began on Monday and usually, if things go well, they kind of wind up either on Thursday or Friday,” Freeze said of the testing. “That’s what we hope and anticipate, but I can’t say that for sure.”
Nkemdiche was hurt last week at Memphis carrying the ball against the Tigers. Freeze hasn’t decided if he will use the junior on the side of the ball moving forward.
“The package is in, but we will wait to see if he is cleared before we make that decision,” Freeze said. “It was definitely a freak deal. That concussion could happen on any play of course. We’ll do what is best for him and the team.”
Ole Miss and Texas A&M will kick at 6 Saturday night. The game can be seen on ESPN.