By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – They were spared a stiff breeze, but the chill in the air left no doubt what month it is.
Ole Miss players endured temperatures in the upper 30s and overcast skies on Wednesday for their first off-campus practice in preparation for Saturday’s BBVA Compass Bowl at Legion Field.
Most of the Rebels’ workouts in Oxford, before a week-long Christmas break and after, were inside their indoor facility.
The last workout, on New Year’s Eve, was in the stadium.
“It’s good for us to get out and get a practice in this type of weather. It’s a little colder here than it was the other day at Vaught-Hemingway. It’s different on the quarterbacks and receivers, the specialists especially,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said.
Quarterbacks Bo Wallace and Barry Brunetti had to get used to throwing the cold-weather ball.
Temperatures are expected to rise gradually this week. The game day forecast calls for partly cloudy skies and 52 degrees.
Freeze gives his quarterbacks the option to wear gloves. Neither do on their throwing hands.
Ole Miss worked out on the artificial turf of Birmingham Southern College, an NCAA Division III football program.
There were no injuries of note to keep players out of action.
Pittsburgh is practicing at suburban Hoover High School.
Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said his players had no trouble with the weather.
“I think they were all right. We practiced a couple of times outside, but we had such bad weather. I think it was the right thing to do. We got more quality reps inside,” he said.
The new year will be five days old when Ole Miss and Pitt get under way. The timing allows some flexibility in scheduling.
“I really like the schedule coach Freeze has put together. I thought it gave us a chance to get better fundamentally, to develop the young guys, and get ready for Pittsburgh as well,” Wommack said. “I love this schedule.”