By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The heavy lifting is done, and the hay is in the barn for Ole Miss.
The Rebels went through their last full-scale workout in preparation for the BBVA Compass Bowl on Thursday, their second day at Birmingham Southern College.
Ole Miss and Pittsburgh will go through walk-throughs and will have a press conference today at Legion Field.
Kickoff is Saturday at noon, and the game will be televised by ESPN.
Both teams are 6-6 and won three conference games.
Pittsburgh concluded its regular season Dec. 1 with a 27-6 win over South Florida.
For Ole Miss, the layoff has been longer. The Rebels haven’t played since a 41-24 win over Mississippi State to end the regular season on Nov. 24.
Ready to play
The Rebels are eager to get back on the field, but that didn’t stop running back Jeff Scott from looking ahead just a little bit after Thursday’s workout.
“I think we’ll be a better team next year. We made it to a bowl this year at 6-6. We’ve got a lot of good recruits coming in. We played like 13 freshmen this year, a lot of sophomores and juniors. We’re only losing one offensive lineman. We’re going to be a lot better,” Scott said.
The Rebels exceeded the expectations of many by reaching a bowl game in Hugh Freeze’s first year as coach. They will finish with a losing record, however, if they can’t close with a win against Pittsburgh.
Freeze was almost reluctant to speak with the media on Thursday, as if to say, “What else can be said?”
The story lines have been discussed, though Freeze did assign a number to Bo Wallace’s shoulder on Thursday, laughing while saying his sophomore quarterback was “five percent” better than the day before.
“It looked like it had a little more zip on it. We should have put the radar gun on it. It had a little more miles per hour to it today.”