By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – The Hugh Freeze version of the Ole Miss offense will have a different look, and part of that difference will involve the tight end, coaches say.
Tight ends on Houston Nutt’s last two Ole Miss teams had a combined 24 catches. Eighteen of those came last year, one touchdown, a 3-yard catch by Jamal Mosley from Zack Stoudt against Southern Illinois.
“I think the tight end fits in great. I say that because of the many ways we can use them,” tight ends coach Maurice Harris says.
The Rebels’ Tuesday workout lacked the energy of two practices on Monday and left Freeze lamenting a lack of leadership, particularly from the offense.
One of the quarterbacks who can help involve those tight ends was unavailable. Junior college transfer Bo Wallace dressed but didn’t throw as he tries to heal a blister on a finger on his throwing hand.
With Wallace watching his main competitor, Barry Brunetti, and freshman Maikhail Miller, the former Itawamba AHS star, took the snaps.
“Maikhail’s getting better and better,” Freeze said. “He’s got a strong arm. He’s very accurate. Still doesn’t know what’s going on, but I think he’s getting a lot better.
“Barry did some good things early on, but he’s still inconsistent and gets sloppy with his mechanics.”
A dependable tight end will be a valuable weapon for whoever is throwing passes.
Harris believes he has two of first-team quality with different strengths and others behind them who are developing.
Those back-end guys could be very important. On July 30 Freeze announced an indefinite suspension of Mosley. The senior from Memphis – whose career took him to Oklahoma State and Northwest Community College before Ole Miss – had been arrested just days prior on charges of public drunkenness and disturbing the peace.
Though suspended, Mosley has practiced throughout camp. His availability for the Sept. 1 opener against Central Arkansas remains unclear.
“He has a couple more things he has to do. That’s primarily on coach Freeze and how he’s seen Jamal’s progression,” Harris said. “My thing to Jamal is come out every day with the expectation that you’re playing the first snap.”
If he is, then he gives the Rebels their most athletic presence at the position.
Harris says senior Ferbia Allen has been the one most comfortable with assignments throughout the installation of a new offense.
Senior H.R. Greer, a fullback under the previous administration, has gotten plenty of reps too, most of his action coming near the line of scrimmage. Harris says he handles the blocking and close-in assignments very well.
The new offense, though, calls for an occasional deep route by the tight end.
“Jamal and Ferbia can do it. We feel comfortable with those guys doing it,” Harris said. “If H.R., is on the field and it’s called, he has to do it too. I have to teach him.”