Practice takes toll on three veteran Rebels

By Parrish Alford

OXFORD – The last thing a rebuilding team lacking depth needs is a rash of injuries.
However, health became a talking point at Ole Miss on Sunday when three experienced players were unable to finish practice.
None of the injuries appear to threaten playing time at this point with the Sept. 1 season opener against Central Arkansas still almost a month away.
Sophomore wide receiver Collins Moore sustained a dislocated shoulder, junior defensive back Charles Sawyer had a thigh injury and sophomore wide receiver Donte Moncrief also took a hit on the thigh.
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said that Moore would be further evaluated with an MRI.
“You hope it just pops back to place, but you never know until you get that MRI,” Freeze said. “I think Charles will be out a few days, maybe long. Collins, I don’t know the extent of that yet. I think those two will miss some time. It’s just sickening when guys work so hard then go out and get banged up.”
That’s not likely the case for Moncrief.
Back to work today
The Rebels worked out in shoulder pads and thigh pads Sunday, not quite full gear. They will be back on the practice field this morning at 9:45. Tuesday will be the first day in full pads.
Freshmen Trae Elston and Quintavius Burdette will see an increase in practice repetitions during Sawyer’s absence.
The defense had the upper hand in Sunday’s work. Freeze said the defense was showing a lot of different looks, and the offensive line didn’t respond.
“We’ve just got to block some folks. They’re throwing a lot of stuff at us, and we struggled to pick it up.”
That being said, Freeze singled out the play of young running backs I’Tavius Mathers and Jaylen Walton.
Neither Barry Brunetti nor Bo Wallace took a step forward in the quarterbacks competition.
Both have shown good retention from spring drills, but both in the early going have been plagued by bad plays.
“The retention has been good, but the decision-making and taking care of the ball … there are lapses,” Freeze said. “We’ll have four good plays in a row then two or three disastrous,” Freeze said. “We still have a ways to go with both of them.”
parrish.alford@djournal.com