By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Collins Moore is a go.
At least that’s what it looks like now.
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze made his most definitive statement on his sophomore wide receiver at his Monday press conference.
Freeze has been careful with Moore, weighing his impact for the team against the likelihood that his injured shoulder – secured by a brace – can make it through the entire season. If it can, surgery will come after the season.
“It looks like we’re going to proceed forward with him playing. It’s just a long season. As you see already, we’re getting beaten up some, so I think we’re going to need him, and he wants to play,” Freeze said.
Korvic Neat, who replaced Moore, is injured and missed the Tulane game.
Moore had two catches for 25 yards in New Orleans, including a 19-yard third-down reception to keep the chains moving on a first-quarter touchdown drive. He said he was not unusually sore after the game.
A true sophomore, Moore was the starting slot receiver when he was injured on the second day of practice with what was called a torn labrum.
His role began to increase late last season, and he finished with four catches for 69 yards, including a 37-yard reception at Kentucky.
Better than Texas game?
Freeze says he expects his defense to be better against Alabama than it was against Texas two weeks ago when the Longhorns pinned 676 yards and 66 points against the Rebels.
“Taking nothing away from Texas, but I don’t think we played our best football that night on the defensive side. I hope we come out and play a little more inspired, be more disciplined with our eyes and tackle a little better,” he said.
Offensively, the Crimson Tide ranks No. 54 in total offense, No. 38 rushing and No. 70 passing.
Defensive back Charles Sawyer said the Tulane game was a positive experienced for the Rebels’ revamped secondary.
A week ago, as the dust was settling on the Texas game, Freeze announced that Sawyer would move from rover to cornerback, his original position, and freshman Trae Elston would be inserted at rover.
“Everybody did what they were supposed to do and didn’t make as many mistakes as in the Texas game. The big plays, eyes, tackling, all the things we did last week. It was simple to do, we just had to do it,” Sawyer said.
Tulane quarterback Devin Powell completed 22 of 41 attempts for 145 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions.
Ole Miss ranks No. 85 in the nation, last in the SEC, in pass efficiency defense with a 138.29 rating.