Opportunity knocks at slot spot for Rebels

By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – The “help wanted” sign went up early in camp.
Collins Moore went down with a torn labrum on the second day, and suddenly Ole Miss was without a starter at its inside receiver position.
Moore’s status for the season remains unclear. The search for his replacement goes on with juniors Korvic Neat and Philander Moore the leading candidates.
Neat had another good workout on Monday morning, the first of two practices for the Rebels, their first day back on the field since Saturday’s scrimmage.
“This offense is built for slot receivers,” said Neat, of Hallandale, Fla. “It’s up-tempo, and it’s fast-paced. I feel my role is a pretty big one, and I’m up to the challenge.”
Overall, Freeze thought the morning workout was “rusty” but picked up near the end.
While there were no notable depth chart moves, there were notable moves among the players. Cornerback Wesley Pendleton was absent, and running back Jeff Scott was back.
Scott had been held out of contact since taking a hit to the hid last Wednesday.
“It was good to see Jeff back. We need to get him in the flow, get him more reps to get his juices flowing,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said.
Pendleton, solid at the boundary corner since the spring, was getting a knee checked out. It is believed to be a meniscus sprain and nothing severe, Freeze said.
Sophomore Cliff Coleman got more reps with Pendleton not available.
Also out was junior college transfer offensive lineman Darone Bailey with his on sprained meniscus. Freeze listed Bailey as day to day.
Bailey (6-6, 315), from Coahoma Community College, will likely redshirt if he doesn’t land a spot among the top seven or eight players. It’s too early to make a call on that now, Freeze said.
Also on the offensive line, sophomore Aaron Morris (Achilles) dressed out, but redshirt freshman Justin Bell continues to work at the first team left guard position previous held by Morris.
While the Rebels search for Moore’s replacement, Neat says he’s not trying to do too much.
He believes the offense suits his position, but there are still challenges to overcome.
“The challenge is reading the defense faster. You have to read them instantly. You think for just two seconds, and the ball is gone, or it’s a sack,” he said.
If Neat continues to progress, this season could be his first season to see major playing time.
Last year he appeared in seven games but had only one catch for 2 yards and four rushing attempts for seven yards.
“I haven’t felt any pressure,” he said. “I just want to keep my head up and keep working.”
parrish.alford@journalinc.com