Rebels’ defense dominates in scrimmage

Ole Miss linebacker Keith Lewis tackles running back Jaylen Walton in Saturday’s scrimmage. (Bruce Newman/Oxford Eagle)

Ole Miss linebacker Keith Lewis tackles running back Jaylen Walton in Saturday’s scrimmage. (Bruce Newman/Oxford Eagle)

By Hayden Sowers
Special to the Journal

OXFORD – The Ole Miss defense dominated the offense in the Rebels first scrimmage of preseason camp, held inside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in a steady rainfall on Saturday afternoon.

“The defensive guys responded much better than the offensive guys today,” head coach Hugh Freeze said. “(The offense) didn’t handle the rain well, and our quarterbacks’ balls didn’t have much zip on them.”

Bo Wallace’s decision was 6-for-10 for 125 yards, but was visibly frustrated with the offense after practice.

“I don’t feel like offensively we got much done,” Wallace said. “I wish we could have went inside maybe we could have been a little more productive. I had three good practices in a row and I came out and threw an interception.”

The rain was no excuse, Freeze said, adding “on Aug. 29 (against Vanderbilt) it might be raining.”

“I don’t feel like our offensive coaches had our guys ready, and the defense was ready to play,” the second-year coach said. “It’s hard for me to point at our players when I don’t think our coaches had them ready today.”

Offensive coordinator Dan Werner echoed Freeze.

“When there are bad conditions, the team that handles it the best is going to win, and we feel like we will handle it the best so that should be a positive for us. Today we didn’t handle that well. I didn’t see anything that I was pleased with today.”

Backup QB Barry Brunetti threw the only TD, a eight yard strike to tight end Nick Parker.

Freshman receiver Laquon Treadwell continued to impress, leading the wide receivers with three catches for 53 yards.

“He is coming along really well,” Wallace said.

Ailing Rebels
Defensive end Robert Nkemdiche was held out with what coaches called a “minor groin strain”.

Ole Miss will take today off and return to the practice field on Monday.

“It will help,” Freeze said of the day off. “I don’t know if one day is going to get them well, but it will go a ways toward that. Hopefully Monday we’ll have a few more bodies out there, particularly the defensive line. We’ve gotten real thin at the defensive end position, inside too”