Rebels’ defense stands tall in scrimmage

OleMissLogoBy David Collier

Special to the Journal

OXFORD – On a day where it looked like the Ole Miss offense was in control, it was the defense that came away on top in the Rebels’ second scrimmage of the spring, Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

“We really kicked their butt all day except for the turn-overs,” quarterback Bo Wallace said.

Wallace threw an interception in the end zone late, but both head coach Hugh Freeze and offensive coordinator Dan Werner took the heat for that decision. DeVante Kincade and Ryan Buchanan – the redshirt freshmen vying to be Wallace’s primary backup – also had their share of mistakes in the passing game, and the running backs and wide receivers accounted for three fumbles.

It wasn’t all bad though, as the Rebels’ running backs had a solid day, and redshirt freshman Jordan Wilkins looked to be the most effective guy in the running game. Junior Jaylen Walton was out for the second day in a row with a hamstring injury.

Freeze said Wilkins is noticeably different than a year ago.

“I think his body has totally changed, “ Freeze said. “I think (strength and conditioning coach) Paul (Jackson) did a really good job with him. He seems to be running really physical. I think the redshirt year has paid dividends.”

Wide receiver Laquon Treadwell continued to impress, as he made several nice plays, including a 20-yard touchdown catch from Wallace on the first play of a red zone situational drill.

Turnovers

On the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Serderius Bryant’s turnover midway through the scrimmage got things rolling for the Ole Miss defense.

“I thought we started off a little bit flat,” defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said. “When we got the big turnover touchdown with Serderius, I thought our guys came back.”

After spring practice, Wallace will see specialist Tom House to help regain strength in his shoulder. House is known for his work with major league pitchers as well as NFL quarterbacks.

“If he can come back and get a little more zip on the ball and most of all be able to finish the whole season with the same velocity as when he started, it will obviously be a huge plus for us,” offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Dan Werner said.