By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Ole Miss will go in full pads today, but pads were not required for the Rebels to subtract a starting wide receiver.
Sophomore receiver Collins Moore left practice early on Sunday with a dislocated shoulder. MRI results showed a torn labrum, and Moore’s status for the season is unclear right now.
Whether he plays this season will depend on how he responds to treatment.
The news was better for defensive back Charles Sawyer, although he will miss four to six weeks with a torn quad.
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze says when he sees injuries to players who have worked hard to achieve it leaves him with a “sick stomach,” but it won’t change how the Rebels approach practice.
“We pray every day that God will take care of us, but injuries are part of football. It doesn’t just happen at Ole Miss, it happens everywhere,” he said. “Football is a physical game, and if you’re not practicing that way, you’re not playing that way. You can’t replace that. You can be wise about taking people to the ground, but up front you better be playing physical.”
Sophomore Donte Moncrief, who took a hit on the thigh on Sunday, is listed as day to day. He dressed but did not participate in drills on Monday.
Moore’s role increased late last season, and he finished with four catches for 69 yards, including a 37-yard reception at Kentucky.
Sawyer was fourth on the team in tackles with 70 and led the Rebels with four interceptions.
Treatment will be the first option for Moore. Freeze says he has until the third game to decide if Moore will redshirt. Surgery will be necessary at some point but could wait until the end of the season.
Freeze said he had an athlete play with a similar injury last season at Arkansas State.
TWO neat touchdowns
There was more success for the offense in Monday’s work with two touchdown catches coming from junior Korvic Neat, who will join Philander Moore and Tobias Singleton as the early favorites to replace Moore at the inside receiver spot.
There were more gains on the ground, a fact Freeze attributed to gap-scheme plays in the continued installation of the offense. The wealth was spread around with I’Tavius Mathers, Devin Thomas, Nick Parker and Jeff Scott all turning in nice runs.
“The running game was better, but until you tackle, you don’t know if you’re getting 2 or 5 yards,” Freeze said. “There were a few creases at times. Whether or not we’ll get through them I don’t know.”
There were also mistakes in the red zone, something Freeze called a “lazy mentality.” He challenged his players to avoid the complacency of accepting the status quo.
“We don’t expect near enough of ourselves right now. The desire to compete at a higher level has to change,” he said. “They’ve gone a couple of years with disappointment. It plays on your mind. When things don’t go right, it’s easy to say, ‘It’s the same old deal.’ We have to expect more.”