The team labored for just under two hours on the warm, sunny afternoon, and Freeze said the performance dropped off from the first two practices.
“It wasn’t as good as the last two days, and maybe that’s because we were in full pads, maybe it was because we went three straight days,” he said. “You hate to go that hard on them in the spring, because they go so hard during the season.
“I’m still seeing a lot of smiling faces, and I think it was a productive day.”
Donning of the pads provided the introduction of the “Rebel Drill” where three players from each side of the ball square off to see which side will give ground.
“The Rebel Drill was great,” said Freeze. “The energy in the Rebel Drill was physical, fast and tough, but there were other parts of practice where there was a little lull.”
Overall, Freeze said the defense got the better of play and is ahead of the offense through the early days of spring.
“The defense won the competition today on the first-and-10 competition,” he said. “You expect that. They are far ahead of us in what they are doing.
“They lined up in some odd stacked stuff, and they don’t stay there very long. (Defensive Coordinator) Dave (Wommack) has a good system, and these guys are coaching them up and they’re playing hard. It’s frustrating when you haven’t had a chance to line up against an odd front yet.”
On offense, one position of experience is tight end where the Rebels return a pair of senior starters including Jamal Mosley, who hauled in 12 catches for 166 yards and a touchdown in his first season in the Red and Blue.
“He’s a kid we have to use in pretty much every spot we can put him,” Freeze said. “He’s an athletic guy. I think he could be huge in this system, because we want to flex him out and match him up in space on people. And he’s still big enough to do all of the stuff inside. I think he has an NFL body, and his effort has been good. I think he fits really well with what we do.”
Among the surprises of the opening spring weekend, Freeze singled out receivers Philander Moore, Korvic Neat and Tobias Singleton and running back Nick Parker. Freeze also noted that linebacker Sam Noblin has started working out at receiver.
Ole Miss’ spring drills break for a day before resuming Tuesday, and the practice is closed to the public.
Spring workouts will culminate with the annual BancorpSouth Grove Bowl, slated for Saturday, April 21 at 1 p.m. at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. CSS will televise the intra-squad scrimmage live.
Other events of Grove Bowl Week are the Rebels’ Choice Awards on Monday, April 16; the Chucky Mullins Award Banquet Banquet on Thursday, April 19; a free concert in The Grove with Gavin DeGraw and special guest Craig Morgan on Friday, April 20 and a weekend baseball series against Arkansas.