By Parrish Alford
OXFORD – A spring break video featuring Ole Miss linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche that made the rounds on YouTube last week could impact the length of his suspension.
The video showed Nkemdiche, a two-time All-SEC linebacker, directing a profanity-laced tirade on the beach at what is believed to be a group of fans from an opposing team.
The Rebels practiced Monday for the first time since taking off last week.
Nkemdiche was already suspended for an off-season arrest and set to miss the season opener against Boise State in Atlanta. Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze has met with Nkemdiche about the video, and it’s possible Nkemdiche could miss more than one game.
Freeze said the video will be “considered” in the big picture of how Nkemdiche progresses in his efforts to regain his status with the team.
“I’m not happy with him, not proud of it, hope he’s not. It’s definitely not what we want to be about and the way you want to handle (a situation) regardless of what initiated it or caused it,” Freeze said. “There’s a way to handle adversity and controversy, and it’s certainly not that, and that’s been made clear to him.”
Nkemdiche appeared in 10 games, starting six, in an injury-plagued 2013 season. He finished with 35 tackles, two tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Freeze did not specifically mention a second game lost as a result of Nkemdiche’s suspension but did say the process could take more time.
When he announced the suspension at the beginning of spring drills Freeze said that Nkemdiche would be suspended “at least for the first game next year.”
On Monday, Freeze said he is comfortable with how he is handling the suspensions of Nkemdiche and also linebacker Serderius Bryant. Bryant is practicing this spring, Nkemdiche is not.
“The process may be longer now. I’m not going to be put in a box on it. He’ll have to change some of his ways to get back right with us,” Freeze said.