OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss Rebel football squad under the direction of first-year head coach Hugh Freeze took to the practice fields adjacent to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium before a crowd of a few hundred Ole Miss faithful on a sunny, warm Saturday morning.
It was actually the second time the Rebels had hit the practice fields, as Ole Miss got in a light practice Friday night after Rebel Media Day activities that afternoon.
Freeze, who is getting his first look at the team since spring drills ended, was pleased with the Rebels’ practice under the lights Friday, but is looking for that effort to carry over.
“I didn’t think we had as crisp of legs as we did last night,” said Freeze. “We had an extra practice last night that we didn’t have scheduled, to make sure our freshmen knew all the drills. We just didn’t bounce back like a thought we should. The attitudes were good and I thought they were very coachable, which is positive. We just have to get a little more bounce in our step. Hopefully they will bounce back tomorrow when they get use to going to work every day.”
Sophomore cornerback Senquez Golson stood out to the Rebels’ head man with his athletic ability during the first couple of practices, after missing spring drills.
“He is so athletic,” said Freeze. “He is an SEC athlete, and you have to have that type of speed to compete in this league. He didn’t go through spring with us, so we are making an effort to catch him up on what we are doing. He is definitely what you are looking for athletically.”
Freeze was also impressed with the play of the Rebels’ freshmen class, which is seeing its first action at the collegiate level.
“I think we have some good ones,” said Freeze. “Obviously, they aren’t totally sure what is going on at this point, but I’ve been impressed with I'Tavius Mathers, Jaylen Walton, Cody Core, Quintavius Burdette and Trae Elston. I think all those guys are going to be good players.”
In Ole Miss’ battle for the starting quarterback job, junior college transfer Bo Wallace gained an upper hand over junior Barry Brunetti, but Freeze noted that it was too early to draw many conclusions.
“I thought Bo played better today,” Freeze said. “I thought Barry was a little tentative in his decision making, and Wallace took care of the ball better. It is a little hard to tell much until we get pads on. We can’t pass protect, but just my gut reaction without watching the film is Bo did a little better.”
The Rebels have also developed another position battle – this time at right tackle between junior college transfer Pierce Burton and junior Patrick Junen.
“Junen had a good summer,” said Freeze. “I think we have created a little competition there between him and Burton. We need them both and we need help at tackle, so they are basically interchangeable at one right now.”
Once again this year, OleMissSports.com will be on hand for every minute of the Rebels' preseason drills with daily practice reports and RebelVision's video highlights.
All Saturday practices are open to the public, including the 9:45 a.m. workout on August 11. All other practices are closed to the public. Meet The Rebels Day activities are set for August 18 at the Indoor Practice Facility.