OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) - The Ole Miss football team closed out the 2014 fall camp on the practice fields outside of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on Friday afternoon. The Rebels continued preparation for the season opener against Boise State on Aug. 28 in the Chik-fil-A Kickoff Game.
Head coach Hugh Freeze commented about the morning practice and felt it was good to get out in the Mississippi heat, as its something they didn’t deal with much throughout camp.
“It was a good day today,” said Freeze. “It was good to get out in the heat today. We’ve had very little of true heat and it’s really only the second day that I felt like we’d been tested in regards to that and I thought we handled it fairly well. Fortunately, I think its supposed to be 72 degrees at kickoff on Thursday night in the dome so you don’t have to worry about that too much or being too overbearing in the heat. In week two we do have an afternoon game, so it was good to get out and get some work done in the heat today.”
As the team closed camp, Freeze talked about what the team looked like in the final mock game on Thursday night.
“Last night we had our final, what I call, mock game where we go through every situation and our scripts against the opponents’ looks. I thought our fits were really good on defense with the one’s, (but) the two’s have some work to do. Offensively, it was as good a mock game as we’ve had as far as the execution. There were only two missed attempts that we had. I felt like our quarterbacks understood the looks they were getting and receivers made the right adjustments. The kicking game was good. Will (Gleeson) had a great night with our sky punts and our coming out punts. The field goal job is still a little back and forth, but Andrew Fletcher would still be the guy inside 40 yards as of right now. Things are etched in sand when it comes to depth charts, which is why I don’t even like having one, but right now, that’s who would line up if it were inside of 40 yards.”
When asked about who would help provide additional depth in the receiving corps, Freeze talked about how Markell Pack has really stepped up to fit into that second group of receivers.
“He’s had two good days in a row and had a real good one this morning,” said Freeze. “I’m pleased with him. He’ll be getting quite a few reps between now and Thursday to make sure that if he should be called upon he would be prepared. Trey Bledsoe will be the outside guy and Markell would be the inside guy.”
Freeze has been talking about depth throughout camp and again mentioned that he is loaded at the running back position with Jaylen Walton and I’Tavius Mathers being neck-in-neck.
“Those two are neck-in-neck, but I love Jordan (Wilkins), Mark (Dodson), Eugene (Brazley) and Akeem (Judd). We’ll make sure everybody is healthy come next Thursday and we won’t play them all unless we just have to. We’re constantly evaluating where we are in regards to who could possibly redshirt and be the best fit for all of us. That’s going to be a tough decision.”
The head coach also talked about the prepping for Boise State and opening up with one of the first games of the college football season.
“As far as Boise, it’s very difficult for me to say except to say that they understand winning,” said Freeze. “The program over the last 10 years is ranked No. 2 nationally in winning percentage so they get that. Coach Harsin was there during the heyday, as were the coordinators, so they have that Boise connection and they understand. They are first time coordinators on both sides so you don’t know what flavor they will add to things. We’re studying quite a bit of film because it’s hard to just put your finger and say that this is their identity. There will be an adjustment period, but they have some good players returning. They understand winning and enjoy the task of playing in this environment against an SEC team. It will be a good test.”
Freeze also talked about how the team was responding to opening in a neutral site as one of the first games helps with the motivation factor.
“I think anytime, regardless of the opponent, you open on ESPN in the Georgia Dome as one of the few games to open college football, you get motivated a bit quicker,” said Freeze.
As for Freeze, he’s ready to be coaching in games too.
“I’m not a typical coach,” said Freeze. “I’m ready to be through practicing and start playing. I’ve had enough of practicing. I don’t know if that mean’s were ready, but I’m ready to coach in a game and the kids are ready to play in a game. I’d be good if we were getting on a bus to travel today.”
The Rebels open the 2014 season on Thursday when they take on Boise State in the Chik-fil-A Kickoff Game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (CT).