OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) – The sun rose at 6:50 a.m. Thursday, but by that time the Ole Miss football team was already halfway into an intrasquad scrimmage on the indoor practice field that head coach Hugh Freeze described as “competitive” and “physical.”
Dressed in full pads, the first-team offense and defense went head-to-head, while the second-team offense and defense also squared off against each other.
“I thought the one defense pretty much dominated the scrimmage,” Freeze said. “The two offense did some good things. The one offense did some good things in the early drives, but had way too many negative plays still. I loved the competitive spirit. To have an early morning, a quick turnaround from yesterday, I thought they did well.”
Freeze was pleased with the Rebels’ stable of running backs, which did not turn the ball over during Thursday’s workout.
“I think all of our young backs are doing some good things at times. Nick (Parker) stood out today, and so did (Mark) Dodson. (Darryan) Ragsdale had a decent run.”
The head coach also liked the play of newcomer Anthony Alford at safety and sophomore Woodrow Hamilton at defensive tackle.
“Anthony Alford is getting better and better. He really had a good day.”
“Woody Hamilton played really physical today. Our weight program is helping us with that. Our coaches are demanding that. I think we’re getting more physical.”
There was a new face on the sidelines Thursday morning. Freshman Martavious Newby, who just helped the Ole Miss hoops team capture the SEC Tournament Championship and win a game in the NCAA Tournament, was wearing a No. 17 jersey while he watched practice.
Freeze said Newby, who Freeze recruited for football when he was at Arkansas State, would need to get acclimated before he could start working in individual drills. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound athlete will be with the linebackers initially.
“I think he’s made it clear ever since he’s been here that he’d like to try to play both (basketball and football),” Freeze said. “Of course I spoke with Andy (Kennedy) about it, and Andy’s great with it. We want to be straight with the kid and find out what we think his future is. It was (Newby’s) idea, and certainly we’re open to it.”
The Rebels will be off through the Easter weekend and will come together again for their eighth spring practice on Monday, which has been scheduled for an 8 p.m. start.
All spring practices are open to the public. Use of cell phones and cameras are prohibited for fans at practice, and fans must remain in the designated area. Fans are not allowed between the practice fields.
Spring ball will culminate with the 2013 BancorpSouth Grove Bowl on Saturday, April 13, at 1 p.m. Admission to the game is free this year.
A number of activities will surround Grove Bowl week, including that Saturday morning's Chucky Mullins Award Ceremony, which will be a breakfast at 8:30 a.m. at the Jackson Avenue Center.