Heisman House Tour Heads to Oxford for Ole Miss-Georgia

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Ole Miss fans can take pictures with the Heisman Trophy before the Georgia game from 8 a.m. until kickoff outside of the north side of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. 

Former Rebels Romaro Miller and Todd Wade will also be present for autograph sessions and a Chalk Talk session with ESPN's Neil Everett. Miller will sign autographs from 9 until 9:30. The Chalk Talk begins at 9:30 with both former players, and then Wade will sign from 10 until 10:30.

Fans can also cast a vote in Nissan's official ballot for the Heisman and win prizes in interactive games.

Ole Miss-Alabama Highest Rated Daytime Game of the Year

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Ole Miss football continues to be a the center of the college football world. In game one, the Rebels and Seminoles broke the ESPN streaming record. Now in week three, the Ole Miss and Alabama game is the highest rated daytime game of the season.

More than that, it doubled up the CBS week three game from last season. Few teams have had more eyes on them this season than Ole Miss through three games. 

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The Ole Miss coaches knew they had signed a special class last year. However, the MLB Draft has a way of eating into those classes. Ole Miss Baseball in the past has been unlucky with losing some recruits to the draft. This year, they couldn't have been more fortunate.

The Rebels have brought in 18 talented newcomers for the 2017 season. That includes seven high-school All-Americans and one junior college All-American. Five were listed in Perfect Game's top-100 high school players. 

"When we signed this class back in November and a couple guys in the spring, in this talented of a class it's not likely they will all show up," Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said. "Some days start to pass and you realized that you're going to get them all. It's going to be a special class. We're really young but very talented."

The freshman class started a group text around two years ago to keep up with each other, but even the individual members didn't know how the draft was going to go for their fellow signees. 

"We kept a group text going steady, checking on each other and see how everybody was doing," freshman pitcher Ryan Rolison said. "Right around the draft, we let everyone have their personal space. We didn't really talk about it. After the draft was over, we found out everyone was going to show up. We started getting pumped and chatting a little more."

One player in particular that Rolison did not expect to make it to campus is his now roommate Cooper Johnson. Johnson was ranked the No. 39 draft prospect by Perfect Game. 

"We talked to each other on draft day," Rolison said. "We were going to see how it played out. After that first night, we called each other and said, 'Let's go to Ole Miss and do something big there.'"

The freshmen have been on campus since the summer, but they've already experienced some of the difference between high school baseball and major college baseball. In particular, they've learned what strength coach Ben Fleming's workouts are all about.

"It's a big change from high school," Rolison said. "I talked to some of the players here, and they tried to explain Strength Ben's workouts. You can't really explain them until you actually do it. That first week adjusting to his workouts we were sore all the time."

While Ole Miss will be extremely talented, the team consists of only eight juniors or seniors. 

"We have a lot of new faces out there, so we will have to be patient," Bianco said. "It's one of those falls where we'll probably have to take an extra day when we do bunt defenses and things like that. There are a lot of new guys at different positions."

However, Ole Miss was fortunate to return two experienced bats in Tate Blackman and Colby Bortles. They'll be leaned upon to be steady hands in the batting order as well as being leaders. 

"Last year at this time and into the spring, we didn't expect Colby or Tate to return," Bianco said. "To get them both back is huge, and maybe more so this year. You have so many young guys, there aren't many veterans. Those guys are significant guys that bat in the middle of the lineup and are leaders. When you return middle of the lineup guys, you feel better about your offense."

A trimmed-up Blackman is excited to see what the freshmen are all about during the intrasquads in their first fall on campus.

"We're going to challenge them," Blackman said. "Everybody is good when they get here. We're all studs when we come. We're going to test their mental toughness and see how tough they are. Strength Ben definitely challenges them in the weight room. We're going to challenge them on the field."

Bianco hopes that the freshmen continue to do what they've done all their lives, play baseball very well. 

"A lot of times, the freshmen put a little too much pressure on themselves," Bianco said. "That's one of the goals, to get them to play just like they did in high school when they played with that same mindset."

Notes from Freeze's Press Conference

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Freeze saw a lot of great things on the film but is disappointed to let another lead slip away. There are mistakes being made on the defensive side, especially with 3rd down and explosive plays. They have to fix turnovers on offense. You can't give great teams like Alabama 14 points and turn the ball over.However, they played a lot of young kids that competed and played their hearts out. Putting up 500 yards on an Alabama defense is special, but have to fix turnovers.

Teams needs a boost from the crowd on Saturday as they have another tough game on Saturday against Georgia. Freeze wants Rebel Nation to get their sleep on Friday and be with the team on Saturday. 

Kirby Smart has done a great job, and this will be another great task for them. They have to figure out how to finish games. They knew September was going to be tough. They're playing with a ton of energy and confidence. They have great players. That program believes they're supposed to win. Last week gave Jacob Eason a lot of confidence, and he's coming into his own. He's got a big arm and all the tools. Ole Miss has to keep eye discipline and stay in its fits to slow down Georgia's talented running backs.

The team doesn't like to set goals besides competing on the current day. Becoming relevant creates expectations that create winning celebrations and disappointing losses. This month, they've had the disappointed losses. Freeze is glad the team is relevant and in the fight. They have a chance to beat some of the nation's best. They have to grow up and finish games, but he's proud of where the program is. Week-to-week, they prepare to win.

When you play great teams, they can come back and beat you. Ole Miss gave both of those teams opportunities by making mistakes that led to them making plays. Alabama and Florida State have some of the best players in the nation and no lead is really safe.

Engram making the decision to come back was the right thing to do. He's boosted his stock by coming back. Engram is a tough matchup, and he's worked hard to get to where he's at.

Victor Evans should be back. Fadol Brown is doubtful and a long-term issue. Brazley is okay and didn't have a concussion.

The time of possession wasn't a big problem on Saturday. When the team slows down, they're not nearly as efficient. When they go fast, they're more efficient but score quickly. When conventional wisdom is to slow down on offense, they haven't been very good like before halftime on Saturday. 

Coaching, technique, and assignments have to improve to improve 3rd down defense. Scrambling QBs have hurt them, but they have to get off the field. They should get better with every rep.

Mistakes Cost Rebels Despite Comeback Effort

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At the 5:28 mark in the fourth quarter, Jonathan Allen grabbed a Chad Kelly pass and took it 75 yards from the end zone. It ended a drive that was looking to pull the game back to one score and instead gave Alabama a three-score advantage.

It was the second time the Alabama defense scored off of turnovers, not to mention another touchdown added by the Crimson Tide's punt return unit. The Rebels are a young team, and it was almost expected the ending would be nondescript. 

Instead, the Rebels put together two quick scores with an onside kick sandwiched in-between to make the game one score. Ole Miss made mistakes to see a first half lead disappear, but it wasn't due to a lack of effort. 

"I'm proud of our football team," Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said. "We're so shorthanded on defense right now, but I was pleased with the effort. We're playing a lot of young kids in a lot of areas. They competed."

Ole Miss finished with a negative turnover margin, which is something you can't do against the Tide. Alabama is 62-2 since 2008 when it finished with a positive turnover margin. 

"The margin of error for winning and losing in this league is so small," Freeze said. "You can't turn it over and give 14 points and expect to beat many teams, especially Alabama."

Everyone knew when this year's schedule was released that the opening month was brutal. It doesn't ease up either, with No. 16 Georgia heading to Oxford next week. The Rebels still have a long season ahead and are adamant about bouncing back while getting some players back from injury like defensive linemen Victor Evans and Fadol Brown to help bolster the front seven.

"The leadership of this team is what I think it is, I expect them to respond like they always have," Freeze said. "You depend upon the leadership in the locker room. We're competing at a high level. The schedule we're playing is a tough one. Injuries haven't been our friend either."

Ole Miss played the best team in the nation and lost. While it's disappointing now, the season aheads holds many opportunities to put this loss behind them.

"I'm excited to get back on the field with those guys," Freeze said. "I love the fight and the effort. We have to get some things corrected and a get a few guys back."

SEC Nation Headed to the Grove

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SEC Network's traveling pre-game show, SEC Nation, will be making its third appearance in The Grove on Saturday before the Ole Miss-Alabama game. 

The show takes place on The Grove stage from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., and airs on SEC Network. Campus parking lots and SEC Nation's "The Pit" open at 7 a.m. for those that want to be close to the action. 

After SEC Nation ends, the pregame festivities don't slow down. The Walk of Champions follows at 12:30 with the Pride of the South's Grove show taking place a half-hour later. 

The band takes the field at 2:10 with the national anthem taking place at 2:15. Then, kickoff at 2:30 for Ole Miss' first SEC game of the year against the defending national champion. 

The show's prior visits to The Grove were in 2014 for Ole Miss-Tennessee and 2015 for the Arkansas game. 

Week One Snap Counts for NFL Rebels

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Former Rebels racked up nine starts and 637 snaps in week one of the NFL season. 

  • Bradley Sowell (SEA) - Started at LT. 82 on offense, 3 on ST
  • Michael Oher (CAR) - Started at LT. 73 on offense, 5 on ST
  • Jermey Parnell (JAC) - Started at RT. 72 on offense, 5 on ST
  • Donte Moncrief (IND) - Started at WR. 68 on offense, 1 on ST
  • John Jerry (NYG) - Started at RG. 56 on offense, 3 on ST
  • Bobby Massie (CHI) - Started at RT. 56 on offense, 2 on ST
  • Eli Manning (NYG) - Started at QB. 56 on offense
  • Laremy Tunsil (MIA) - Started at LG. 53 on offense, 3 on ST
  • Mike Wallace (BAL) - Started at WR. 44 on offense
  • Robert Nkemdiche (ARI) - 15 on defense, 6 on ST
  • Kendrick Lewis (BAL) - 3 on defense, 16 on ST
  • Brandon Bolden (NE) - 15 on ST
  • Laquon Treadwell (MIN) - DNP
  • Cody Core (CIN) - Inactive
  • Channing Ward (TB) - Inactive
  • Gerald Rivers (HOU) - IR
  • Jamarca Sanford (NO) - IR
  • Senquez Golson (PIT) - Injured

Notes from Freeze's Press Conference

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Freeze said the team relishes the opportunity to play the No. 1 team in the country .

Alabama seems better and faster defensively than they've been. They're an explosive offense with the vertical passing team to go with the power run game. They're a typical Alabama team. 

Alabama's depth is better than most teams. Playing them early in the season is an advantage for Ole Miss because normally Ole Miss is still healthy. Unfortunately, the Rebels have already lost 3 for the season.

Confidence is a big part of stepping on the field with Alabama. Ole Miss will be confident when they step on the field Saturday. It's still a tall task though. 

You need some breaks when you play great teams. Ole Miss has had breaks go both ways. He mentioned the Kelly pass off a helmet last year as one that went for them and the onside kick Alabama recovered that went against them.

Alabama is built to stop the run, and Ole Miss has had troubles running the ball. Ole Miss still needs some dirty yards and run the ball enough to stay balanced. 

In 2012, Ole Miss matched Alabama physically compete with the Tide. The team drew confidence from that game and have built on it from there even though the scoreboard didn't show it initially. 

It's difficult to overcome the gap with Alabama because they are always stockpiling talent in recruiting. Ole Miss has closed the gap, but it's tough to completely close the gap. You have to stay healthy and go into the game with a good plan to have a chance.

They didn't get to work much on the secondary issues from Florida State last week because they had to get ready for the wishbone offense of Wofford.

Tony Conner was rusty in week one, but seemed like more himself last week. He didn't play that much against Wofford, but this week will be a good measuring stick in regards to where he's at physically.

Judd, Brazley, Pennamon, and Buford will all be needed at the RB position as the season progresses. 

Alabama's Jalen Hurt is similar to FSU's Deondre Francois. They have big arms and are athletic to hurt you with their legs. 

Rebels Handle Business, Turn Attention to the Tide

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Vaught-Hemingway showed off its nice facelift, but the game on everyone's mind wasn't taking place in the stadium this week. Next week the atmosphere will be a little bit different as Ole Miss goes for three-in-a-row against the Crimson Tide.

Ole Miss did what was necessary on Saturday against Wofford. The Rebels put the Terriers away early and coasted to an easy 38-13 victory with a lot of players getting on the field.

The Rebels faced a triple-option offense and a solid FCS team on a short week and handled the game in a business-like manner. Maybe it wasn't memorable, but those are the type of wins quality programs can accomplish. 

"Preparation was very difficult, especially for their offense," Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said. "We couldn't practice cut-blocking. We lost a full night's sleep on Tuesday with plane rides back. It was a difficult week, and our kids came out with an edge to take control of the game."

Physically, the turnaround was difficult, but it's more impressive how focused Ole Miss was after an emotional loss just five days ago. The offense scored on its first five drives of the game, never letting Wofford hang around. 

"We're glad to get a win in our home opener in the new and improved Vaught-Hemingway," Freeze said. "I believe that's going to be a nice place to play in Saturday afternoon with one of these SEC rivals we have coming up in the near future."

We'll see just how much louder the Vaught is next week when the No. 1 ranked team in the nation rolls into Oxford. With an attendance of 64,232, Saturday was the largest crowd to ever watch a football game in Mississippi. Ole Miss-Alabama will undoubtedly surpass that number.

"It's a great opportunity," Freeze said. "It's not one we've been afraid to take on before. We kind of relish that opportunity. I have no idea how it's going to go, but we've got them at home. We have great respect for their program and what they've done. We look forward to getting ready for them."

The Rebels will need Chad Kelly to carry over his efficient play from Saturday. He fired off three first half TD passes and didn't turn the ball over. Ole Miss was also able to generate some offense on the ground, picking up 174 yards and averaging more than five yards a carry. 

Unfortunately, Ole Miss didn't escape the game injury-free. D.K. Metcalf suffered a broken foot on his second quarter TD catch. He'll likely miss the rest of the season and receive a medical redshirt. He had emerged as a weapon, especially in the red zone. 


Ole Miss-Florida State Sets ESPN Streaming Record

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Everyone knew that Ole Miss was going to be the center of attention on Labor Day. The Rebels definitely were.

Ole Miss-Florida State set the ESPN regular season college football streaming record with 854,000 unique views for more than 59 million total minutes watched. In total, more than 8 million viewers watched the Rebels and Seminoles across all platforms.

Those are the type of games in the spotlight that help build the Ole Miss brand even more and garner national attention as Ole Miss continues to compete at the highest level of college football under Hugh Freeze.

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    Tiffany J. Moore said:

    This is amazing with what he have done so far! Hope that he'll achieve more in the future!

    in post Evan Engram Hauls in Midseason Accolades

    Fiftyyears fan said:

    How can you have five straight top 25 recruiting classes and look as bad as Ole Miss has this year. Easy lack of coaching fundamentals. Look at Mason at Vandy, nothing but 2 and 3 star recruits out of high school and he developers players that want to win. Hugh freeze has 3, 4 & 5 recruits and he expects them to win because of what they were in High School. Mr. Freeze you have not been teaching the fundamentals of football or winning in life. Mr. Freeze you have quit on your players because you have some false expectations of what they are instead of what you can develop in them. Either do your job or quit. Oh yea, please quit running your smoke and mirrors offense, everyone has figured it out. Run a physical offense that can open up holes for your running backs and then your pass attack want require 12 are 14 four and five star receivers. Mr. Freeze you have problems and you need to know that you are not smarter than the rest of the coaches in the SEC.

    in post Rebels Unable to Send Senior Class Out on a High Note

    Karen Holden said:

    Not every pass can be caught. Too low, too short whatever. Not every Kelly pass is perfect. Records were broken by receivers also. But they sre not going to catch every ball thrown. The loss to Auburn was not one players fault. You win or lose as a team.

    in post Late Mistake Spoils Chad Kelly's Historic Performance

    Trent browning said:

    Hey I was just wandering if these are the only 2 olemiss players signing. If there are more signing please respond to me ASAP. Also wondering if neil everett will sign any autographs. Thank you very much

    in post Heisman House Tour Heads to Oxford for Ole Miss-Georgia

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