As junior Nik Scholtz represents his native country of South Africa in Davis Cup this weekend, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the history of Rebel players who have participated in Davis Cup. Below is a list of countries that have been represented in Davis Cup by Ole Miss men's tennis players with the year they first played, how many nominations they've earned and the number of ties they have played in.INDIA
- 1995 NCAA Doubles Champion, All-American, SEC Player of the Year, 12-Time Grand Slam Champion
- First played in 1995
- Has earned 35 nominations and played in 35 ties
- Four-Year Letterwinner (2000-03)
- First played in 2002
- Earned 20 nominations and played in 27 ties
- 1995 NCAA Doubles Champion, Two-Time All-American, All-SEC First Team
- First played in 1996
- Earned 16 nominations and played in 20 ties.
- 2005 All-SEC Second Team
• First played in 1999
• Earned 20 nominations and played in 33 tiesMOROCCO
- 1991 National Clay Court Champion, 1992 All-American and All-SEC
• First played in 1989
• Earned 12 nominations and played in 12 ties NEW ZEALAND
- 2000 NCAA Doubles Semifinalist, All-American, Two-Time All-SEC
• First played in 2000
• Earned five nominations and played in four tiesNORWAY
- Three-Year Letterwinner (2004-05, 2007)
• First played in 2002
• Earn four nominations and played in three tiesAdrian Forberg Skogeng
- Four-Year Letterwinner (2010-13)
• First played in 2010
• Earned two nominations and has played in one tie Erling Tveit
- Three-Time All-American, 2008 NCAA Doubles Finalist,
2006 NCAA Singles Semifinalist, Four-Time All-SEC
• First played in 2003
• Earned 13 nominations and has played in 20 tiesSOUTH AFRICA
• First played in 2012
• Has earned two nominations and played in one tie
Head coach Hugh Freeze discusses what he expects with new Texas defensive coordinator Greg Robinson, who replaced Manny Diaz after their loss to BYU, 40-21, in Provo, Utah. Robinson was a co-defensive coordinator for the Longhorns in 2004, which ended with an 11-1 record and the Longhorns' first BCS Bowl and Rose Bowl win over Michigan.
That season, Texas held its opponents to 320.1 yards per game (23rd in the nation) and 17.9 points per game (18th in the national). He most recently served as the defensive coordinator at Michigan from 2009-10 after four years as the head coach at Syracuse from 2005-08.
Wallace 'Overwhelmed' Last Year Against Texas
Through two games, junior Bo Wallace has completed 39 of 62 passes for 471 yards with two touchdown and no interceptions. Last Saturday against SEMO, Ole Miss scored on all four of Wallace's drives -- three touchdowns and a field goal -- before he rested the rest of the game.
"I don't think we're at all where we need to be," Wallace said. "This week is a huge test for us. We're focused in. Everybody is excited about it, especially being in the rankings. We have a huge test, so we have a lot of work to do this week."
This week, the test is Texas, coming off a 40-21 loss to BYU, and Wallace said Texas probably feels like their backs are against the wall with the media scrutiny surrounding the team.
"It's frustrating," Wallace said of the change in defensive coordinator. "We were in meetings when we found out yesterday. We talked about it then, and the coaches are going to get a plan together of what they want me to look at and things like that."
In last year's 66-31 loss to Texas, Wallace completed 13 of 24 passes for 178 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions, and he described the feeling as "overwhelming."
"It was my first game against a big-time college football team," Wallace said. "I have played in big games now, and I know what to expect. I'm excited about it."
After last Saturday's win over SEMO, offensive coordinator Dan Werner said Wallace is light years ahead of where he was entering last year's game against Texas. On Monday, Wallace and Freeze said more of the same.
"I am way more prepared, and I have been in big games," Wallace said. "I have played against the great athletes like we're going to play against Saturday. I feel much more comfortable with it."
"Bo has played in some pretty big games at good places in this league in the year and a half since Texas last year, so all that experience has got to better prepare him for Saturday at Texas," Freeze said. "And that's the same for the rest of our team. I feel confident that we're better prepared. Does that mean the results will follow? I don't know. I'm confident we're better prepared mentally and physically."
Added Motivation For Both Teams
On the Ole Miss side, it's the motivation from last year's 66-31 loss to Texas.
"It was quite embarrassing to be honest," junior defensive end C.J. Johnson said. "They pretty much came in and beat us like a drum. We had a lot of missed assignments. We weren't as physical, and we didn't play real well in the first half. It was just a bad game. We played a bad game."
"It's a huge motivator, just like playing Vanderbilt, who we lost by one to last year, and we really wanted to beat them," senior offensive tackle Pierce Burton said. "Now, we have turned our focus to Texas. Any team that we lost to last year, we have a real chip on our shoulder when we play them this year."
For Texas, it's last week's 40-21 loss to BYU. Defensively, Texas allowed 550 rushing yards on 72 attempts, a 7.6 yards per carry average, and four rushing touchdowns. On the other side of the ball, the Texas offense converted just 5 of 17 third-down attempts and 0 of 3 fourth-down attempts.
"We know we're going into a hostile environment, and those guys are going to be playing with a chip on their shoulder to play better from last week, so we have to be prepared," Johnson said.
"I expect them to be very emotional in front of their home crowd," Freeze said. "They will raise their game, and I expect to see the best that they can be. It won't be hard to get our guys up. They understand. We challenge them after the game the other night, and they will be anxious to get ready for this game and give them their best shot."
Other Notes & Quotes
Defensively against SEMO, Ole Miss allowed 13 points and 252 yards. Freeze was generally pleased with the defense, and the game plan entering Saturday's game against Texas centers on not allowing easy scores and stopping the run.
"We've got to quit allowing the easy scores. We allowed two that resonate on my mind. We had one of those the other night. Hopefully we can stop the run, that'll be our goal going in. We were not able to do that last year against them. We've got to be able to stop the run and not give up the easy score. They have some weapons and a lot of speed. They can also certainly throw it over the top of you any time. Hopefully we get a couple turnovers and we don't give up the easy play."
Sophomore Mike Hilton moved from Huskie to boundary corner, where he started last week against SEMO. This week, he is again listed as the starter there, opposite junior Senquez Golson at field corner.
"Hilton played a good game the other night except for one play," Freeze said. "His eyes got bad, and he didn't get a read route on a kid, but he practiced at corner all of about three days. He had a solid game other than that one play."
Sophomore running back I'Tavius Mathers returned from an ankle injury last week against SEMO, and he rushed for 56 yards on four carries, including a 10-yard touchdown run.
"He gives us more of a physical back," Freeze said. "He made some good runs the other night. He's still not healthy. You can see that, when he tried to really make a cut. He's still not 100 percent, but hopefully he will be better this Saturday night than he was this past Saturday night. Certainly, we like his style. It's a little different and more physical. He's tough to bring down. He's a good complement to Jeff (Scott) and Jaylen (Walton)."
Each home football game Ole Miss recognizes a student-athlete who has excelled both on the field or court and in the classroom as the "Hero in the Classroom."
Rebel men's tennis senior Johan Backstrom was honored at last Saturday's home opener against Southeast Missouri. He was featured in the game program and on the video board during the third quarter of the game.
At six-foot-five, Backstrom has played a pivotal role on the hard courts for the Rebels while also excelling in the classroom. He is the exemplary student-athlete.
Backstrom helped lead Ole Miss to a top-10 final national ranking, their 10th SEC West title, and the team's 20th consecutive NCAA appearance in 2013. With a 20-14 record in doubles, he ended the year ranked No. 58 in the nation with teammate Stefan Lindmark. Backstrom also posted 24 wins in singles including clinching wins over both No. 6 Tennessee and No. 12 Baylor.
Aside from the tennis courts, Backstrom has a current 3.89 GPA in Banking and Finance. In 2013 he earned ITA Scholar-Athlete, Capital One Academic All-District, and SEC Academic Honor Roll honors. He has been named to the Chancellor's Honor Roll every semester at Ole Miss.
Backstrom has helped the Rebels earn the Chancellor's Cup (given to team with the highest cumulative GPA) and the ITA All-Academic Team Award (requires a minimum GPA of 3.2) every year he's been here.
Stay tuned for more posts on forthcoming student-athletes recognized as the "Hero in the Classroom."Follow me on Twitter: @krebel
Head coach Hugh Freeze discusses Ole Miss' 31-13 win over Southeast Missouri State. He discusses the play of junior quarterback Bo Wallace, the return of sophomore running back I'Tavius Mathers and his personnel decisions. He also assesses his team's depth and looks ahead to next Saturday's game at Texas. Kickoff from Austin is set for 7 p.m. CT and will be televised on the Longhorn Network, as well as affiliates throughout Mississippi and Memphis.
Wallace Looks Back, Looks Ahead To Texas
Junior quarterback Bo Wallace only played four series against Southeast Missouri before seniors Barry Brunetti and Robert Ratliff finished the game, but they all resulted in points. Wallace helped lead the offense three touchdown and a field goal, as the Rebels staked a 24-0 lead early in the first half. In the process, Wallace threw his first two touchdown of the season after rushing for two touchdown in last week's 39-35 win at Vanderbilt.
A 64-yard pass to freshman tight end Evan Engram, his first career touchdown, and a 67-yard pass to junior wide receiver Donte Moncrief highlighted the first half, as the Rebels took a 31-0 lead into halftime, its largest lead since a 31-0 lead against Mississippi State in 2008.
"I thought he started ho-hum," Freeze said of Wallace. "We got explosive there and looked pretty decent on some drive. He made some good decisions and some good throws. I struggled at halftime whether or not to come back with him. I know he gives us the best chance to win. I felt like we needed to get others reps because we are going to need some others before it's over."
But it's one of the throws Wallace didn't make that's going to stay with him from the win against Southeast Missouri.
"I'm not proud of myself. I'm proud that we put up points the whole time. The one that's really going to be with me the whole night is the throw to (senior wide receiver Jordan) Holder I missed because that kid deserves a touchdown, and I missed him on it, so that one will stay with me."
Wallace and the Rebels are 2-0 for the second straight season, but both he and his offensive coordinator Dan Werner think he is further along this year compared to last year, when he completed 13 of 24 passes for 178 yard with a touchdown and three interceptions.
And with the rematch against Texas next week, there's some added motivation for Wallace and Ole Miss after last year's 66-31 loss in Oxford.
"I'm a lot more experienced," Wallace said. "The game is a lot slower, but I still have a lot of work to do. I got a lot of work to do, and I got to get it done this week."
"Light years ahead," Werner said of Wallace this year compared to last year. "Last year at this time, he was still trying to learn the offense and tempo. He has a good feel for what we're doing now. He didn't have the sharpest day today, but he still hasn't thrown a pick."
Engram Continues To Impress
In his college debut last week against Vanderbilt, freshman tight end Evan Engram caught five passes for 61 yards, and tonight against SEMO, he found the end zone for his first career touchdown. He finished with two catches for 70 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown catch.
"Evan is solid," Freeze said of Engram. "He's getting better and starting to understand what we're doing. And we're starting to understand what we can do with him and play to his strengths. He didn't get a lot of snaps tonight, but he had a good night when he was in there."
"When he came here to our camp, we really liked him, but he was a little undersized, so we wanted to see how he would do," Werner said, "He lit up the camp and made play after play. We ended recruiting him hard, got him, then he gained weight. Never did we think he could come in and be the player that he is right now. We felt like down the road in a couple of year, he would get bigger and be ready to go. He's a big-time player."
Bryant Fills In, Secondary Changes
Junior Serderius Bryant got the start at Stinger linebacker in place of injured sophomore linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche, and he responded with career highs and team highs of 15 tackles, including eight solo tackles, and a tackle for loss.
"His assignments were solid," Freeze said. "Serderius is a good player. Him and Keith Lewis are good players. We need to stay healthy there. I don't think the linebackers had many breakdowns."
The Ole Miss defense also had four new starters in the secondary with junior Senquez Golson and sophomore Mike Hilton at cornerback, sophomore Chief Brown at Rover safety and freshman Tony Conner at Huskie.
"I think there was a bust on their second touchdown when our guys rotated the wrong way," defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said. "I don't think were a lot of busts in the game. It was a fairly simple game plan, and there weren't many mental errors."
Family and football. Fathers and sons. A scrapbook of memories, which come alive on the screen through home video, game footage and candid, personal interviews with members of the Manning family and those whose lives they touched.
It was a special night in Oxford, as the ESPN Films documentary, The Book of Manning, premiered Friday at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts on the Ole Miss campus. The event also raised $100,000 to benefit the Friends of Children's Hospital, which supports the Blair E. Batson Hospital for children.
"I'm really honored to be here and flattered that Ole Miss wanted to make an event out of this," Archie said of the premiere. "I'm excited that the benefactor will be Batson Children's Hospital in Jackson, which is part of the University Medical Center. It's going to raise a lot of money for them and help the sick children of Mississippi get well and get home.
"We are really flattered and indebted for the turnout that we had. We're always glad to be on campus and be around the Ole Miss family, so it's a great night for us."
Earlier in the day, Ole Miss Director of Athletics, Ross Bjork, announced the "building phase" of the Forward Together Campaign, and later at the film's premiere, it was also announced that Ole Miss Athletics will name the newly renovated Indoor Practice Facility the Olivia and Archie Manning Athletics Performance Center.
"Unbelievable," Archie said of the facilities. "The meeting room, the dining facility, the dressing room, the weight room. I saw SEC Commissioner Mike Slive and said we have got it going here. What we have here is Alabama-type stuff, and what they have been able to accomplish is the paramount thing in our conference right now. We have some great facilities."
MY TAKE ON THE FILM: The Book of Manning is a special tribute to a special family, which follows the Mannings through both their prosperity and adversity, from Archie's father, Elisha, to Archie, to Archie's three sons, Cooper, Peyton and Eli.
It strikes a balance between their respective personal and professional lives, and their relationships, as the most powerful moments of the film are interviews with them talking about one another. And, other than video of Eli's verbal commitment to Ole Miss, what drew the most reaction was home video of football games in the Manning backyard.
All of the games and moments you expect are in the film, such as Eli's commitment mentioned above, with context and supported by photos, videos and interviews. And each of their respective stories, all their own, is given careful attention, both individually and as part of the Manning family.
In the end, the story comes full circle and leaves you with a satisfied feeling of completeness, with Eli winning a January bowl game at Ole Miss more than 30 years after his father, Archie, did just the same.
The film premieres on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN.
Ole Miss freshman Sebastian Saiz, who represented his native Spain in international competition this past summer, along with fellow freshman Dwight Coleby, join four returnees on the frontline for the Rebels this season.
Senior Demarco Cox and junior Aaron Jones are coming off season-ending injuries, and sophomores Terry Brutus and Anthony Perez are entering their second year in the program.
Head coach Andy Kennedy has been really pleased with how Cox and Jones have progressed, how they have approached the offseason and how they are playing now. Kennedy said that Cox has been fully cleared, and Jones is probably a week away from being cleared for 5-on-5 full contact.
"Demarco is a big, strong, physical body who has been in our program for four years, and he's anxious to get back on the court after having sat out the year with a stress fracture," Kennedy said. "AJ is responding equally as well. He's athletic, brings energy, pursues the ball with reckless abandon, and he has not lost that despite going down with a season-ending ACL injury against Kentucky.
"Dwight Coleby is another big, physical presence at 6-foot-9, 235 pounds, and he brings a physicalness to that position that we desperately need. And then you throw in Anthony (Perez) and Terry Brutus, who have the versatility to help us in a number of spots."
Head coach Hugh Freeze talks special teams, Southeast Missouri State defense
Co-Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Dan Werner talks Bo Wallace, running game
As Ole Miss enters game week against Southeast Missouri State, the Rebels will be tasked with replacing two starters in junior offensive guard Aaron Morris and sophomore linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche.
"We didn't experience injuries last year very much, but now right off the bat we're faced with adversity with Aaron Morris being done for the year," head coach Hugh Freeze said. "The worst part of our game is to see how much effort they put in during the offseason and then they get to go play in front of everyone and to get that news is not easy."
Morris, Freeze said, does have a redshirt available, so hopefully they can get him a medical redshirt and still have two years to play.
In his absence, four players -- seniors Patrick Junen and Jared Duke, sophomore Justin Bell and freshman Austin Golson -- will rotate at guard. Senior Emmanuel McCray, who got the start at left tackle, will also work inside, with freshman Laremy Tunsil's impressive college debut at tackle.
"Laremy graded extremely high after the Vanderbilt game, and Austin was about average," Freeze said of the freshman offensive linemen. "Austin's effort was phenomenal, he pulled the wrong way a couple of times but those are things a normal freshman will do, especially while playing inside. Inside a lot of things can go on and he's only been taking reps there for about a week and a half, but I was real pleased with his effort and focus."
Nkemdiche's injury, Freeze said, not season-ending, so they feel like he will be back, best case four weeks, worst case six weeks. Juniors Keith Lewis and Serderius Bryant will fill his spot at Stinger linebacker.
Lewis, the Rebels' starting Wolf linebacker, played mostly in 4-3, nickel and dime defensive sets, while Bryant sat behind Nkemdiche on last week's depth chart at Stinger linebacker
"It's the loss of the leadership and the loss of a very bright individual, but we have that in me and (Bryant) as well," Lewis said. "Me and (Bryant) combined can make up for the loss."
Senior D.T. Shackelford, who returned from a two-year absence due to knee injuries, played both linebacker and defensive end and will now focus solely on linebacker while Nkemdiche recovers from injury.
"I was pleased, we've shuffled him around a lot," Freeze said. " By the end of the opening week I would like to be settled on exactly where guys will play, and now with the injuries we have to move guys around again. He made a few mistakes on his fits but he played with phenomenal effort and now that he's beginning to settle in I think he'll be fine."
Sophomore Quintavius Burdette and senior Dehendret Collins got the start at field and boundary corners, respectively, against Vanderbilt. Going forward, Freeze said they will keep moving guys around and hopefully getting some guys, like senior Charles Sawyer and junior Senquez Golson, healthy.
"I think everybody that watched the game saw that when Senquez Golson can go we are much better," Freeze said. "We were trying kids that had never played snaps, and I think they're going to be good. We have to get Charles Sawyer healthy, and we'll try moving guys from the husky over to the boundary corner."
Freeze said Golson (hamstring) looked good in practice Monday and that Sawyer (shoulder) is closer to getting healthy as well.
"Right now, I feel like I don't any limitations," Golson said of his hamstring injury. "I mean I'm not feeling 100 percent, but I feel like I'm good enough to go... It was sore. I think I just had to loosen it up a little bit. The first deep ball that I had against Matthews was the first time I had opened up and ran in two or three weeks. After that play, I had more confidence and was good to go."
In addition to getting healthy, there will also be movement at the position this week.
Collins, whose eyes, Freeze said, "were pretty bad at times" at cornerback against Vanderbilt will move back to Huskie, where he played last season.
Sophomore Mike Hilton, who got the start at Huskie, will move to cornerback, where he played some last season and also got some reps at during fall practice. Freeze also noted sophomore Anthony Standifer and freshman Bobby Hill as other options at cornerback.
"We got some changes to make and figure out who we have where," Golson said of the cornerback position. "We had Mike Hilton and Tony Conner at the same spot. We need both of those guys on the field at the same time."
Freshman wide receiver Laquon Treadwell was named SEC Freshman of the Week after leading Ole Miss in receiving with nine catches for 82 yards in his first college game. His nine catches were an Ole Miss freshman record and most by a Rebel since Mike Espy had nine against Auburn in 2005.
Treadwell hauled in a pass on three straight players and four to of five in one stretch in the third quarter, including a one-handed grab.
"That's him," Wallace said of Treadwell. "That's why he was the number one receiver recruit in the nation. That's what he does. He's not just terribly fast, but he has great ball skills, and you just have to give him a chance."
The play immediately after that stretch, which ended in the Rebels' second touchdown, Wallace completed a nine-yard pass to freshman tight end Evan Engram, who finished with five catches for 61 yards, which were both second-most on the team.
"He's a stud," Wallace said of Engram. "He had a great game, and he just has to keep building on that. He's a huge playmaker in our offense. He creates mismatches for us.
Engram, along with junior Donte Moncrief, also made the key block to spring junior running back Jeff Scott on his 75-yard, game-winning touchdown run with 1:07 left.
"As soon as he was here in 7-on-7, we saw how good of a receiver he was going to be. As small as he was, I was kind of worried about his blocking, but as you saw against Vanderbilt, he did a great job."
Holder Makes His Mark
A former walk-on, senior wide receiver Jordan Holder ran with the first-team during most of camp, worked his way on to the two-deep, and then quickly made an impact this season, catching a 4-yard pass from Wallace on the first offensive play of the game against Vanderbilt.
"I looked up and had to pinch myself for a second because Bo just slung it right at me," Holder said of the catch. "I'm happy that I caught it and got that out of the way, so we could play."
That 4-yard pass was also the first in his career, and he finished the game with three catches for 20 yards, having previously played in just two games. He played significant snaps in the slot, along with Treadwell and Engram.
"Whenever I was sticking with 1's during most of camp," Holder said of when he realized he was going to play this year. "That's when I kind of knew. I never wanted to get my hopes up because I had been there before the past couple of years, but I just stuck to it, and it finally worked out for me."
At 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, Holder was asked about what he brings to the wide receiver position, and Holder noted his physical abilities, but also his awareness and knowledge of coverages.
"I may not look as fast as I am, but I definitely think I am deceptive with my speed, and my quickness and hands," Holder said. "You got to catch everything that comes your way.
"When you do it as long as I have been here, you pick things up that most people may not know, as far as if a blitzer is coming, or a safety is dropping down on top of you. Things like that, seeing what coverages are, so you know how to run your routes."
Holder was also a unanimous selection for one of five available scholarships for walk-on players, Freeze said last week. But when his name was called, he gave the scholarship to fellow senior and walk-on tight end Justin Bigham.
"It was a definitely an honor," Holder said. "It was something I always wanted to earn and work for. I was just happy to get it. What I did for Bigham, I was happy I was able to be in that position to help him out because he's a great guy and he's earned it just as much as I have, or anybody else has, so he deserved it.
"He was sitting right beside me when they announced mine, and they never called his name. I felt sick to my stomach because we started off together, and I definitely wanted him to have one."
Jeff Scott put his foot in the ground about the Ole Miss 45 and made one defender miss, as he sprinted for a 75-yard touchdown to give Ole Miss a 39-35 lead with 1:07 left in the game.
"Once Bo gave me the ball, I started getting to the corner, I was like, 'I got to make something happen.' Donte (Moncrief) sealed it, and I hit the seam," Scott said of the run.
"I'm so happy for Jeff because he's really bought into our program," head coach Hugh Freeze said of Scott. "He's one of my favorite guys... All we needed at that point was a field goal. I saw what they did on the first play of the drive and I knew that we could get a good run play. He executed on the play and put us up for good.
The senior from Miami, Fla, finished with 138 yards on 12 carries, his eighth career 100-yard game. Vanderbilt had a final chance on the ensuing drive, but junior safety Cody Prewitt intercepted a pass off Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews' hands with 26 seconds left.
"I think it's a huge confidence booster," Scott said of the win. This is a huge step for us going into the next game."
Freshmen Make Immediate Impact
Junior quarterback Bo Wallace's favorite target of the night was freshman wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, who caught nine passes for 82 yards in his first college game, the most catches by an Ole Miss player since Mike Espy had nine against Auburn in 2005. Another freshman, tight end Evan Engram, was second on the team with five catches for 61 yards. On the offensive line, freshmen Laremy Tunsil and Austin Golson played significant snaps at tackle and guard, respectively.
"Big-time kids who stepped up under the lights on national TV," Wallace said of Treadwell and Engram. "They're going to be great players, and you're going to have a lot of fun watching them for three or four years."
On the other side of the ball, freshman Huskie Tony Conner intercepted a pass on his first career defensive to set up a 30-yard field goal by senior Andrew Ritter. Consensus top recruit Robert Nkemdiche got the start at defensive end and finished with two tackles, including a tackle for loss, but also made a big play on special team with an 11-yard run on a fake punt.
"I think they're freshmen," Wommack said of Conner and Nkemdiche. "It's good for them to have their first games under their belt, and there's a lot to work on for those guys, but there is for everybody right now."
In all, 13 Rebels, including nine true freshmen made their college debuts in the game, including two starters in Treadwell and Nkemdiche.
"Number one, they're great kids," Freeze said of the freshmen. "I can't stress how good of kids Laquon, Tony, Laremy and Robert are. Maybe you're concerned they have too much ego. Not at all. They're like sponges. They'll compete and win.
"Laquon, he didn't play like a freshman. Neither did Laremy. Neither did Austin Golson. Neither did Tony Conner."
Freeze, on what the win can mean for the program: "It's just one win... At Arkansas State my first and only year as head coach there, we hadn't won a road conference game in forever and we were coming off some losing seasons. We went to Western Kentucky, where (Ole Miss Athletics Director) Ross (Bjork) was, and we won a game similar to that, one we probably shouldn't have won. Dang, if our kids didn't get great confidence and run the table in the conference that year. I'm not saying we're ready to do that, but tonight has to give us some confidence."
Robert Nkemdiche, the consensus No. 1 high
school recruit in the nation last year, is slated to start at defensive end,
opposite junior C.J. Johnson, in his first college game.
His position coach, Chris Kiffin, and the other
coaches are confident in Nkemdiche, and if anything, they will have to guard
against his emotions and overexcitement.
"What we have been battling all fall camp is
the notion that he feels that he has to make every play," Kiffin said. "We're
trying to get him to play within the defense. Especially going out in the first
game, I can't fathom the amount of pressure on him outside of all the other
stuff. If he can just understand to go out and play the game like he has the
last four weeks, then he will be fine.
"He's done a great job for a young guy coming
in and having to learn the defense," defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said.
"There have been some issues with him jumping offsides, but you would rather
have that then have a good who's sitting back. He's eager to play, very
excited. Robert is as advertised."
Nkemdiche came a long way during fall practice,
Kiffin said, from when he ran the first-team defense as early as Aug. 5, to
entering his first college game.
"I was impressed with him picking up the
defense like he did," Kiffin said. "He still has mistakes, obviously, but
throwing him in right away, I think it was perfect for him. There was no, so to
say, learning curve. The first two weeks, he was thrown in there, and we
coached on the run.
"He would stay after meetings, just him and I,
to go over that film, and then slow down and coach. Let him go full speed on
the field, make a quick correction here and there, then in the film room,
explain why he was doing something wrong and how it needs to be done."
Kiffin said Nkemdiche's technique "has varied,"
and "it's been up and down," but having gone back to watch film of South
Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney's freshman season, he said he saw a lot
of the same things -- natural athleticism and making plays -- from Nkemdiche.
"I have seen both of them doing the wrong thing
a number of times and making plays," Kiffin said. "So I'm not trying not to
overcoach him. I want him to make plays and not play tentative. That stuff will
come with experience."
A big challenge on Thursday will be getting
Nkemdiche acclimated and handling the pressure of starting in his first college
"I talked to some of the older guys about it
too, Cameron Whigham and C.J. Johnson," Kiffin said. "I got him rooming with
C.J. Johnson on purpose the night before," Kiffin said. "I think that will be
good for him, and out there as the game goes on, between plays and on the
sidelines between series, those guys talking to him.
"It can't just be me every time. Those guys
actually did it themselves. C.J. sees everything out there, so he's going to
know if something is going on with Robert and let him know about it."
In The Passing Game
Junior wide receiver Vince Sanders (collarbone)
and senior Korvic Neat (knee) both suffered injuries during fall practice. With
their injuries, freshman wide receivers Laquon Treadwell and Quincy Adeboyejo
have taken on bigger roles in the Ole Miss offense.
Treadwell is slated to start at slot receiver,
while Adeboyejo is a backup at one of the two outside receiver spots but will
likely figure in the rotation on Thursday.
"Coming into the year, receiver was
probably our deepest position," Wallace said. "And right now, we have
two guys out, so recruiting those two guys definitely helped.
"Laquon is a big body. He helps you as a
quarterback because defenders can't get around him to make a play on the ball.
Quincy is a good route-runner. He's a little banged up right now, but he still
looks good running around out there."
Another freshman, Evan Engram, is listed as a starter and expected a
big role at tight end after losing seniors Ferbia Allen and Jamal Mosley from
"He's going to really, really good," Wallace said.
"He's one of the guys who's going to be a really good players. He's going
to play a big role. He's a great receiving tight end. He's a mismatch for us,
so he's going to play a big role for us."
Update On Mathers, Freshman Running Backs
Sophomore running back I'Tavius Mathers, who was
listed as co-backup with fellow sophomore Jaylen Walton behind senior Jeff
Scott, is about 80 percent, head coach Hugh Freeze said on the weekly
teleconference on Wednesday.
"We think he's going to
have a special year. He's put on some more weight. He's a physical runner for
us, and he has some twitch to him, too. We think he's going to be a special
back. He was hampered for quite a bit of camp with an ankle.
"I would say he's about
80 percent right now, so I don't know that tomorrow night you will see the true
I'Tavius Mathers that you are going to see the rest of the year, but we're
confident that once he gets back to 100 percent, he's going to be an important
factor to our offense."
Also, on the weekly teleconference
on Wednesday, Freeze was asked specifically about redshirting freshman running
back Jordan Wilkins, one of three freshman running back in the mix for playing
time, along with Mark Dodson and Kailo Moore.
"I would never decide to
redshirt anyone this early, just because you never know," Freeze said. "I don't
make up my mind this early to do that. I would like to redshirt him (Jordan
Wilkins). He's going to be a good player, too. We just happen to have good
depth at that position.
"We have got six guys that I believe are good players and would love to get to
try to make it through the season with four of them and redshirt two. But again,
it's too early to tell that."
2013 World Championships,
2016 Summer Olympics,
Alabama Crimson Tide,
Armintie Price Herrington,
BBVA Compass Bowl,
Be The Fan,
Cal Ripken Senior League,
California Collegiate League,
Cape Cod League,
Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge,
Colorado Springs Sky Sox,
Dr. Jamil Northcutt;,
Engineers Without Border,
ESPN College Gameday,
Evan St. Laurent,
Florida State Seminoles,
Florida State Soccer,
From The Vault,
Hard Core Fighter,
Jackson Touchdown Club,
Jeff Scott Hugh Freeze,
Los Angeles Sparks,
Mary Ashton Nall,
mary ashton nall,
Meet The Rebels Day,
NCAA Baseball Tournament,
NCAA Doubles Final Four,
NCAA Tennis Final Four,
NFL Pro Bowl,
North Carolina State,
Ole Miss Athletics,
Ole Miss Athletics Foundation,
Ole Miss Baseball,
Ole Miss Basketball,
Ole Miss Engineering,
Ole Miss Football,
Ole Miss Foundation,
Ole Miss Hoops,
Ole Miss Men's Basketball,
Ole Miss Men's Golf,
Ole Miss Men's Hoops,
Ole Miss Men's Tennis,
Ole Miss Rebels,
Ole Miss Soccer,
Ole Miss Softball,
Ole Miss Tennis,
Ole Miss Track,
Ole Miss Track and Field,
Ole Miss Volleyball,
Ole Miss Women's Basketball,
Ole Miss Women's Golf,
Ole Miss Women's Tennis,
Rebel Media Day,
Rebel Road Trip,
Road To Omaha,
School of Education,
SEC Baseball Tournament,
SEC Media Days,
Spain National Team,
State of Ole Miss Athletics,
Under-19 World Championship,
Under-20 European Championships,
University of Mississippi,
USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships,
USA Track & Field,
Walk Out Songs,
William & Mary,
William Winter Institute,
Women's Basketball; Yolanda Moore,
Coach Freeze is a genuine coach and our players and fans adore him!! in post Vote Freeze For Coach Of The Year
Gary Vaughn said:
It's great to be a Rebel fan. Coach Freeze in post Vote Freeze For Coach Of The Year
Has brought back the excitement
Competitiveness we all so desire. The
fan base and even our doubters are
Paying attention. Even the whole country
Sport tLk shows ect. Are taking notice.
After we upset Alabama this weekend
38-27 we will bolt to a top 12 or better
Ranking. Go Rebels
I am not and never have been an Ole Miss fan. I am however a Coach Freeze fan. I like what he represents in today's world of big time sports and what he stands for in leading young men of today into a more responsible role. He is everything that Ole Miss has never had. I am on his band wagon winning or losing. in post Vote Freeze For Coach Of The Year
Cory Wilson said:
How can I get my hands on one of these? in post 2013 Fall Sports Player Posters
Dave Darnell said:
Gray pants with red and blue stripes on the legs have served Ole Miss football my entire life time. The blue on blue, red on red and white on white are hideous and UGLY! Leave the pants alone.
Dave Darnell in post New Football Uniforms Unveiled
Ole Miss '68
Tiger fan here (LSU) b we now have 3 in the SEC. You guys looked great last year. You looked coached, and the players were up for every game. Good to see you back in the hunt. in post Looking Ahead to 2013 On Gridiron
Brenda Maxie said:
Go Nephew congraulation on your trip to the olympics. Have a good time. in post UPDATE: Rebel. Champion. Olympian. Young's Blog
Go Isiah! Your Rebel family is pulling for you and can't wait to see you on the podium with your medal! in post UPDATE: Rebel. Champion. Olympian. Young's Blog
who will win the most gold medals?
http://www.formvote.com/discuss.php?postid=281510897524932 in post UPDATE: Rebel. Champion. Olympian. Young's Blog
BILL LOTT said:
GREAT JOB THIS YEAR GUYS - WISHING THE REBELS THE VERY BEST IN THE COMPASS BOWL - LETS PICK A FIGHT WITH PITT AND SHOW THEM WHAT OUR REBELS ARE ALL ABOUT. HOTTY-TODDY - GO REBELS. BE BLESSED AND GOOD LUCK! in post Some Notes On Bowl Trip