Spring Practice Report: 04.02

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
On a day highlighted by the defense, Evan Engram stood out on offense.

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
On a day highlighted by the defense, Evan Engram stood out on offense.
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

April 2, 2014

OXFORD, Miss. - Throughout the spring, Ole Miss football head coach Hugh Freeze has spoken highly of the energy the Rebels have brought to practice. Wednesday afternoon at the Manning Center was no different.

Despite nearing the conclusion of the spring schedule, a time where many teams around the country experience a bit of lethargy, Freeze said the Ole Miss defense had an "outstanding" day.

"The defense was incredible throughout as far as the energy, effort and making plays," Freeze said.

After going through a lull during two of the early team periods, Freeze said the offense came back and won the last one, which was very fiery and competitive.

The highlight at the end of practice came from rising sophomore Evan Engram. A native of Powder Springs, Ga., Engram was one of the first two true freshmen in school history (along with teammate Laremy Tunsil) to be named All-Southeastern Conference last season when he was named to the second team. The 6-foot-3 tight end hauled in 21 catches for 268 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie before suffering a high ankle sprain vs. LSU that ended his season.

"Evan Engram was a star," Freeze said. "He stood out today, and in that last period he made two really spectacular catches. ... It was one that makes you want to just sit there and look at it. It was an individual great play."

Freeze also spoke after practice about the play and makeup of the Rebels' offensive line, including how the right side of the line is shaking out.

"Austin (Golson) is going to be solid," Freeze said. "Daronte (Bouldin) is going to be really good in time, but he still shows he's a freshman sometimes. Carlton Martin has really come on. He still has a long way to go because he hasn't done it, but he's athletic and can really help us there. When Aaron (Morris) gets back ... we'll have some options."

When talking about the entire offensive line, Freeze, who is entering his third year as the Rebels' head coach, said the addition of incoming freshman Rod Taylor will enable them to move different people in at guard. He also said Justin Bell would always be an idea in the back of his mind at center, and that Ben Still and Robert Conyers are currently having a good battle at that position.

"Ben has gotten stronger," Freeze said. "I love Robert's quick twitch. He needs to get physically stronger probably with the guys we face in the trenches in this league. He just needs to continue to develop some mass. Another offseason with the weight program will certainly help him. He has a quick first step, he can get his hands on you quick and has some fight to him too."

The Regions Bank Grove Bowl is set for Saturday and will kick off at noon CT. Other Grove Bowl week activities include the 25th annual Chucky Mullins Courage Award ceremony Saturday at 8 a.m. The Ole Miss baseball team hosts Auburn in a weekend series at Swayze Field, and the women's tennis and women's golf teams will also be in action on campus this weekend. For more details and ticket information, visit OleMissFB.com.

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