Rain Forces Football Indoors Tuesday

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Denzel Nkemdiche (Josh McCoy)
Denzel Nkemdiche (Josh McCoy)

April 3, 2012

OXFORD, Miss. – Rainy weather came into play for the first time this spring season, forcing Tuesday’s spring football practice to move indoors.

“It was a good call by (head athletics trainer) Tim (Mullen) to practice inside,” head coach Hugh Freeze said.  “I wanted to argue with him about it and I told him but it was a good call because we would have gotten out there and been running to get back inside.”

Despite the change forcing the team indoors, Freeze was pleased with the great energy his team brought to practice, especially the defense.

“The energy was really, really good in here,” Freeze.  “Unfortunately, the offense did not match the defense but it’s great to see them run around and play how they did.  I know if they are doing that, they will get more opportunities.”

Redshirt freshman Denzel Nkemdiche impressed Freeze Tuesday with his ability to get to zone blitzes so quickly.

“We moved him to Sam linebacker and freed him up to not have him worry so much about covering some space and he looked really good on getting to some of those zone blitzes in a hurry,” Freeze said. 

Quarterback Randall Mackey got more snaps during Tuesday practice and provided the team with a spark. 

“I don’t know if that was because our twos had more drives but he has given us a spark with things that he can do,” Freeze said.  “But, we are struggling now and it’s hard to evaluate the quarterbacks because we can’t protect them.  You stand back there and they have one thousand one and they better get it out of their hand or we will have pressure on him.” 

We are struggling to protect on the offensive line and we are struggling to win one on ones and we just have to continue to work and some of that has to do with offense. 

Defensive end C.J. Johnson provided the Rebels defense with energy Tuesday as did defensive standout Wesley Pendleton who made several key plays at practice Tuesday as did Dehendret Collins.  

“C.J. is special,” Freeze said.  “(Assistant coach Chris) Kiffin is going to take him and he is going to become an NFL guy.  I know when I watch one-on-ones he has a special burst off the edge.

“Wesley has had the most consistent camp and it showed again today and I love the energy that he brings and they are challenging us every day,” Freeze said.  “Collins has had good spring ball and I’ve been really pleased with those guys.”

The Rebels resume spring drills Thursday at 5:30 a.m. and practice will be open to the public. 

Use of cellular 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.

For an updated schedule of practice times and locations, please refer to the 2012 Spring Practice Schedule button located in the left side of the OleMissSports.com football home page. All information is tentative and subject to change.

Spring drills will culminate with the annual BancorpSouth Grove Bowl, Saturday, April 21 at 1 p.m. at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. CSS will televise the intra-squad scrimmage live.

Other events of Grove Bowl Week are the Rebels’ Choice Awards on Monday, April 16; the Chucky Mullins Award Banquet on Thursday, April 19; a free concert in The Grove with Gavin DeGraw and special guest Craig Morgan on Friday, April 20 and a weekend baseball series against Arkansas.


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