Rebel Offense Goes Vertical In Thursday Morning Practice

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Hugh Freeze (photo by Joshua McCoy)
Hugh Freeze (photo by Joshua McCoy)

April 5, 2012

OXFORD, Miss. - With rain falling in the wee hours of the morning, Ole Miss took its practice to the Indoor Practice Facility Thursday as Hugh Freeze's offense began to show signs of what has made the first-year Rebels' coach so successful at his previous coaching stops.

"We certainly challenged them," Freeze said of the offensive unit. "The defense really took it to us the last practice. We challenged them and asked are they going to respond. I thought they did. They had some great energy. We're getting some more stuff in that helps us, like moving in the pocket instead of standing stationary. That helps us some because we've got some athletic quarterbacks. I'll watch the film to see how the execution was, but I know we had some players that made plays."

Freeze saw progress in the vertical game on Thursday, an aspect that has highlighted his coaching career. Last year at Arkansas State, the Red Wolves ranked 16th nationally in passing offense.

"We're just now getting some of that in where we feel like we can get it protected," Freeze said. "We want to do that three times a quarter. That's who we are. We want to go vertical and see what happens. It was good to see some receivers make plays. Ja-Mes (Logan) has had a really good spring. Donte (Moncrief) was wide open on one, and we overthrew him. Korvic Neat ran a great route on one of those competitions. At the end, sometimes it comes down to a kid making a play, and Philander (Moore) made one.

Sophomore Nickolas Brassell saw his first action at cornerback this spring, and Freeze was very complimentary of the nearby Batesville native who played both offense and defense for the Rebels a year ago.

"I think he's an NFL corner," Freeze said. "He's a guy that we need to have a package for offensively, but I think he's so talented (at cornerback)."

Sophomore defensive end C.J. Johnson was held out of practice Thursday with a mild concussion, but Freeze said "he's fine."

The Rebels are off until Tuesday. Next week's Tuesday and Thursday practices will not be open to the public, but the team will hold an open scrimmage in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium next Saturday (April 14) at 10 a.m.

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 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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