Preseason Report 08.08: Rebels Work Under Hot Sun

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Tony Conner

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Tony Conner
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

Aug. 8, 2013

BLOG: Johnson Participates In Team Drills

OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss hit the practice fields again on Thursday morning under the hot August sun, as the Rebels work toward their season opener at Vanderbilt just three weeks from today.

Thursday saw a couple of lineup changes along the offensive line, as Justin Bell and Jared Duke took first-team snaps.

“Justin (Bell) has his strengths and he has things he needs to continue to work on,” said Ole Miss second-year head coach Hugh Freeze. “He is a physical presence on the line; he is probably better in the running game right now than pass pro, but it is something he continues to work on. Jared (Duke) is giving great effort right now and we reward great effort. This is about competition and what you did today, not about last year or two days ago. It’s about what you did today."

Junior C.J. Johnson has returned to the practice fields after off-season surgery, and Freeze was pleased with the progress of the defensive end but noted he will have to play with some pain for the time being.

“He seemed to handle it pretty well,” Freeze said. “He is going to have to just play through some pain. The doctors were here and everything looks good with the repair, he is just going to have to push through some of it and get himself back into shape.”

Also along the defensive front, D.T. Shackelford took snaps solely at the end position. Freeze said the senior was productive off the edge and showed improved burst along with great leadership.

“We are moving him around to several positions and he was solely at end today,” said Freeze. “He plays with a wide open motor and that is something you have to have on the defensive side of the ball. He is a great leader and any time he is out there people rally around him. His quickness is a lot better than it was this spring. He feels good and is getting more and more comfortable.”

Freeze also noted the play of freshman defensive back Tony Conner, who is campaigning for early playing time.

“He is learning quickly and plays very physical,” Freeze said. “He is still like any freshman and his eyes are in the wrong place some times, but he is everything we thought he would be and will be a really good player for us.”

The Rebels return to the practice field Friday at 9:45 a.m., and the practice will be open to the public. The evening workout will be closed.

Cell phone and camera usage is strictly prohibited at practice, and fans should stay behind the red line and not walk or stand between the fields. Visitors to campus on weekdays are reminded to make parking arrangements by going to www.olemiss.edu/parking.

Fans should mark their calendars for the annual Meet The Rebels Day presented by Community Trust Bank, Aug. 17 at the Indoor Practice Facility. Doors open at 11:30 a.m.

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