Practice Report 08.10: Defense Leads Rebels' First Scrimmage

Sophomore defensive back Chief Brown had an interception in the endzone Saturday in the Rebels' first scrimmage.

Sophomore defensive back Chief Brown had an interception in the endzone Saturday in the Rebels' first scrimmage.

Aug. 10, 2013

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OXFORD, Miss. – Playing through scattered rain showers in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, the Ole Miss football team competed in its first scrimmage of fall camp Saturday morning, and the defense shined throughout.

After about 40 minutes of team drills, the Rebels scrimmaged for the remainder of the practice, rotating units after each drive. The offense scored just one touchdown, as the defense recorded two interceptions and a number of sacks.

“(The defense was) ready to go, and I knew that,” Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said. “I knew that from our pregame on. When we did our substitution meetings and then watched them in our walk through, they had a little edge about them.”

The lone touchdown of the day came on an eight-yard pass from senior quarterback Barry Brunetti to junior tight end Nicholas Parker on fourth down.

Freeze said the offense got the best of the defense Friday, and today it was a reversal, as often happens in camp.

“Yesterday, in the live scrimmage the offense dominated,” Freeze said. “I know the defensive guys had a little chip on their shoulder. This was our 11th practice, everybody’s fatigued and our legs are tired, but (the defense) certainly responded a lot better than the offensive guys today.”

With rain coming down hard at times, Freeze said the decision to stay outside and play through it was to give the team experience if it were to rain in Nashville, Tenn., for the Rebels’ season opener Aug. 29 against Vanderbilt.

“I don’t know if we were prepared for it … but it was a good experience,” said Freeze of the rain. “We handled snaps and handoffs pretty decently, but we sure didn’t have much on our passes.”

Ole Miss will take Sunday off to rest and recuperate. Freshman defensive end Robert Nkemdiche did not play Saturday due to a “little strain in his groin,” Freeze said.

“It will help,” said Freeze of the day off. “I don’t know if one day is going to get them well, but it will go a ways toward that. Hopefully Monday we’ll have a few more bodies out there, particularly the defensive line. We’ve gotten real thin at the defensive end position, inside too.”

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 will open at 11:30 a.m.

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