Preseason Report 08.11: Rebels Put on the Pads
Aug. 11, 2016

By Dylan Edwards,

OXFORD, Miss.Ole Miss threw on the shoulder pads for the third time this fall for a practice spanning about two hours on Thursday. It was the fifth practice in as many days for the Rebels as they work through the first week of camp.

"(Practice has been) really good," Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said. "We've got a difficult stretch facing us today, and then two-a-days tomorrow. We'll push hard for those, and then Saturday we'll back off and just have walk-throughs and Meet the Rebels Day. Gotta push through these next three."

To this point of fall camp, the offense and defense have both had their successes battling against each other.

"Typically I would say the defense is ahead, but I've been pleased with a large portion of our offensive performance against them, particularly with the ones," Freeze said. "I think we've done some really nice things offensively. Defensively, they've had their moments, too."

The defense in particular received some good news as senior Fadol Brown started running again yesterday on his way back from a foot injury. Brown returning would be vital against Florida State to keep their star running back Dalvin Cook hemmed up. Cook thrives on bouncing the ball outside of his tackle to pick up big chunks of yardage.

Seniors Tony Conner and Robert Conyers are both returning from knee injuries, so the coaching staff is playing it safe with them during camp to ensure they stay fresh during the long season. Conner sat out practice on Thursday as planned by coaches for just that reason.

"With the knee injuries that Conyers and Tony have suffered, we just want to make sure we manage them in a way that gives them the best chance to have a successful, sustainable year," Freeze said.

Later in the afternoon, Inky Johnson spoke to the team. Johnson played safety at Tennessee before suffering a life-threatening injury in 2006 that left him with a paralyzed right arm. He is now a motivational speaker that inspires others to embrace the challenges of life.

Other Notes from Freeze:
-Rommel Mageo is a leader and is reliable to get the defense lined up correctly pre-snap. After the snap, he plays extremely hard.
-Octavious Cooley has the athletic ability to be the best TE that Freeze has had at Ole Miss. While Engram is a better route-runner, Cooley has the potential to do more from an all-around standpoint.
-Myles Hartsfield has been running with the ones. Taking part in spring practice really helped him.
-Josiah Coatney is showing more flashes each day as he is coming off a knee injury he suffered last season.

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