Preseason Report 08.15: Running Back Race Tightens

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM With injuries slowing junior Jeff Scott, the running back position battle has tightened up, head coach Hugh Freeze said.
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
With injuries slowing junior Jeff Scott, the running back position battle has tightened up, head coach Hugh Freeze said.
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

Aug. 15, 2012

OXFORD, Miss. - With injuries forcing Ole Miss junior running back Jeff Scott to miss practice time, the Rebels' other tailbacks have stepped up and tightened the race to be the first-string ball carrier.

On an overcast Wednesday morning on the practice fields adjacent to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Ole Miss head football coach Hugh Freeze said Scott suffered a little setback with his lower back but came back and practiced well. It's been the day in, day out work of Jaylen Walton, I'Tavius Mathers and Randall Mackey though, that has Freeze saying the position battle is a tight one.

"Absolutely it's tight," Freeze said. "I think Jaylen, I'Tavius and Mackey have proved they're tough and they've been through every practice - something I respect out of kids who do what they do and take a beating."

Aiding the running backs' play in practice has been the steady improvement of the Ole Miss offensive line.

"No doubt they've improved," Freeze said. "We still need to continue to come forward and we still need one or two more guys to step up and give us that eight- or nine-deep at that position. But there's no doubt they have improved."

In another position battle, sophomore quarterback Bo Wallace returned after sitting out Tuesday's practice with a blister on his throwing finger. Wallace sported a navy blue and black glove on his right hand Wednesday and turned in a good practice.

"We're just trying to get that finger healed," Freeze said. "He doesn't want to do (wear the glove), but if we continue to open it up, I don't know if it'll ever get well. So, we're trying to put a bandage on it today, put a glove on it. He seemed to be OK with it."

The Rebels returned to the practice fields in the evening for their final two-practice day of the preseason. Following the two-and-a-half-hour workout, Freeze confirmed that sophomore wide receiver Tobias Singleton and redshirt freshman offensive lineman Mitch Hall have left the program.

"We wish them the very best," said Freeze.

Meet The Rebels Day activities are set for Saturday at the Indoor Practice Facility. An open scrimmage at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium is slated to begin at 9:30 a.m., followed by football, soccer and volleyball team autographs, appearances from Ole Miss coaches and administrators and much more starting at 11:30 a.m. in the IPF.

Saturday's scrimmage will mark the final open football practice of the preseason.

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