Preseason Report 08.17: Channing Ward Cleared By NCAA

Justin Bell

Aug. 17, 2012


OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss football team got great news Friday shortly after practice ended, when it learned that one of its most heralded recruits, Channing Ward has been cleared by the NCAA to join the program.   The Under Armour All-American from Aberdeen joined the team in the afternoon.

“I'm so excited for Channing and his family,” said Rebel head coach Hugh Freeze. “He is a tremendous young man, and it's great to finally have him here with us. It was a long process, but we were confident throughout that he had done everything necessary to be cleared.

“Obviously he has missed a couple weeks of practice, and our staff is going to work hard to quickly bring him up to speed. We'll have to wait and see how quickly he gets acclimated, but he certainly has the talent to be a factor this season.”

The Rebels worked out indoors again at the Indoor Practice Facility as overnight thunderstorms pounded Oxford.   The team got in some special teams work at the beginning of practice.

“We work on special teams every day, but today we worked on the transition, getting on and off the field.  We’ll hit that again tomorrow in the scrimmage in some situations,” Freeze said.  “We had some good red ball with both sides.  Still, the offense had too many negative plays, and the defense gave up some big ones.”

It was loud towards the end of practice as the coaches piped in some crowd noise to get the team ready for the loud stadiums they are sure to play in during the season.

“We will be going to stadiums that will be loud; I’ve been in a few of them,” Freeze said.  “We have to find a way to keep our poise.  The coaches get to yelling stuff out at them whether they know it or not, and we don’t want them relying on that.  We are trying to put them in situations where they’re on their own.”

Freeze was asked about the battle between redshirt freshman Justin Bell and sophomore Aaron Morris at right guard.  “I don’t know if I consider that a competition.  They’re both going to play.    We’re just trying to find eight, nine guys that play up there.”

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., and Freeze hopes to see improvement from last week’s first scrimmage.

“We want to see fewer negative plays offensively for sure.  I didn’t think the energy last Saturday was great.  I don’t know if it had to do with us not being in the stadium or from a long week (of practice), but our energy is a little more cranked up.  It is game No. 2 of the preseason and an opportunity for us to go through our entire pre-game.”

Following the 9:30 a.m. scrimmage, fans can make their way into the IPF for football, soccer and volleyball team autographs, appearances from Ole Miss coaches and administrators and much more starting at 11:30 a.m.  Fans are asked to use the hashtag #MTR12 when tweeting about Meet The Rebels Day.

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

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