Preseason Report 08.20: Working Towards Vanderbilt

Pierce Burton

Pierce Burton

Aug 20, 2013

BLOG: Depth On The Offensive Line

OXFORD, Miss. – With the countdown to kickoff now in singles digits, the Ole Miss football team continued its preparation for the Aug. 29 season opener at Vanderbilt, introducing a little more of the Commodores into the practice schedule.

“We had a good prep day,” said head coach Hugh Freeze.  “The attention from the meetings to here as far as the initial part of the game plan was good.   The things I heard today throughout the meetings carried over to practice.  I am pretty pleased.  We had one period yesterday [on Vanderbilt] and five periods today, so it’s coming.”

Freeze has preached about the need for depth at all positions, and offensive line is one where he feels they are beginning to get there.

“We’re getting better.  We can sit here and say it’s good, but the first few games will really be an indicator of where we are,” Freeze said.    “I certainly feel better with where we are this time versus last year at this time.  I would like to be a little deeper.  I know some of the guys that have played for two years in our system now, are understanding things better.”

Tackles Emmanuel McCray and Pierce Burton are two older guys with experience.  “Those guys have been there and they know how to work and how to prepare.  Hopefully that can translate to some of the younger guys.”

With a highly-touted recruiting class providing more depth, Freeze was asked what impact some of the younger players could be expected to make on special teams, especially in coverage.

“It’s hard to tell yet,” he said.  “They’re on them, and we’re going to find out how well they do.  I hope (Andrew) Ritter and (Tyler) Campbell help make our special teams better too.  Those are two seniors who have been through the battles.  We certainly need to improve our coverage, and hopefully some of the younger players can perform and help us do that.”

On the health front, Freeze said running back I’Tavius Mathers is out of the boot and did some running Tuesday.  “He’s on his way, but I don’t know say exactly what day we expect him to be ready to go next week.”

The Aug. 29 game versus Vanderbilt will be televised by ESPN with an 8:15 p.m. CT kickoff.        

Ole Miss hosts Southeast Missouri in the home opener on Sept. 7. For Ole Miss gameday information or to buy season tickets, visit the Rebels’ gameday site,, or call 888-REB-TKTS (732-8587).

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