Ole Miss Prepares For First Scrimmage
OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss head football coach Hugh Freeze likes to divide fall camp into segments. With the first, and hardest, segment of fall camp ending Saturday with the team’s first scrimmage at 9:45 a.m. on the team’s practice field, the first-year head coach is looking for who he can play in games when the season kicks off – not where they’re listed on the depth chart.
Freeze and Rebel football fans will get a glimpse of just that Saturday, with the first scrimmage being open to the public.
One player who stood out in Freeze’s eyes during Friday’s morning practice was junior quarterback Barry Brunetti. Freeze said it was the Memphis, Tenn., native’s best day in camp thus far, attributing his performance to film study, repetitions, better protection and his work with Ole Miss co-offensive coordinator Dan Werner.
“I thought it was his best day, no doubt,” Freeze said. “I thought Barry had the best day of the quarterbacks, and it was his best day thus far in camp.”
With that said, Freeze still believes it’s far too early to put much stock into the depth chart and where players’ positioning on it lay, adding that after Saturday’s scrimmage would be the first time they discussed the depth chart.
“I still think it’s too early,” Freeze said. “We still have some kids coming on in the second group and we’re going to need them. I really could care less who’s listed as first team. I want to know who can play on Saturdays.”
Friday marked Ole Miss’ second consecutive two-a-day practice schedule. Freeze said Friday’s afternoon session would be more geared toward the young players, with the first and second units getting a little break before Saturday’s scrimmage.
The Ole Miss coaching staff has stopped adding plays into the playbook at this point, and Freeze said he has been pleased with the team’s energy in practice, on and off the field.
“You never are where you want to be, but I do think we have gotten the most out of the time we’ve had,” Freeze said. “I think we’ve only had one day, really, where I felt the kids didn’t bring good energy to the field. That’s all we can ask of them. They’re bringing us good effort and energy, they’re doing what we ask of them in the film study, in the walkthroughs and the weight room.”
The focus at Saturday’s scrimmage with the Southeastern Conference officiating crew will be as few penalties as possible, and not giving up big plays, Freeze said.
“We’d like to see us penalty-free for the most part, and take care of the football,” Freeze said. “(We want to) stay on schedule offensively, and defensively, be sound. They do so much that right now some of the back end is getting a little confused and it results in some big plays. We’d like to see them tackle a little better and not give up big plays tomorrow.”
Use of cellular phones and cameras at Saturday’s scrimmage are prohibited, and fans must remain in the designated area and are not allowed between the practice fields.
Meet The Rebels Day activities are set for August 18 at the Indoor Practice Facility.