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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ole Miss begins BBVA Compass Bowl work

BLOG — Ole Miss returned to the practice field as a full football team Monday morning with a workout geared toward the future as well as the Rebels’ upcoming contest with Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl.Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said he liked the energy he saw from his team in their return to practice, the first as a team since before the season finale against Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl.

“We had great energy. It was competitive. We got a lot done and we got a lot of young kids a lot of reps. The things we wanted to get out of today, we got out of it,” Freeze said.

Freeze gave an update on injured players and those that were seeing more action. Junior college offensive lineman Darone Bailey, who redshirted last year, is still suffering from the knee surgery he underwent prior to his arrival in Oxford.

“He’s got a knee problem that we’re evaluating. We’re not sure to what extent it is. It’s definitely got some meniscus tear and they’re trying to do so more tests to see if the graft on his knee before he got here is still stable,” Freeze said.

Ole Miss sophomore quarterback Bo Wallace, who has dealt with a sore throwing shoulder most of the season, didn’t practice Monday. In his place taking reps were junior Barry Brunetti and freshman Maikhail Miller.

“Bo could go, we’re just trying to get him as healthy as possible. We have seven full practices after we get back from Christmas and we’re going to try and hold him until those seven practices,” Freeze said. “We’re trying to make sure that he has as much pop in his arm for the bowl as we can.”

Freeze was asked if Wallace may have to undergo surgery once the bowl is over.

“I don’t know that yet. We did a bunch of tests last week. It’s marginal, it’s borderline and (doctors) have seen some (shoulders) heal just fine without it,” Freeze said. “So after the bowl game, we’ll do some more tests and see if it’s closed up any.”

An previously injured Rebel who was back at practice Monday was senior tight end Ferbia Allen.

“Ferbia is going to play. He’s not going to be 100 percent but he’s going to play,” Freeze said. “I’m glad we have him, not just because of our need, but I want Ferbia to enjoy the bowl game. He’s a good kid, everything you want in a player.”

Strong at MLB

Freeze said that former South Panola standout, Temario Strong, was now at middle linebacker and getting more reps there. Strong, who currently weighs 240 pounds, has impressed so far.

“Temario Strong is physical and he gets after it. We started his move at linebacker last week. He doesn’t know everything he needs to know right now, but he is physical. We think he’s a Mike linebacker if he can pick up everything, I think that’s where he fits in this league, particularly against teams that are going to run the power stuff on you,” Freeze said. “I thought (DE) Carlos Thompson had a decent day. I thought Corey Gaines at center showed some signs of some good stuff. (OT) Robert Conyers is going to be alright. Both of the (running) backs (I’Tavius Mathers and Jaylen Walton) were explosive. I think we’ve got two good ones there.”

For more from Freeze and other information from Monday’s practice, see Tuesday’s Sports section. (December 17, 2012)

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