BLOG — Ole Miss is returning to its game-week routine after using its second open week of the season to get as healthy as possible.
The Rebels are still fighting their way through some ailments, but head coach Hugh Freeze said Monday during his weekly press conference at the Manning Center that the Rebels will have a good number of injured starters back for this Saturday’s game against Arkansas, which will kick off at 11:21 a.m. from Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The game will be televised by the SEC Network.
CB Mike Hilton, Stinger LB Denzel Nkemdiche and DL Robert Nkemdiche, who hasn’t played since suffering a hamstring injury against Texas A&M on Oct. 12, are good to go against the Razorbacks, Freeze said. RB Jeff Scott and reserve CB Charles Sawyer are “questionable” while reserve DE Carlos Thompson (stinger) is the most doubtful to play.
“As healthy as we’ve been in a while,” Freeze said. “Think the off week came at a good time. Hopefully we won’t be very rusty at all, but we’ll continue to improve as I thought we had the last couple of weeks.”
Arkansas’ 35-17 loss to No. 9 Auburn over the weekend ran its record to 3-6 overall and 0-5 in SEC play. The Razorbacks have lost six in a row, but Freeze said the Razorbacks are ” a very scary football team” because of their ability to run the ball, milk the clock and possibly limit possessions for Ole Miss’ up-tempo offense.
Freeze cited Auburn, which is similar to the Rebels in its offensive tempo, only running 21 first-half plays and losing the time-of-possession battle 34:14 to 25:46 last week as an example. Auburn led the Razorbacks 14-3 at halftime after getting just four first-half possessions before pulling away in the final two quarters.
“If they ever convert drives, they would be very, very dangerous because they control the time of possession and they run the football extremely well, two of the finer running backs that we’ve seen (sophomore Jonathan Williams and true freshman Alex Collins).”
Among other things, Freeze also talked about the concerns of losing momentum during an off week, the running back situation and thinking about the health of he and his staff in light of NFL coaches John Fox and Gary Kubiak being admitted to hospitals after suffering medical episodes over the weekend.
Below is a snippet of Freeze’s meeting with the media.
For complete coverage from Monday’s press conference, see Tuesday’s edition of the EAGLE. (November 4, 2013)