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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Ole Miss football

Depth breeding spring competition for Ole Miss

Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze likes the numbers he sees when he looks around the practice field. Three full recruiting classes for Freeze and his staff have the Rebels’ roster stocked with the most quality players they’ve had since arriving in Oxford four Decembers ago. The starters at each position — at least the ones that have locked up that distinction — jog off the field after a few reps and are replaced by bodies that are nearly just as big, move nearly as fast and can do many of the same things athletically without much a dropoff. (April 3, 2015, Page 7A)

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    Ole Miss looking for next man in the middle

    Ole Miss is exhausting all avenues in its attempt to find the next man in the middle of its defense. Deterrian Shackelford’s eligibility expired after six seasons last year, leaving a position that’s been stable in recent seasons suddenly surrounded by uncertainty. Shackelford moved to middle linebacker last year to fill the void of Mike Marry, who started for three seasons before Shackelford took over. (April 1, 2015, Page 1B)

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      Judd gets chance to show power in Rebels’ backfield

      Ole Miss didn’t get much power out of its running game last season. Akeem Judd may be able to help with that. The Rebels have amped up the physicality on the ground this spring, emphasizing what head coach Hugh Freeze called “good, dirty runs.” Judd, who’s going through his first spring at Ole Miss, is impressing in that role. (March 30, 2015, Page 6)

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        Shepard, Bridges lead long, revamped secondary

        They wear No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. It’s a fitting number scheme for the expectations Ole Miss has for Tony Bridges and Tee Shepard in its retooled secondary. Bridges and Shepard have been working as the first-team cornerbacks for a majority of the spring, and barring any significant injuries, they’ll stay there this fall. Ranked by varying recruiting sites as the nation’s top junior college cornerbacks in the last two recruiting cycles, the pair is a different breed than what the Rebels have had the last few seasons. (March 30, 2015, Page 6)

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          Manning steps down from CFP selection committee

          Archie Manning is stepping down from the College Football Playoff committee for good. The former Ole Miss All-American’s decision was announced by Bill Hancock, the CFP’s executive director, on Friday. Former Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson will take Manning’s place. (March 29, 2015, Page 1B)

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            QBs turn in clean sheet in Ole Miss’ scrimmage

            Dan Werner demands three things from his quarterbacks in Ole Miss’ offense: Protect the football, stay ahead of the chains and go fast. Rattling off that checklist and executing it are two different things, but the Rebels’ offensive coordinator liked he what he saw from his signal callers Saturday in a game-like situation. (March 29, 2015, Page 1B)

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              Ole Miss’ quarterback competition ‘really close’

              There’s been little separation this spring among the candidates vying to take over the reins of Ole Miss’ offense from Bo Wallace. And it doesn’t sound like the race to be the Rebels’ next quarterback will end anytime soon. Rising sophomores Ryan Buchanan and DeVante Kincade have been biding their time the last two seasons while junior-to-be Chad Kelly came from the junior college ranks in January to add a third competitor to the mix. (March 27, 2015, Page 1B)

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                Kelly off to good start

                So far, so good for Chad Kelly. The newest addition to Ole Miss’ quarterback competition has had the kind of quiet transition to life in the Southeastern Conference that was required when he arrived on campus in January. A player known just as much for what he’s done off the field as what he’s done on it, Kelly has anywhere from the end of the month to the end of August to make his case to be Bo Wallace’s replacement. (March 27, 2015, Page 1B)

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                  Treadwell working his way back to full speed

                  Laquon Treadwell has been running routes for the better part of a month. He’s been running around longer than that. The rehabilitation process for Ole Miss’ star wide receiver has been progressing at warp speed since he suffered his gruesome leg injury in the final seconds of the Rebels’ nail-biting loss to Auburn in early November inside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. (March 26, 2015, Page 6)

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                    Rebels’ young linemen getting extended looks

                    It makes sense for Ben Still, Justin Bell and Fahn Cooper to be working as starters on Ole Miss’ offensive line this spring since each held that role a season ago. But lining up directly behind them — and sometimes to the side — are three freshmen, a sophomore and a converted tight end among others. (March 26, 2015, Page 6)

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