The Ole Miss Rebels’ first full week of fall football practice is in the books and the overall grade for the team is an incomplete. Because of minor injuries, eight players were held out of the last open practice for the season.
Last season, the Rebels lacked depth and size. Those two areas have been addressed. The Rebels definitely look bigger, and the lack of depth on defense is being addressed in during the practices.
“Meet the Rebels Day” is Saturday, August 17 at 11:30 am CT. Rebels fans can meet the entire team at the Rebels’ indoor practice facility in Oxford. It will be the last time to meet the team before their road opener in Nashville, Tenn against Vanderbilt on August 29 at 8:10 PM CT on ESPN.
Here are a few questions that will be answered during fall practice:
Is bigger better? Last season, the Rebels’ offensive and defensive line were outweighed by 20 to 40 pounds per player depending on who the opponent was. Head coach Huge Freeze said, “We are much bigger than what were last year. We look good, but how does that translate in talent on the field time will tell.”
How good is the freshman class? The incoming freshman class has earned respect all across the nation, but will that be seen on the field this season. Two freshmen who are making their presence felt so far are defensive end Robert Nkemdiche and wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo.
Can the defense build depth? Last season, the defense had trouble getting off of the field on third downs late in games. That was because starters had to play extended snaps. The secondary is still an area of concern for the Rebels. However, with the addition of freshman Nkemdiche to play alongside his older brother Denzel, the defense upfront will have additional depth.
Has Bo Wallace fully recovered from his injury? At the beginning of last season, Bo Wallace and Donte Moncrief were unstoppable. That was until Wallace suffered a shoulder injury that greatly impacted his throwing ability. Wallace had surgery on his shoulder this past off season. He has not fully recovered, but is slowing making progress to return back to the great form he had last season.
Will the Rebels be able to run the football? The Rebels were one of the best teams in the SEC last season in running the football. However, that stat is misleading because a big part of those yards came from the quarterback position. The Rebels will not have the luxury of putting Wallace in harm’s way by exposing him to additional hit by running the football. There is a big drop off from first string to the second string quarterback.
Terry Davis covers the Ole Miss Rebels for MemphiSport. Follow him @terryd515.