If there was any consternation about the Rebels being able to put the Texas A&M heartbreak behind them, Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze put that to rest, hopefully for good, after Wednesday's practice.
"It was a really good practice and work day. I like our plan and the attitude of the players was great today," Freeze stated. "The scout teams have been awesome too. This is the best service team I have seen in all my years of coaching, even when I was here before.
"We couldn't get the kind of work we are getting without them, so they deserve a lot of credit. Overall, it was a very good, productive day."
The Rebels will be playing their seventh game in seven weeks and no break since the start of August practice.
"Physically, we feel fortunate. We have a couple out - Woody (Hamilton) is not ready yet, Justin Bekll (back injury in weight room) is out and Korvic (Neat) is about 85% but he will try to go. We have some sore bodies, but we are OK overall.
"It's been a long grind. We will be looking forward to an open week after Saturday. Right now, my concern would be more about the mental fatigue. The concentration required to get ready every Saturday without a break is difficult. It's been said you can only get your team up 2-3 times a year with maximum focus and that's always a challenge for coaches. That is the challenge we have right now because we've been doing it without a break for seven weeks. It will be good to have some time when we don't have that intense pressure on us next week."
How important would it be to Freeze to see his team pick off Auburn and go into the break 4-3?
"It would be great, but my mentor always told me not to put too much or too little on any single game. The kids will not hear me treat this one any differently than any other game," he stated. "Obviously, it's important. It's another conference game, it's a division game, it's another chance to prove we are getting better and a chance for us to be talked about in a different light than we have been in the past few years. It would definitely feel good to go into the open date with an SEC victory."
Through six games, Freeze is pleased with where his team is, with an asterisk.
"I feel like this year so far has gone better than expected. Certainly we were disappointed with last Saturday and I have said that over and over again, but when I arrived here in spring, with the issues we had, we were really nervous this could be a really difficult year. It might still be because of depth issues, but standing here today, I would have to say I am very pleased with the competitive spirit of the kids, the effort they have shown and the understanding of the foundation of how we want to build this program," Hugh said. "Obviously, we have not arrived and I am not suggesting that, but at this point, with the exception of letting one get away last week, I am pleased at this point with how things have gone."
* The latest on Bo Wallace's sister, Baylee, who had extensive neck surgery yesterday after a recent car accident, from Freeze. "The surgery was about six hours. They thought they would have to go in both the front and the back, but they did not, which is good. It will be a long recovery, but they feel very good about a full recovery," said Freeze. "Thank God it's not worse than it is. She'll have three months with no movement and from there, rehab. Bo definitely felt better today at practice."
* Freeze said Bell will be OK soon, but he's probably out for Saturday. . . He is not expecting to see Hamilton, but Neat is expected to try to play against Auburn.
* At the end of the Texas A&M game, TB Jeff Scott looked hobbled. In fact, he twisted an ankle, but he practiced Tuesday and looked to be back to top form Wednesday in the brief time we were able to watch the running back drills. He is cutting and has his acceleration back.