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August 7, 2012
OXFORD, Miss. -- Wesley Pendleton intercepted passes from both Ole Miss quarterbacks late in Tuesday's practice.
Korvic Neat fumbled in the same team session, and outside of starting center Evan Swindall, getting the football to the quarterback was a problem all afternoon.
Offensive mistakes were a theme for the day, and those issues were clearly on Hugh Freeze's mind when the Ole Miss coach met with the media following the 2 ?-hour session.
"We're really struggling with quarterback play, trying to get some consistency," Freeze said. "The defense, I thought, had some great energy in that last team period. I thought the offense did really good in that install period. The offense won that period, but when we get down to that team period, the defense dominated again. And we don't take care of the ball."
Some of the mistakes, particularly by the quarterbacks, pertain to protection issues, Freeze said. Others, however, were the result of "absolutely awful decisions. I don't expect us to ever make those kinds of decisions. I'm not surprised that we're inconsistent, but boy, we can be inconsistent and not make decisions that just kill your football team. That's what happened there in several cases. Those were bad decisions."
Freeze said "live bullets" and "pressure" are causing both Brunetti and Wallace to lose their composure at times.
"Anytime we're throwing it down the field and they're getting pressure, they really are struggling right now," Freeze said.
Ole Miss tried four centers _ Swindall, A.J. Hawkins, Chase Hughes and Ben Still _ on Tuesday. Only Swindall consistently got the football to the quarterback.
"We are struggling to find the second guy there to be consistent in the snaps," Freeze said. "That is a big concern. I know (Hawkins) can do it because he's done it before, but he's just rusty and had a little too much heat. High and hard is not good in those and it didn't set a great tone for us. We'll try him again though."
BRIGHT SPOTS FOR REBELS: Freeze was happy Tuesday with his wide receiver corps following a one-on-one red zone drill. Now he just wants to see that success carry over to team play.
"Hopefully we'll get to that point," Freeze said. "Defensively, I think the secondary continues to play with a swagger and a chip on their shoulder. Boy, they show up in the team setting. We've said all along defense is where most of our experience lies and hopefully, they can carry us early on until (the offense) can catch up with them some. If they can keep getting turnovers in games like they do in practice, we'll be all right. We'll have some chances."
INJURY SCARE: A day after learning defensive back Charles Sawyer and wide receiver Collins Moore were out for extended periods of time due to injuries, the Rebels held their collective breath a bit when offensive guard Aaron Morris needed medical attention and missed most of Tuesday's practice. Freeze said Morris strained his Achilles and is "probably just day-to-day."
McGRIFF LIKES YOUNG CORNERS: Ole Miss defensive backs coach Wesley McGriff had high praise Tuesday for the play of young cornerbacks Anthony Standifer and Mike Hilton. Both freshmen have had moments of brilliance in the early phases of fall camp.
"(Standifer) is so smooth, and with his size, it's almost scary," McGriff said. "We're happy to have him. Mike Hilton, he's what I refer to as a 'boy dog.' He's a physical kid. He's not very big, but he plays big. You can tell he's a little ball of fire, now. We've got some good talent there. We've just got to be patient and continue to develop it."
REBEL RUMBLINGS: Linebacker Temario Strong was cleared by the NCAA around midday Tuesday. He will presumably go through his first acclimation day on Wednesday when the Rebels go through the first of four scheduled two-a-days.
Ole Miss NEWS