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October 23, 2012
Ole Miss defensive coordinator Dave Wommack talks about Arkansas' offense following Tuesday's practice.
OXFORD, Miss. -- After enjoying an open weekend, Ole Miss returned to the practice fields Tuesday to begin game-week preparations for Arkansas and the final grueling grind of five Southeastern Conference games over the next 33 days.
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said the Rebels (4-3 overall, 1-2 in the SEC) were "sluggish a little bit at the start" Tuesday before picking things up as the two-hour practice continued.
"The attitude was great but it definitely looked like we were a little sluggish," Freeze said.
The Rebels' secondary figures to get a stern test from quarterback Tyler Wilson and Arkansas (3-4, 2-2) Saturday in Little Rock (11:21 a.m., SEC Network). Ole Miss has been "average" in that category, Freeze said Tuesday.
"We've struggled at times to be in good position and cover good receivers, particularly when routes are thrown on time," Freeze said. "I do think we've gotten better, but that's certainly something, playing somebody like we're playing Saturday, that's a concern."
Freeze said cornerback Senquez Golson has gotten more confident since finding a home at the field cornerback position.
"There's a difference technique over there than there is into the boundary," Freeze said. "I think he just feels more confident."
ALLEN HAS HISTORY AT WAR MEMORIAL: Ferbia Allen has caught passes at War Memorial Stadium.
He hopes to do so again on Saturday. He also hopes to improve on his last outing at Arkansas' secondary home stadium.
In 2007, Allen, as a senior at Pine Bluff Dollarway High School, caught two passes for 23 in yards in the 4A state title game. Nashville beat Allen's team, 42-26. Allen also lost the state title game at War Memorial as a freshman.
"My senior year I had a good year and a good game," Allen said. "We lost, but we still had fun. It was cool for us to play on a turf field. Being in Little Rock and coming from the school I came from was a big deal."
Five years later, Allen is headed back and hopes to get the Rebels one win from bowl eligibility. He remembers watching the Razorbacks on television growing up, but this time Arkansas is an obstacle in the way of his goals.
"It's important to both of us," Allen said. "They're 3-4 and we're 4-3, so it's a big game. We still have to grow some more. They're a great team, and we can beat them. It depends how we come with our mindset into the game."
Allen committed to Ole Miss the day after an official visit to Arkansas back in 2008.
HILTON RETURNS FROM CONCUSSION: It was a "slow process," Ole Miss freshman defensive back Mike Hilton said, but he's over the symptoms from a concussion he suffered in the Rebels' 41-20 win over Auburn Oct. 13 and ready to play Saturday against Arkansas.
"I did all my tests," Hilton said. "I passed everything. I got a little contact and tested how I feel."
Hilton's thoughts have since turned to Wilson and the Hogs' electric passing game.
"It's going to be real tough," Hilton said. "He's a real good quarterback. They've got him projected high in the (NFL) draft. First, we have to get some pressure from our D-line and rattle him so our (defensive backs) can get picks, but overall, they're a pretty good, real good team, I think."
REBEL RUMBLINGS: Defensive backs Trae Elston (knee) and Charles Sawyer (ankle) were held out of most of Tuesday's practice. Freeze said both players will be fully available Wednesday and are expected to play Saturday. Offensive guard Justin Bell (back) practiced at full-speed Tuesday and will play Saturday. Brishen Mathews worked at safety Tuesday. "Brishen's sharp," Freeze said. "He's played it before. I expect him to pick up on it."
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