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April 10, 2012

Notes: Offense takes a step back



OXFORD, Miss. -- Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said Tuesday the Rebels are through installing offense.

If that wasn't the plan going into Tuesday's practice, it certainly is now.

"We're going to try to get good at something before spring's up," Freeze said following a relatively sloppy offensive performance during a two-hour practice in full pads. "I'm disappointed we didn't compete harder, but the defense's emotion and energy today matched the offense from last week. So it's kind of gone back and forth."

Barry Brunetti was intercepted twice Tuesday (Wesley Pendleton, Abdul Bangura). There were problems with the shotgun snap, particularly with the second-unit offense. There were also some quarterback-running back exchange issues, making evaluating the quarterbacks difficult.

Freeze said Brunetti was ahead of Bo Wallace going into Tuesday's work.

"Today, I don't know," Freeze said. "I'd have to watch the film. I don't think either one of them set the woods on fire. ...To kind of develop who would be in the lead going into fall camp, these next two Saturdays would be big."

JOHNSON FEELING AT HOME: Sophomore defensive end C.J. Johnson was back at practice Tuesday after getting through a concussion suffered last week. He also had the club wrapping off his injured hand, making for one of his better practices since the position switch from linebacker.

"I'm learning from (former NFL standout/graduate assistant) Derrick Burgess," Johnson said. "Coach (Chris) Kiffin is giving me encouragement every day. I had a meeting with him the other day and he told me I was young and full of talent. He said I just haven't learned at the college level yet, but that will come with time."

Johnson recorded 32 tackles and a sack last season, but he said he's learned "a ton" this spring.

"You can't run in there and do the same thing every time, or they'll be expecting that," Johnson said. "I'm learning from (Burgess) every day and I'm out here working to get better."

Johnson said he feels like he has to improve his technique, get stronger and add another 10-15 pounds on his frame.

REBEL RUMBLINGS: Wide receiver Donte Moncrief missed practice with an illness. Some 6-8 players missed practice due to academic issues. Freeze said he has about 20 players on academic probation, adding that while he probably "don't have to worry about all 20, but I do. Because you just never know. You bomb a test here and there, and all of a sudden you drop that GPA down and you're looking at two semesters below a 2.0, and that's trouble." ...Freeze said he believes 8-10 signees who signed in February will likely have to play in the fall.



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