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October 1, 2013

Notes: Freeze happy with work day

Ole Miss OL coach Matt Luke talks with media after Tuesday's practice.

OXFORD, Miss. -- Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze likes what he sees from his team, as the Rebels attempt to bounce back from their first loss this season.

No. 24 Ole Miss heads to Auburn this weekend and letting go of the 25-0 loss to Alabama was the first part of the process. Freeze thinks that's been accomplished.

"Good, good work day," Freeze said. "I liked the way they bounced back. Sunday they were good, and I expect them to play really well. I think they'll bounce back and compete just like last year. I like the way our coaches were going about it. I feel good about it, did last week, too, so I don't know if it's a good thing or not."

The Rebels won the first three games of the season and also the last two games of 2012. The winning streak gave Ole Miss a hiatus regarding the recovering after a loss part of the process.

"We won five in a row, and you get used to that and it's a good thing, but the reality in this league is you'll lose some games," Freeze said. "Not many people go through this league and this particular schedule, it wears you down. It's been tough. The environments and the physicality and the late trips home, and you get up Sunday and get back at it. Getting this one past us and coming home for a while."

INFIRMARY REPORT: Ole Miss is relatively healthy going into Saturday's 6 p.m. start with the Tigers, but there are a few lingering ailments.

Denzel Nkemdiche returned from his MCL injury and played 26 snaps against Alabama. Freeze said Nkemdiche played "just OK," adding, "He made some mistakes, got some fits wrong. He didn't look bad running, just rusty."

CJ Johnson has been dealing with an ankle injury and seems to be the most questionable Rebel currently.

"He's day-to-day," Freeze said. "We're keeping him totally off of it. He knows what we're doing. It's just a matter of getting him to a point where we can get him going. He said he feels good."

Robert Nkemdiche broke a finger against Alabama, but it's not impacting him negatively. He had a couple sacks during practice, Freeze said.

REBEL RAMBLINGS: Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said he's preparing for the possibility defensive end C.J. Johnson will not be available at Auburn. Johnson was spotted on a scooter during the portion "You hate it, but we'll have to slide some people around here and there, get the right people on the field and get the best 11 on the field," Wommack said. "It hurts our depth, too, on the defensive line. I hate losing him." ...Wommack said linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche handled the physical portion of his return to action well. Nkemdiche, who had four tackles at Alabama in his first action since a knee injury at Vanderbilt Aug. 30, didn't experience swelling Sunday. "I think he'll be ready to go," Wommack said. "He'll be locked in this week. I think he'll just get better."

Ole Miss defensive coordinator Dave Wommack talks with reporters following Tuesday's practice.

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