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October 15, 2013

Notes: Rebels make adjustments on defense, special teams


Ole Miss defensive coordinator Dave Wommack meets with the media following Tuesday's practice.

OXFORD, Miss. -- Hugh Freeze walked off the practice field Tuesday concerned that perhaps he had too much in the offensive gameplan for Saturday's Southeastern Conference showdown with No. 6 LSU.

That problem can be alleviated.

Another, the lack of bodies on the defensive side of the ball due to injuries, likely can't be - certainly not in time for the 6 p.m. kickoff.

"We ain't got but so many," Freeze said. "I know we're going to play four down linemen. I really don't know who is playing exactly where right now."

Cornerback Mike Hilton (hamstring) is "not probable," Freeze said. Linebacker Serderius Bryant, who suffered a concussion and was taken off on a stretcher in the fourth quarter this past Saturday, is doing OK, Freeze said.

"He's fighting with the people who are running the concussion protocol," Freeze said. "But he's not ready yet. He sure wants to play."

Running back Jeff Scott (thigh) is "very questionable" for Saturday. I'Tavius Mathers, Jaylen Walton and Kailo Moore were taking running back snaps Tuesday.

Defensive ends Carlos Thompson (stinger) and C.J. Johnson (ankle) and defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche (hamstring) won't play against LSU. Defensive tackle Issac Gross (shoulder) attended practice but did not participate.

The Rebels (3-3 overall, 1-3 in the SEC) shortened practice Tuesday and will shorten it again Wednesday in an attempt to keep the healthy bodies they have fresh for LSU (6-1, 3-1).

"It's been a long grind on us and some very difficult games and we have suffered some injuries," Freeze said. "We're not the only ones in the country, so we don't sit around and whine about it. Other guys are going to have to play a lot more snaps than they're used to, but we're at home and our fans will give us some extra energy, hopefully. They can push through it."

Freeze said the Rebels will likely implement a similar strategy to the one they employed last Saturday in a 41-38 loss to Texas A&M. Against the Aggies, Ole Miss didn't use its fast-tempo style until the second half.

"It worked," Freeze said. "It gave us a chance to win it at the end. We'll probably manage this one very similarly."

SPECIAL TEAMS IMPACTED: Freeze said special teams have been hit hard by the injury bug as well. Players such as Temario Strong and Hilton played on most _ if not all _ special teams groupings. Their absence will force players such as John Youngblood and Carlos Davis (back from a six-game, NCAA-mandated suspension this week) into big roles on special teams this week.

"It's good to have him back," Freeze said. "He's a great cover guy."

REBEL RAMBLINGS: Safety Chief Brown and quarterback Barry Brunetti, players on Freeze's injury worry list Monday, practiced Tuesday. "They're going to go," Freeze said. "I knew they would. Will they be able to be 100 percent? I don't know, but they're both going to give it a go. Chief looked good, I thought."


Ole Miss defensive lineman Bryon Bennett meets with the media following Tuesday's practice.


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