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Practice Report: Final preparations for Grove Bowl Saturday

Jarred Burleson/The Daily Mississippian


Ole Miss practiced in shorts and helmets Thursday afternoon in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in their final practice before Saturday’s Grove Bowl.

After practice, head coach Hugh Freeze talked about how the teams would be divided for spring game and the format of Saturday’s Grove Bowl.

“We did a little draft with our coaching staff and tried to make it as even as possible,” Freeze said. “We went position by position, and I think it’s about as even as you can get it. I debated on the different scenarios of what to do, and I just think the kids will enjoy it more. I think the fans will, too.”

Freeze said the format of the game will be four 15-minute quarters with a running clock. He also said the Rebels would do the kicking game, but not live.

With the mixing of players and different groupings from what they are used to, Freeze cautioned that there could be some issues.

“There will be probably some offensive inconsistencies because of the mixing and matching, but we’d have that problem if we did ones and two,” Freeze said. “So, we might as well divide it up and try to make it entertaining and at least competitive hopefully.”

In terms of expectations, Freeze knows that execution won’t be perfect, but he wants to see effort and enthusiasm from his team.

“I want to see our kids have a lot of fun,” Freeze said. “I don’t expect perfect execution because we’re still not there in a normal practice, so I want my expectations to match what reality can bring. I do expect them to have fun and compete very passionately.”

Because the Rebels will be playing everyone on the roster who is available, including players who haven’t seen much time this spring in terms of reps, the play-calling will be slightly watered down.

“We’re going to play everybody, and some people have gotten very few reps with some of the stuff we’re doing,” Freeze said. “You just want to be careful to make sure we’re hopefully calling things that they have some recollection of and that they’ve actually practiced.”

With spring practice coming to an end Saturday, Freeze was asked for his thoughts about how much progress the team made in getting ready for the fall.

“Defensively, I’d say a good bit. Offensively, I still think we’ve got a ways to go, but there was progress made,” he said. “I think the real question offensively is, ‘Did we get the most out of the days we had?’ I think we’re pretty close to that, but we’re still a long way away from being where we need to be when we tee it up on that first Saturday in September.”