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Secondary adapts to injuries

As Ole Miss prepares for Saturday’s contest against the Georgia Bulldogs, it does so without the services of several key players that are out with injury.
Austin McAfee/The Daily Mississippian

 
Heading into Saturday’s game where Ole Miss will face one of the better passing attacks in the conference, the Rebels and head coach Hugh Freeze are dealing with some costly injuries in the secondary. 
 
“I wish we were healthier,” Freeze said. We’re beat up in the secondary in particular with Wesley (Pendleton) and Senquez (Golson). Charles (Sawyer) is going to play, but he’s still nursing his foot; (Trae) Elston looks good. Thank God people like Mike Hilton and Quintavius Burdette; (Anthony) Standifer is back today, and he looks good.”
 
With those injuries taken into account, Ole Miss has shuffled its secondary around. Junior huskie Dehendret Collins is working at corner, as is Burdette, a freshman who has played mostly special teams. Junior Brishen Mathews, who moved to safety last week, is back working at huskie this week. 
 
Golson, who Freeze said Monday was dealing with “concussion-like symptoms,” has begun going through the tests needed to be cleared. 
 
“He’s going through the concussion tests, and he has to be cleared from that,” Freeze said. “(Monday) was the first battery of tests, and we’ll see if (Wednesday’s) are better. Hopefully, there’s a good improvement, and it progresses nicely throughout the week.”
 
Offensive line building depth, preparing for Jarvis Jones
 
After early struggles, the Ole Miss offensive line has improved as the season has gone on. Part of that is due to game experience, and part of that is due to the depth that offensive line coach Matt Luke has been able to build. 
 
“I think, just like anything, you get better at what you do,” Luke said. “We’ve stayed pretty consistent with what we do; we haven’t changed a whole bunch so you get better at it. (Junior) Corey Gaines is really coming on. (Redshirt freshman) Justin Bell had a back injury; he had a great day today. He was really physical in there today. (Junior) Patrick Junen, he’s rolling in there with the ones, he practices with the ones. I think we are developing some depth.”
 
The improved offensive line will face a great test Saturday, as it will go up against star linebacker Jarvis Jones and the Georgia defense. 
 
On the year, Jones has 49 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and one interception. The Bulldogs do a great job of moving Jones around, according to Luke. 
 
“They’ll put (Jones) in some different spots, move him around where you can’t get a bead on him where he’s going to be,” he said. “They’re going to bring pressure away from him as well, so if you are sliding over to 29, they’ve got guys coming on the other side.
 
“We’ve got our work cut out for us.”
 
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