On the eve of Meet the Rebels Day, the team suited up in shells, popping one another inside the IPF Friday morning. The practice started with a lot of rehearsals for Saturday’s scrimmage.
Randall Mackey will be called on often this upcoming season.
“We work special teams every day, but we hadn’t worked the transition on and off the field,” Freeze said. “I thought that went well. We’ll hit that again tomorrow in a scrimmage situation.”
The Rebels started practice with a very high tempo. The first team offense caught the starting defense napping a couple times early. During one play, junior quarterback Barry Brunetti found junior wide receiver Ja-Mes Logan streaking down the field for a long touchdown.
“We had some good red ball,” Freeze said, describing the red jerseys the offense always wears during practice.
“It’s nice to see us get a big, explosive play from Ja-Mes,” Freeze said. “Barry made a nice throw on that…I love that second and seven competition, I think that brings out the best in all of us.”
While Freeze was overall pleased with the team’s performance, he said the “offense had too many negative plays and the defense gave up some big ones.”
Freeze said he was okay with that, though. He felt the mistakes the Rebels made could be corrected. In fact, Freeze said he’s been pleased with the team’s morale during all of fall camp. One concern for Freeze moving forward is the injuries.
“I think so. I think our attitude and effort is great,” Freeze said. “I wish we were healthier, but there are a lot of teams that feel that way. We’re not the only ones going through that so you can’t feel sorry for yourself.”
Towards the end of practice, the volume was turned all the way up on the speakers. Sounds such as crowds’ reactions during football games and speeding NASCARs’ racing by were a few of the sounds being blared in the IPF.
“We’ve got to go to some stadiums that I’ll expect will be loud…We’ve got to find people that can keep their poise,” Freeze said. “Really, it’s for us. I don’t want them to be able to hear the coaches. Coaches get in a bad habit of yelling to their players…We’re going try to put us in a lot of situations where they’re on their own out there.”
Heading into Saturday’s scrimmage, Freeze said there are a few things he expects from the Rebels.
“Fewer negative plays offensively. I thought last Saturday that the energy wasn’t great…I hope that our energy is a little more cranked up,” Freeze said. “It’s our preseason game number two so it’s another opportunity to go through our entire pregame, the way we do our meals and our meetings.”
Freeze said the team will scrimmage for about an hour and a half. During that time, Freeze said they’ll work on game situations, special teams and even overtime.
Freeze said starting next week the Rebels will start preparing for Central Arkansas. Freeze also expects senior defensive tackle Uriah Grant to be back in full action next week.
“Next week will be just like a game week, they’ll have their Monday off to start school,” Freeze said. “Coaches will be in game planning mode then we’ll get started (on Central Arkansas) Wednesday or Thursday.”