• 64°

VIDEO: Ole Miss football returns to practice

After a day off for the start of fall classes, the Ole Miss football team returned to the practice fields Tuesday for a little more than two hours as the Rebels continue to prepare for their season opener against UT Martin on Sept. 5.

It wasn’t as crisp as most of the workouts have been the first three weeks of camp as head coach Hugh Freeze called it a “flat” practice. It’s not uncommon for players’ focus to be sporadic this time of year when more is put on their plate with the start of classes and juggling the daily demands of school and football.

It didn’t catch Ole Miss’ coach completely off guard.

“Maybe it’s my preconceived ideas of what that day is like, but I didn’t feel like we had the energy we need to be a great football team today,” Freeze said. “Now we got some good work done. There’s no doubt that this is the first day that they’ve had with early-morning study hall, classes, tutoring, meetings, practice, weights, so it’s a work day for sure. We’ve got to get them accustomed to that and doing it with a great demeanor and attitude.”

As for the ongoing quarterback competition, Freeze said the anonymous leader he identified in the three-man race last week is still ahead of the pack. Freeze again declined to say if it was Ryan Buchanan,DeVante Kincade or Chad Kelly who’s out in front, but the coach said he could end the suspense and name the starter Monday if he feels the same way about the pecking order at the end of the week.

Here’s some video of the quarterbacks during Tuesday’s practice as well as the offensive line, which Freeze said would have a surprise starter or two if the season started today (Spoiler alert: you’ll see a No. 79 running with the first-team offensive line during a drill in the second video. That’s true freshman Javon Patterson).

More notes from Tuesday’s practice:

— Safety Tony Conner didn’t practice as a precaution after hyperextending his knee. Cornerback Kailo Moore and freshman tight end Willie Hibbler (concussion) were also held out while Jeremy Liggins continued to be limited with a strained hamstring, but Freeze said all four are expected back soon.

— Guard Rod Taylor’s rehab on the torn labrum in his shoulder is coming along well, Freeze said, but he’s “still probably a couple weeks away.”

— If Ole Miss played the Skyhawks today, Freeze said Robert Conyers would start at center while Justin Bell and Patterson would start at right and left guard, respectively. Patterson has impressed throughout camp, but part of the reason Patterson is running with the first team, Freeze said, is because senior Aaron Morris was just cleared for full contact coming off a second ACL surgery and hasn’t had time to get reacclimated to the offense’s tempo.

Laremy Tunsil and Fahn Cooper are the incumbents at left and right tackle, respectively.

See Wednesday’s edition of the EAGLE for full coverage from today’s practice.