Ole Miss’ Fadol Brown’s injury turning into ‘long-term’ issue

Published 8:35 pm Monday, September 19, 2016

Do not expect the Ole Miss defensive line to get a key piece back any time soon. During pregame warmups on Saturday, defensive end Fadol Brown was seen walking around the field in his jersey, shorts and a walking boot.

For the time being, that will be the image fans can expect to see.

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said during his weekly press conference on Monday that Brown’s injury has become something that will take much longer to heal than originally anticipated back during fall camp.

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“I think Fadol is long term,” Freeze said regarding Brown’s recovery from surgery to repair a fracture in his foot.

Brown has been a key subject regarding the defensive front. He has been listed as the No. 2 defensive end on the right side behind senior John Youngblood. Brown played against Florida State and Wofford in a limited snap count but did not practice at all leading up to the Alabama game last week.

The potential for a sixth year of eligibility might be an option for Brown, who sat out the 2013 season after transferring from Florida International, but it is something Freeze said he’d have to look into.

“I don’t know that,” Freeze said. “You can’t apply for that until after the season, so that’s something we’d have to go down that road then.”

Third-down woes
If there is one glaring reason Florida State and Alabama began to have success as the games went on, besides the turnovers by the Rebels’ offense, it has to be the defense’s productivity on third-down plays.

In the season opener in Orlando, Florida State went 9 of 18 (50 percent) on third down while Alabama went 7 of 15 (46.7 percent) on Saturday. Overall, the Rebels’ defense has allowed opponents to convert 22 of their 49 attempts on third down for a 44.9-percent clip, making them fifth-worst in the Southeastern Conference at getting off the field. Wofford only converted 6 of 16 third downs to help keep the average under 50 percent.

With Georgia coming to town and a well-known running attacking with Nick Chubb in tow, third downs will be another crucial area for Ole Miss if they do not want to become 0-2 in SEC play.

“A little of everything,” Freeze said when asked what needs to improve on third down. “From coaching to techniques to assignments. Sometimes you have to give (opponents) credit. … We’ve got to find a way to get off the field. It’s a combination.”

Injury update
After missing last week’s game due a concussion and not practicing the entire week prior, defensive end Victor Evans is expected to return for Georgia this Saturday, though Freeze was not 100 percent committed to that prediction. Running back Eugene Brazley did not suffer a concussion on the hit taken during the Alabama game. It was his neck that was hurt, but Brazley did practice on Sunday and should be good for Saturday, Freeze said.