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Thursday, August 1, 2013
Opening camp: Ole Miss

By Chris Low

Schedule: The Rebels will open preseason practice on Saturday at 10:45 a.m. ET. Their first day in full pads will be Tuesday.

On the mend: Freshman tight end Christian Morgan, an early enrollee, suffered a knee injury during the spring and underwent surgery. His status for the fall is uncertain. The Rebels are keeping their fingers crossed that junior defensive end C.J. Johnson is fully recovered after fracturing his fibula in the spring and undergoing surgery. Johnson led the team with 6.5 sacks last season. Quarterback Bo Wallace missed the spring after having surgery on his clavicle following the 2012 season. He resumed throwing in May and has participated in 7-on-7 drills this summer. Cornerback Charles Sawyer missed the latter part of the spring with a sprained knee, while offensive guard Aaron Morris is coming back from shoulder surgery that caused him to miss the entire spring.

Key battle: All eyes will be on the Rebels’ talented crop of freshmen, and Tony Conner is one who could challenge immediately for a starting spot at the hybrid “Huskie” position, which is part linebacker and part safety. Sophomore Mike Hilton and senior Brishen Mathews will also be in that equation.

Of note: Only one time last season did Ole Miss win the fourth quarter against SEC foes. The Rebels outscored Auburn 17-0 in the fourth quarter of their 41-20 win over the Tigers. In the Rebels’ other seven league contests, they were outscored by a combined 81-30 margin in the fourth quarter.

Predicted order of finish: Picked fourth in the West at SEC media days.

They said it: “We only had 54 scholarship kids last year and are still thin at some spots. Are a lot of these freshmen ready to play? I don’t know. But they’re going to have to play. That’s the position that we’re in.” – Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze