What to watch with Spring Football

Five things to watch as Ole Miss begins spring football

Suspended players

There are different levels of suspension.

Denzel Nkemdiche and Serderius Bryant were arrested for disorderly conduct, Bryant for public drunk. Both also had charges of disturbing the peace.

In a statement addressing their arrests, Hugh Freeze said they were “suspended until we know more.”

Bobby Hill was arrested on a charge of sexual battery.

In the statement Freeze said Hill was “indefinitely suspended from all football activities” while the process moves forward.

Channing Ward has pleaded guilty to DUI but is not presently suspended.

What the roles for these players will be in spring drills remains to be seen.

Anthony Alford

Teammates called him the former Southern Miss quarterback the best athlete on the team last season.

Clearly, big things are expected of Alford in the spring. Take a look:

Alford is clearly a gifted athlete, gifted enough to challenge for a starting job, presumably at safety, where the Rebels return an AP All-American in Cody Prewitt and another starter in rising junior Trae Elston.

He also seems too gifted to think that Hugh Freeze won’t tinker with him on the offensive side.

DeVante Kincade

I’ve had many ask if I think Kincade, a redshirt freshman, will compete for the starting quarterback job.

He shouldn’t.

Ole Miss is fortunate to have a guy beginning his third year as a starter at that position.

Ole Miss quarterback DeVante Kincade.

Ole Miss quarterback DeVante Kincade.

That doesn’t mean the role of the No. 2 guy won’t change, however. A change-of-pace guy behind Bo Wallace proved beneficial with Barry Brunetti.

Kincade bring’s different strengths than Brunetti. He’s less about power running and more about elusiveness.

Last August he displayed a nice touch in the passing game, which is something Brunetti didn’t always have.

If Kincade continues to progress and displays that skill in games, it’s possible he sees more playing time at No. 2 than Brunetti did. I could see an expanded passing package for Kincade.

Hugh Freeze was willing to let Laquon Treadwell throw the ball. I figure Kincade gets his shot.

Offensive Line

There are a lot of moving parts here.

Fahn Cooper, who may end up being the starting right tackle, is completing course work at his junior college. Christian Morris, who was expected to compete for that job, is out with an Achilles injury, and it’s not clear if he’ll get the necessary transfer waiver from the NCAA anyway.

Aaron Morris, the starter at left guard last year when he tore his ACL at Vanderbilt in the season opener, will likely be the left guard again, but he’s not expected to do much of anything this spring.

The Rebels will be looking for a center to replace three-year starter Evan Swindall. Ben Still and Robert Conyers are candidates, but neither has anywhere near the experience of Justin Bell, who is expected to work at the position later in spring drills.

Fadol Brown

The reps will be different as they get the Florida International transfer ready to contribute.

Pass rush was a problem for Ole Miss last season, the Rebels ranking 12th in the SEC and 96th in America at just 1.54 per game.

Brown, at 6-4, 275, is listed at tackle. He played sparingly at FIU as a freshman, getting in 10 games, but had only eight tackles. He had four sacks and a fumble recovery in the Panthers’ spring game and said it was Splitsville with FIU.

He passes the “look test” as they say, and that was the only way to evaluate him in 2013 as he sat out his transfer season.

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to Kory Keys and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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