He finished his first season with a winning record and a bowl victory, then landed the most-hyped recruiting class in school history. Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze will next try to take that forward momentum for his Rebel program into Saturday's spring game. Kickoff at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium is set for 2 p.m. ET, with television coverage on CSS.
The Rebels lost just three starters from last season's squad, limiting the usual depth-chart excitement that comes with any spring game. The Rebels will be without presumed starting quarterback Bo Wallace, opening the way for backups Barry Brunetti and Maikhail Miller to make their mark.
Injury-prone halfback Jeff Scott returns, but the battle rages to back him up and fill the role of all-purpose star Randall Mackey. Many are looking to true freshman halfback Mark Dodson, who enrolled early and has participated in spring practice. Jaylon Walton could also figure in Freeze's decision.
As Red Cup Rebellion points out, the multitude of questions facing Ole Miss this fall have no easy answers:
Who among the program's young tailbacks will emerge as the most prominent option in the backfield after Jeff Scott? Will it be the shifty Jaylon Walton, the powerful I'Tavius Mathers, or the dynamic freshman Mark Dodson Jr.? Will any of them be able to fill the void left by departing do-it-all man Randall Mackey?
Will an offensive line characterized by inconsistencies and bitten by the injury bug be able to adequately prepare for Southeastern Conference play?
And, most importantly, will Donte Moncrief indeed be fed?
Fans will not get a chance to see top-rated recruit Robert Nkemdiche on Saturday, but his brother, linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche, is no small consolation. The elder Nkemdiche, an all-SEC performer in 2012, will be joined in the Rebels' linebacker corps by D.T. Shackelford, who is making his return after nearly two years spent recovering from a devastating knee injury. Defensive tackle Lavon Hooks, considered one of the best junior college players in the country last season, will also be on display.