Freeze on tailbacks: 'I wouldn't be afraid to play any of them'
Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze spoke to the media following Monday’s practice inside the Manning Center, and among the topics he discussed was the Rebels’ depth at tailback.
“I’m pleased with all the running backs,” Freeze told WTOK in Meridian. “I think that’s a place that with the depth and quality people, that I’m not afraid to play any of them at this point.”
Freeze acknowledged I’Tavius Mathers and Jaylen Walton remain at the top of his depth chart – just as they were coming out of spring practice – noting their experience in the Rebels’ offense and in the SEC. Freeze also specifically mentioned Mark Dodson when asked about the team’s running back depth.
“Dodson’s just like the rest of them, some do some things better, but I wouldn’t be afraid to play any of them at this point. He’s physical and runs with great balance and finishes with good pad level,” Freeze said. “He takes care of the football when he runs it and his pass protection is pretty decent. He measures up quite well with the rest of the backs.”
What does this mean for Ole Miss going forward? Unfortunately, nothing fans didn’t already know when the week began.
Freeze hinted that Mathers and Walton are ahead in the tailback competition, but he refused to reveal his actual depth chart to the media. Popular consensus heading into Monday’s practice was Dodson remained third on the depth chart, and that doesn’t seem to have changed.
However, any player earning specific praise from his head coach during training camp must be doing something right, and fans could expect to see a three-headed monster in the backfield this season, especially with Walton’s ability to catch the ball and line up all over the field.
With Bo Wallace’s experience at quarterback, fans in Oxford hope a deep backfield can provide a rushing attack to keep the offense balanced and opposing defenses frustrated.