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Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (April 21-27, 2015)

Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review

April 21-27, 2015

Baseball

- During the five-game homestand, Ole Miss went 3-2 with a midweek win over Central Arkansas as well as claiming a weekend series over Alabama. 

- The Rebels recorded 68 hits throughout the week, improving their season batting average by 15 points. Three Rebels hit over .500 for the week, led by junior Connor Cloyd, who recorded five multi-hit games for a .565 week (13-for-23). 

- Sophomore Colby Bortles and senior Austin Knight smacked hits in half of their at bats; Bortles was 9-for-18 this week, while Knight went 8-for-16 that included the first two home runs of his career. 

- Scoring 14 runs in the first two innings, Ole Miss busted out the bats in a convincing 18-4 victory over Central Arkansas. The 18 runs were a season high for Ole Miss and every Rebel in the starting lineup recorded at least one hit, one run and one RBI, a feat accomplished for the first time in Ole Miss history. 

- In a loss to Memphis, sophomore Colby Bortles had another big night at the dish, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, two RBI and one run. Bortles' three hits tied his career high total for a single game. 

- The Rebels got back on the winning track by sweeping Alabama in a doubleheader on Saturday, outscoring the Crimson Tide a combined 14-2. 

- In game one, the Rebels turned in a complete performance with 17 hits, eight innings from starting pitcher Christian Trent, and multiple outstanding defensive plays in a 10-2 victory. 

- Junior right fielder Cameron Dishon went 4-for-5, setting a career high for hits, and Bortles tied a career high with five RBI. In addition to a career high for hits, Dishon also set a career high with three stolen bases, giving him 15 for the season, to go along with two runs scored. 

- Bortles went 3-for-4 with a double and a home run, a three-run shot in the fourth for his seventh of the season. 

- Trent worked a season-long 8.0 innings, giving up two runs -- one earned -- and scattering six hits with a walk and five strikeouts. 

- In front of 10,119 fans, the largest crowd of the season and sixth-most in Swayze Field history, sophomore Brady Bramlett and senior Scott Weathersby out-dueled Alabama, 4-0, to complete doubleheader sweep. 

- Bramlett went a career-long 7.1 innings, shutting out Alabama and limiting the Crimson Tide to just four hits. Bramlett also struck out nine batters with no walks, and he was one strikeout shy of recording his third double-digit strikeout game of the season. 

- Weathersby worked a perfect 1.2 innings of relief with two strikeouts to pick up the save. As a team, the Rebels struck out 11 batters compared to zero walks. 

- Cloyd (2-for-3) and Knight (2-for-4) each tallied a multi-hit game. Cloyd drove in what proved to be the game-winning run in the contest, while Knight and senior first baseman Sikes Orvis provided some insurance with a pair of home runs in the eighth.

- After 183 career at-bats without a home run, Knight belted two homers in back-to-back at-bats as the senior left the yard in his first plate appearance of Sunday's series finale.

Track & Field

- Ole Miss continued its rich tradition at the Drake Relays, which celebrated its 106th year of existence this week, with four event titles and two runner-up finishes in Des Moines, Iowa.

- The Rebels have now won at least one event title in 10 straight years and 25 overall dating back to 1983. The four titles this year are the most since they racked up five in 2010 and tied for second-most in school history.

- Despite cold temperatures and some less-than-ideal wind and rain for a track meet, Ole Miss strung together four titles, which included sophomore Jalen Miller in the men's 100 meters (season-best 10.29), senior Phillip Young in the men's triple jump (season-best 52-8.75), the women's 4x100-meter relay squad (44.80) and freshman Brooke Feldmeier in the women's 800 meters (2:05.96).

-  The women's 4x100-meter relay squad of Nicole Henderson, Shannon Ray, Khadijah Suleman and Jhorden Hunter remained undefeated against college competition, placing first among college teams at all six meets this season and ranking seventh in the nation with a season-best time of 44.11.

- Runners-up in Iowa included redshirt-freshman Dempsey McGuigan in the men's hammer throw (214-0) and the women's 4x200-meter relay of Mercedes Mattix, Kiannah Alexander, Breanna Tate and Deanna Tate (1:36.80).

Softball

- Ole Miss locked up a berth in the SEC Tournament over the weekend with a win over South Carolina in the weekend series. The Rebels can finish the year as high as ninth in the SEC standings and no lower than 12th.

- The Rebels picked up the 29th win over the season, tying the mark for second most wins in a season and one shy of tying the school record for wins in a season with four games left in the regular season.

- Ole Miss has set new records for offense this season with runs (282), triples (13), home runs (43), walks (156) and steals (82).

Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- April 26

Hugh Freeze and Ross Bjork embarked on the Rebel Road Trip, the baseball team claimed their weekend series over Alabama that featured the largest crowd of the season and the football program's NFL presence is expected to grow with the NFL Draft next weekend. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:

- Headlined by Ole Miss football head coach Hugh Freeze and athletics director Ross Bjork headlined the fourth annual BancorpSouth Rebel Road Trip that featured 13 fan meetings over six days. Both Freeze and Bjork noted the same energy but a different belief and optimism than their first Rebel Road Trip together in 2012.

- Here's what Freeze had to say about his fourth Rebel Road Trip, speaking to reporters after the event: "I enjoy the meetings and seeing the Rebel people," Freeze said. "We ask them to come to our campus so much that the least we can do is to get out and be with them. The most difficult part for me is just being so out of touch with our players with exam time coming up and academic issues. It's just a long week, but it's so much fun being with the Rebel people and the passion that they have."

- And here's Bjork: "It's hard to believe, but it's still the same energy. What's been cool is that just about every place has been packed, really with the exception of one place, and the energy that's out there as far as away as Baton Rouge. Everybody's fired up about Ole Miss. That's what makes this worthwhile to do it. People get excited to see you. Winning makes people believe and gives them confidence and puts what we've been talking about into perspective that we can do it."

- Bjork, who recently agreed in principle to a contract extension that will keep him at Ole Miss through 2019, spoke about many of the same talking points on the tour in a question and answer earlier this month. In case you missed it, here's the State of the Program from April 14.

- The Ole Miss baseball team completed a 3-2 week, highlighted by a Saturday doubleheader sweep and home series win over Alabama, to improve to 23-22 overall and 10-11 in SEC play entering the final 11 games of the regular season, including weekend series at Missouri and then home series against Mississippi State and Texas A&M.

- Barring any rainouts, Ole Miss needs to go 6-5 over the final 11 games to finish two games over .500 and head to the SEC Tournament with a cushion. Ole Miss is currently tied with Auburn for eighth place in the SEC standings, 3.0 games ahead of Tennessee/Mississippi State, both at 7-14, for the 12th and final place in the SEC Tournament.

"You keep everything in perspective, and obviously today was disappointing," said Austin Knight after their loss Sunday. "But getting two of three and playing as well as we did Saturday was a good sign for us."

- On the mound, Brady Bramlett and Scott Weathersby combined for the Rebels' first shutout of the season, while Christian Trent also turned in a brilliant start to lift Ole Miss to a doubleheader sweep on Saturday. On the other side, head coach Mike Bianco said they will weigh other options for the third spot in the weekend rotation going forward.

- Interesting stat: In the Rebels' 4-0 shutout win over Alabama on Saturday night, Bramlett and Weatherby combined for 11 strikeouts compared to zero walks.

- As a team, Ole Miss swung it better this week, breaking double digits for runs in two of the five games and hitting at a .368 clip for the week, raising the team batting average 15 points to .262 for the season. Connor Cloyd tallied a multi-hit game in each of the five games, hitting .565 (13-for-23) with six runs scored and six RBI.

- Interesting stat II: After not hitting a home run in his first 183 career at-bats, Austin Knight hit home runs in back-to-back at-bats, the last at-bat of Saturday night's game and the first at-bat of Sunday afternoon's game.

- The Ole Miss men's and women's tennis teams will learn their NCAA Tournament destinations when the women's field is announced on Tuesday at 4 p.m., followed by the men's field at 4:30 p.m. 

- The men, ranked No. 13 in the nation, are in good position to host the NCAA first and second rounds. The women, ranked No. 20 in the nation, are likely on the road for the NCAA first and second rounds, but perhaps because of their higher ranking, they will avoid one of the higher national seeds in the field.

- Senior Nik Scholtz, already the first Rebel to be named SEC Freshman and Player of the Year in a career, made some more history this past week. He was named to the All-SEC first team, becoming the first Rebel to be named to the All-SEC first team all four years.

- With three wins, two over Alcorn State and another over South Carolina, the Ole Miss softball team is one win shy of the most in school history, set during the 2005 season. The Rebels have four regular season games remaining, a midweek game at Mississippi Valley State and then a three-game series at Texas A&M, before starting play in the Southeastern Conference.

- Looking ahead to the 2015 football season, Freeze also spoke to reporters about the offseason strength and conditioning program for his team, headed by head football strength and conditioning coach Paul Jackson: "He'll have them ready. I have great trust in Paul and his staff, and he knows what he has to done for them to get into fall camp ready to roll."

- Also, in case you missed it, check out the Ole Miss football season tickets promo. Great work from Ole Miss Sports Productions.

- The Ole Miss football program is expected to add to its NFL presence with the 2015 NFL Draft next weekend, held Thursday through Saturday in Chicago and televised on ESPN and NFL Network. Cody Prewitt (No. 4 free safety, No. 124 overall player) and Senquez Golson (No. 16 cornerback, No. 129 overall players) are both projected fourth-round picks according to CBS Sports' latest NFL Draft prospect rankings

- Prewitt and Golson would become the second and third players drafted during the Hugh Freeze era, joining Donte Moncrief, who was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the third round of last year's NFL Draft.

Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (March 24-30, 2015)

Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review

March 24-30, 2015

Women's Basketball

-The Ole Miss women's basketball team saw its record setting season some to a close with a loss to Middle Tennessee in the third round of the WNIT. The Rebels closed the season with a 19-14 mark, the best record since 2006-07 and reached the postseason for the first time since 2009-10. 

-Ole Miss' Tia Faleru concluded her decorated career with 1440 career points and 851 career rebounds. She ranks No 13 on Ole Miss' all-time scorers list. She also closed her career with 34 career double-doubles which ranks fifth all-time. 

Softball

- Ole Miss improved to 21-13 on the year and 5-7 in the Southeastern Conference this past week, going undefeated in four games to run its current active win streak to six consecutive games. 

- The Rebels posted a series sweep of the Arkansas Razorbacks, moving to five-straight wins in SEC play after the series win over No. 24 Mississippi State last weekend. 

- The series sweep at Arkansas was the first of a three-game series in SEC play for the Rebels since the 2012 season when Ole Miss closed the year with three-game sweep of South Carolina at home. 

- The sweep of the Razorbacks also marked the first three-game series sweep on the road in SEC play for the Rebels since the 2005 season when Ole Miss closed the season with a three-game sweep of Arkansas on the road. 

- Senior 3B Allison Brown was named SEC Player of the Week after leading the Rebels to a three-game series sweep at Arkansas. Brown paced the Rebels at the plate, batting at a .778 clip against the Razorbacks and did not strike out through four games on the week while posting an .800 on base percentage on the week. She also hit a three-run home run in a game-one win and drove in the game-tying run to set up an extra-inning win in game two against the Razorbacks.

- Junior RHP Madi Osias picked up all three wins on the weekend - two of them in relief - to improve her season record to 6-7 in the circle. 

- Freshman 1B Alex Schneider moved into the team lead in home runs as she notched her seventh of the season.

- Ole Miss has now hit 31 home runs on the year, passing last year's home run total in only 34 games played. Ole Miss has also stolen more bases this year (67) than the squad attempted all season in 2014.

Baseball

- After claiming a series against No. 1 Florida, Ole Miss did not continue the momentum, going 1-4 last week. 

- Along with their services behind the plate, catchers Austin Knight and Henri Lartigue led the Ole Miss bats throughout the week as the duo combined to hit .444. Knight had a weekly batting average of .455 with the help of tying his career high in hits versus Arkansas in the series finale. The senior went 3-for-4 at the plate with one double and a RBI. Lartigue posted an average of .429 throughout the week

- Speaking of personal bests, Cameron Dishon had a career night at the plate in the Rebels' win over Arkansas. Dishon led Ole Miss with a career-high three hits, including a solo home run for his second of the season. The Ole Miss right fielder crossed the plate twice and recorded a pair of RBI, knocking in the game's first run as well as his own on his blast to left field. 

- Brady Bramlett allowed two runs on seven hits and a pair of walks, while also striking out five Razorbacks, to earn the victory on the mound. Sophomore Colby Bortles also contributed to the win, hitting his third homer of 2015 in what ended up being the game-winning run. 

- In the series finale, junior college transfer Connor Cloyd recorded the first RBI base hit of his Ole Miss career. 

- One night after earning the save and sealing a Rebels' victory, sophomore Wyatt Short pitched 2.2 innings and allowed one run on two hits in relief. The solo home run surrendered by Short ended an impressive stretch for the southpaw as it was the first time he gave up a run over 13.1 innings in seven appearances. 

- Throughout the series against Arkansas, freshman Kyle Watson was the Rebels' first baserunner in all three games by drawing a walk in the second inning of each contest.

Women's Golf

-Ole Miss claimed its first tournament title since wining the Johnie Imes Invitational in 2008 by winning the 2015 Samford Invitational with a three-roud score of 907. Ole Miss was led by senior Stani Schiavone who claimed her first career tournament title with a 7-under par 65 in the final round. Alison Hovatter took runner-up honors.

-Schiavone become the second Ole Miss player to take medalist honors a the Samford Invitational joining teammate Abby Newton who won the Memphis FedEx Intercollegiate in the fall. Schiavone's final round 65 was a new 18-hole career low and was the lowest round for a Rebel this season. 

-For her efforts Schiavone was named SEC Women's Golfer of the Week. It as her first career accolade and the first SEC honor for Ole Miss since Abby Newton was named SEC Freshman of the Week in 2013. 

Track & Field

- Ole Miss won five event victories at the Yellow Jacket Invitational in Atlanta this past weekend, the second meet of the 2015 outdoor season.

- The Rebel men were led by victories from Jalen Miller in the 100 meters, Robert Semien in the 110-meter hurdles and Adam Aguirre in the high jump. The women added titles from Brooke Feldmeier in the 1500 meters and the 4x100-meter relay team.

- Despite resting several normal contributors, the Rebels added a few more veteran players to the mix than they had in the season opener in Tuscaloosa. The results were favorable, as Ole Miss posted 10 more top-three event finishes in addition to the five victories.

- Rebel men who rank among the NCAA's top 30 are Miller in the 100m (26th, 10.50), Semien in the 110m hurdles (20th, 14.21), Aguirre in the high jump (T-28th, 6-10.75), Branden Greene in the high jump (T-28th, 6-10.75) and Nathan Loe in the hammer throw (25th, 202-3).

- Rebel women who rank among the NCAA's top 30 are Jhorden Hunter in the 100m (19th, 11.69), Shannon Ray in the 100m (30th, 11.74), the 4x100m relay (7th, 44.73), Kierra White in the long jump (16th, 19-10.25) and Fabia McDonald in the long jump (20th, 19-8.25).

Men's Tennis

- The Rebels went 1-2 last week, losing a close match at Mississippi State and then rallying to beat No. 24 LSU 4-3 before dropping the final match of the road trip to No. 9 Texas A&M.  The Rebels enter the final two weeks of SEC regular season play at 13-6 overall and 5-3 in the SEC.

- Senior Nik Scholtz saved six match points against LSU to clinch the victory and hand the Tigers their first home loss of the season.  He improved to 11-3 at No. 1 singles and is now one win away from his 80th career victory.

- Junior Stefan Lindmark continued his impressive play.  He won in straight sets at LSU to remain undefeated in the SEC at 6-0 and is 10-3 at No. 2 singles.  He needs just two more wins to get to 20 this year.

Women's Tennis

- Playing without their No. 2 player, the Rebels lost a pair of matches at home to LSU and No. 15 Texas A&M by a 4-2 score to fall to 13-7 overall and 3-7 in the SEC.

- Senior Julia Jones won both her matches to improve to 25-7 overall this year, 15-4 at No. 1 singles.  She earned her 15th nationally ranked win on Sunday and also her 98th career win. She needs just two more to join the 100-club.

What They're Saying: Baseball Opening Day

After advancing to the College World Series in 2014, the Ole Miss baseball team is set to open the 2015 season with a three-game series at home against William & Mary, starting Friday at 4 p.m. CT.

Here's a look at the opening day lineup via @CoachMikeBianco

Ole Miss enters the 2015 season ranked in three of the six major national polls, coming in at No. 18 in D1Baseball.com and USA Today Coaches' polls and No. 19 in the NCBWA poll.

More From OleMissSports.com and Ole Miss Blog:

Previewing the Batting Lineup and Pitching Staff

Ole Miss Baseball 2015 Walk Out Music

Blackman Embraces Preseason Expectations

Knight Ready to write his Own Story

More Big-Picture Stories:

Closer look at opening day lineup, writes Chase Parham of RebelGrove/Rivals.com

How will Ole Miss baseball look in 2015?, writes Hugh Kellenberger of the Clarion-Ledger

Deep, talented SEC looks for another run at CWS, writes David Brandt of the Associated Press

Ole Miss baseball has talent to keep good times rolling, writes Hugh Kellenberger of the Clarion-Ledger

Rebels not sitting on last year's success, writes Parrish Alford of the Daily Journal

More Player Feature Stories:

Bramlett recovered and ready to start, writes Chase Parham of RebelGrove/Rivals.com

Knight Time, writes Jeff Roberson from the Ole Miss Spirit/Scout.com

Freshman Blackman expected to make impact, writes Chase Parham of RebelGrove/Rivals.com

More from D1Baseball.com:

D1Baseball.com's breakdown of No. 18 Ole Miss from Kendall Rogers

Ole Miss is picked to finish third in the SEC West and second baseman Tate Blackman was named preseason SEC Freshman of the Year in D1Baseball.com's SEC preview from Kendall Rogers

Ole Miss is projected as a No. 2 seed in the TCU (Fort Worth) Regional in D1Baseball.com's Preseason Field of 64

D1Baseball.com's survey of head coaches on the new lower-seamed baseballs and their impact on college baseball from Aaron Fitt

More from Chase Parham of RebelGrove/Rivals.com:

Pre-SEC Ole Miss opponent capsules, looking at the nonconference schedule prior to SEC play

Bjork clarifies baseball student guidelines, talking about the new student guidelines for right field at baseball games

Freshman Kyle Watson vying for time in left field and other notes


Previewing the Batting Lineup and Pitching Staff

Ole Miss held its annual media day on Monday inside the Diamond Club at Oxford-Unversity Stadium, ahead of the Rebels' season opener Friday at 4 p.m. against William & Mary, the opening game of a three-game series. 

Here are some notes and quotes from the media opportunity with head coach Mike Bianco and selected players, looking at the batting lineup and the pitching staff heading into the start of the 2015 season.

The Hitters:

"As we start this spring, I in a way struggled to explain to the team, something different and something exciting for you to write about," Bianco said. "But, it seems that I come back to the same sentence, it seems very similar to last year. What I mean by that is we return some big pieces on the field. 

"When you look around the field on Friday, you will see Sikes Orvis, Errol Robinson, J.B. Woodman, Austin Knight, Colby Bortles. These are some guys who certainly played big roles for us last year in getting to the College World Series. And like last year, there is certainly going to be room for some new guys to step in and help us."

Projected Defensive Lineup:

C Austin Knight

1B Sikes Orvis

2B Tate Blackman

3B Colby Bortles

SS Errol Robinson

LF Connor Cloyd/Josh Watkins/Kyle Watson

CF J.B. Woodman

RF Cameron Dishon

Speaking to the batting order, Bianco said Woodman will likely lead off, followed by Robinson, Orvis, Bortles and Henri Lartigue, who will back up Knight at catcher and be a possible designated hitter. After those five in the order, Bianco said a lot of it will be determined by lefty-righty matchups.

More on Austin Knight:

Knight has appeared in 74 games over the last three year, drawing the start in 16 games, including two games behind the plate in the College World Series as senior Will Allen moved to designated hitter due to injury. During his career, Knight has played behind two Johnny Bench Award finalists in Allen and Stuart Turner, who won the award in 2013.

Knight: "I'm very confident going into the season. I'm looking forward to getting out there and competing against somebody else. I got to play behind two very good catchers and very good people (Stuart Turner and Will Allen). Being able to learn from those guys has been great."

Bianco, on Knight: "To catch in our system, every coach on the staff was a catcher, it's tough to catch here. We're very hard on the catchers. There is a high expectation, not only for your performance, but also your leadership, getting the signals, being able to handle the staff, body language and all these other things we talk about. That's one of the reasons why Austin will be starting on Friday night. Not only can he handle it behind the plate and catch the ball and hit for us, but he's our best option as far as leadership and doing all the things we need from that position."

LHP Christian Trent, on Knight: "I was close to him last year, but Will caught the majority of my games. He's going to be fine. He's going to step up and take the place of Will. He has a good arm. He's really good at receiving the ball. As a pitcher, I'm already comfortable with him."

More on Tate Blackman:

Sikes Orvis and Errol Robinson return at their respective spots in the infield. They are joined by Colby Bortles, who played in 40 games, drawing the start in 14 games, nine at designated hitter and five at first baseman, as well as Tate Blackman, the preseason SEC Freshman of the Year by D1Baseball.com, who will start at second base for the Rebels.

Blackman: "It's a blessing to get the opportunity. I came in here as a freshman, trying to work hard on and off the field. My goal was to come in here and making a big impact my freshman year, and hopefully Friday will be a good day for me and for my team."

Bianco, on Blackman: "We think he is our best option at second. We saw a kid that didn't play like a freshman, not just with his ability, but with the way he carries himself. Tate looks like the guy that is most ready to play. He is an outstanding hitter, runs well and is a good defender. I am excited about all of the freshman.

Orvis, on Blackman: "He has a lot of talent, a lot of power, a lot of juice, and he's not afraid to mess up. He gets right in there. He's a hard-nosed player. He's going to be really good. The game speeds up on him as it does for all freshmen, but he has all the confidence in the world in himself, so he'll be fine."

More on the corner outfielders:

J.B. Woodman, the Rebels' leading returning hitter by batting average (.298), returns to the outfield, as he moves to center field, having played mostly right field and designated hitter this past season. Cameron Dishon will step into a bigger role as the start right fielder, having played mostly as a pinch runner and defensive replacement over the last two years. 

At the other corner outfield spot, what Bianco called the big question mark, as they open the season, Bianco said they will probably play a lot of guys to start with, mentioning junior college transfers Connor Cloyd and Josh Watkins, as well as freshman Kyle Watson by name. Another freshman, Will Golsan, might also figure in the mix.

Bianco, on left field: "I don't know if you need to have two games in a row or three games in a row," Bianco said. I don't know if there's a number. It's more feel. The goal over the first four weeks is to find the best lineup by the time we get to LSU on the opening weekend of SEC play. One of those guys can DH, somebody can play left, one of the other outfielders could sit a game and we can play two of those guys, so a lot of it just depends."

The Pitching Staff:

"On the mound, we are a little different than last year in the sense that last year at this time I think that was the big talk and most of the questions in the preseason press conference were about the pitching and the starting pitching, maybe for the lack of experience in the projected starters," Bianco said. 

"This year we return two of the SEC starters (Christian Trent and Sam Smith) from last year, along with some guys who have tons of experience like Scott Weathersby, Wyatt Short and Matt Denny. These are guys who gained some valuable experience for us last year."

Friday: LHP Christian Trent

Saturday: RHP Sam Smith

Sunday: RHP Brady Bramlett

Trent, on the move from Saturday starter to Friday starter: "My routine is not going to change. You're still coming to the field and do everything pregame I did last year. The role is different. Pitching on Saturday, the mindset was to win the series or push the series to a third game. I like the role of Friday because you can start the series off with a win and give your team a chance to get ahead in the series early."

More on Bramlett and Johnson:

Earlier in the spring, Bianco said Sean Johnson, a 6-foot-7 right-hander from the junior college ranks, would be a weekend, but he's been dealing with tendinitis and will be limited to bullpen work in the first weekend. In his place, Smith will move up to Saturday, and Bramlett will get the start on Sunday. Bramlett, himself, missed the last part of the 2013 season and the entire 2014 season due to recovery from a torn labrum.

Bianco, on Bramlett: "You don't know when they come off an injury where they are going to be or how they are going to be that first year back. When they are released and able to pitch you have to see how they are. 

"Brady had a really good fall. Once we got back, his three starts were probably better than any of the starters. He was pretty spotless here this January and early February. We are excited. He is a guy when we recruited him a couple years ago we knew would have a big time fastball. His slider keep coming, and he has improved his change-up. We really think he is going to have a big year."

Bianco, on Johnson: "We mentioned earlier to some of you that Sean Johnson would be a weekend starter. He came up a few days before our first intersquad game with some tendonitis in his shoulder. He is fine and he threw a bullpen on Friday. Sean will throw another bullpen tomorrow. He will not pitch in the first weekend, he just isn't in shape enough to start and log that many innings. Look for him to, at some point, get back into that starting role."

More on the bullpen:

After the graduation of Brett Huber two seasons ago, the program's all-time saves leader with 38, five different players recorded saves for the Rebels this past season, two of whom return in left-hander Wyatt Short and right-hander Scott Weathersby. Bianco also mentioned left-hander Matt Denny and right-hander Will Stokes, a freshman, as arms out of the bullpen. 

As far as the closer situation, Bianco said it will be a combination of guys, at least to start the season, similar to last season.

More from Bianco: "At the beginning, we'll go with a handful of guys and see if somebody emerges. Last year, we tried to force that a little bit. I think that guy has to just emerge. If that's the case after a certain period of time, if there's one guy we are better if he's pitching at the end of the game, then certainly we will do that. 

"We have shown an ability to do that in the past, when you look back at guys like Brett Huber, Jake Morgan, Scott Bittle or Stephen Head. If not, you can certainly win the other way, where you put the best guy out there on that particular day, much like we did last year, especially at the end of the year."

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    Tiffany J. Moore said:

    This is amazing with what he have done so far! Hope that he'll achieve more in the future!

    in post Evan Engram Hauls in Midseason Accolades

    Fiftyyears fan said:

    How can you have five straight top 25 recruiting classes and look as bad as Ole Miss has this year. Easy lack of coaching fundamentals. Look at Mason at Vandy, nothing but 2 and 3 star recruits out of high school and he developers players that want to win. Hugh freeze has 3, 4 & 5 recruits and he expects them to win because of what they were in High School. Mr. Freeze you have not been teaching the fundamentals of football or winning in life. Mr. Freeze you have quit on your players because you have some false expectations of what they are instead of what you can develop in them. Either do your job or quit. Oh yea, please quit running your smoke and mirrors offense, everyone has figured it out. Run a physical offense that can open up holes for your running backs and then your pass attack want require 12 are 14 four and five star receivers. Mr. Freeze you have problems and you need to know that you are not smarter than the rest of the coaches in the SEC.

    in post Rebels Unable to Send Senior Class Out on a High Note

    Karen Holden said:

    Not every pass can be caught. Too low, too short whatever. Not every Kelly pass is perfect. Records were broken by receivers also. But they sre not going to catch every ball thrown. The loss to Auburn was not one players fault. You win or lose as a team.

    in post Late Mistake Spoils Chad Kelly's Historic Performance

    Trent browning said:

    Hey I was just wandering if these are the only 2 olemiss players signing. If there are more signing please respond to me ASAP. Also wondering if neil everett will sign any autographs. Thank you very much

    in post Heisman House Tour Heads to Oxford for Ole Miss-Georgia

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    Jamie laverty said:

    Bulmer I love you and ole Miss

    in post Fast Runner From Down Under

    Sharon Hamlin said:

    Hi! Really Bulmer is very fantastic & dedicated in his job. Really outstanding & well done... :-)

    in post Fast Runner From Down Under

    Sharon Hamlin said:

    Hi! Really motivating post & outstanding job did Bulmer .Loved it... :-)

    in post Fast Runner From Down Under