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Rebels prepared for the unexpected when facing Seminoles’ talented QB Francois

Rebels prepared for the unexpected when facing Seminoles’ talented QB Francois

OXFORD, MS – As Ole Miss Football head coach Hugh Freeze and his staff prepare to stop Florida State’s Dalvin Cook, the Rebels also have to prepare for someone they haven’t seen before—Seminoles’ redshirt freshman quarterback Deondre Francois.

Ole Miss doesn’t have a lot of info to go on when it comes to Francois, who on August 27 was named the starting quarterback for fourth-ranked FSU. A little over two weeks ago, redshirt senior quarterback Sean Maguire, who many thought had the inside track on the starting job, suffered a stress fracture in his right foot during fall camp. That injury opened up Francois’ big opportunity in Monday’s top-25 game against the 11th-ranked Rebels.

Francois, who went to Orlando Olympia High and finished his high school career at Bradenton’s IMG Academy, will lead a Seminoles’ offense that averaged 31.7 points, 168.2 rushing yards and 255.8 passing yards per game in 2015. His performance in FSU’s spring game – completing 20 of 33 passes for 246 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions – gave Seminoles’ head coach Jimbo Fisher the utmost confidence in the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Florida native.

During Francois’ recruitment, Freeze recalls Francois being “a tremendous athlete with a big arm.”

“I think he’s got the skill set to be very talented,” Freeze said during Wednesday’s SEC’s Football Coaches Weekly Teleconference.

You don’t know how kids are going to perform when they get in live situations–like you’re going to be in Monday night–when they’re just true freshmen. There’s a bit of an unknown there. I’m quite confident that Jimbo (Fisher) is not going to change who they are. You know, they are going to do the same things, but he’s (Francois) a bit different. You just can’t rush wildly at him for sure either. He can hurt you with his legs or his arm. So, it adds a little bit of a mystery into the preparation. But I don’t know they will venture too far from who they are, especially when they have No. 4 (Dalvin Cook) back there.

Hugh Freeze on FSU QB Deondre Francois

Update on DE Fadol Brown

Ole Miss senior defensive end Fadol Brown, who practiced with the team last Thursday after receiving treatment on his foot last week, should get 20-30 snaps against FSU.

Brown, who made eight starts at defensive end, played in 11 of the Rebels’ 13 games last season (missing the LSU and Sugar Bowl games) but still managed to finish the 2015 season with 32 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss and one sack.

“He looked good today,” Freeze said after last week’s practice. “I’m pretty confident he’ll give it a go.”

Other than Brown, Freeze has been impressed with senior defensive end John Youngblood, Marquis Haynes and Victor Evans and is confident with each guy at the position. “I think we will be fine there,” Freeze said at Monday’s press conference.

Season-opening success

Ole Miss is 90-26-5 in season openers and has taken 17 of the last 20. The Rebels are 4-0 in season openers under Freeze. This is the second meeting between Ole Miss and the Seminoles. The Rebels won 33-0 in Oxford, Mississippi in 1961.

Ole Miss has a 10-12 record against top-25 teams under Freeze, including a 3-3 mark against top-five opponents. The Rebels are playing a football game in Orlando, Florida for the first time in program history.


Date: Monday, Sept. 5, 2016
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Orlando, Fla.
Venue: Camping World Stadium (70,000)
Live Stats:
Live Audio:

About The Author

Courtney Smith

Courtney is from Memphis and received his Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis in May of 2014. He began his journalism career covering the Memphis Tigers Men's basketball team, which landed him an intern position on 730 Yahoo Sports Radio and a position with A freelance writer for the Associated Press, Courtney is also a member of The Rebel Walk team and reports regularly on Ole Miss football and basketball. Courtney, the father of a six-year old girl named Soniyah, prefers to cover NCAA basketball and football, but is happy to report on any other sport that comes his way.

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