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Chad Kelly expects solid week of practice to benefit No. 23 Ole Miss in Magnolia Bowl

Chad Kelly expects solid week of practice to benefit No. 23 Ole Miss in Magnolia Bowl
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Chad Kelly drops back to pass against Arkansas. (Photo credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics)

OXFORD, Miss. – The Rebels find themselves sitting at 3-3 heading into Saturday’s contest against an energized LSU team. Earlier this week, Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly reiterated just how much he hates to lose a football game, emphasizing how competitive he and his teammates are.

The best way for Kelly to keep No. 23 Ole Miss (1-2 in Southeastern Conference) motivated to get back into the win column is to make sure everyone executes the game plan effectively. The senior signal-caller told reporters this week that having a solid week of practice is a critical part of the preparation for No. 25 LSU (4-2, 2-1).

For us to be able to get over the hump, we have to work even harder. The little things matter, even in practice. If I throw a ball, hey let’s roll it again, let’s get it right. We all have to be on the same page. We have to look ourselves in the mirror and get better.

Against Arkansas last Saturday, the Rebels’ offense did not appear to flow as it had in recent games. Ole Miss entered the contest averaging 333.4 passing yards per game but finished with 235 yards through the air. It certainly wasn’t a lack of effort on the part of the offense. It appeared there was simply miscommunication, at times, between Kelly and some of his wide receivers.

A productive week of practice should go a long way towards helping iron out those mistakes. On Wednesday, Coach Freeze assessed the team’s practices thus far:

Good. Had some good days. Impressed with the energy and desire to get better. I think we’ve gone some good on good both days, which has really been physical and helped us. We know this is going to be an extremely physical game, and you better practice like it. We’ve had two good days.

Hugh Freeze on practices before LSU game

Kelly confident in talented receiving corps 

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Engram tallied 111 receiving yards and one TD vs. Arkansas (Photo credit: Dan Anderson, The Rebel Walk)

In the game against Arkansas, Kelly hit six different receivers.  Tight end Evan Engram led the team with 111 receiving yards and one TD on seven catches.

Kelly, who has thrown a TD pass in 19 straight games, tied for fifth-longest active streak in the nation, knows it’s important for his receiving corps to stay focused and confident.

Well, first you can’t get down on them; you have to keep coming back to them. You have to have confidence to throw to them. Like I said, I got plenty of confidence in those guys. Those guys make those catches every single day with their eyes closed. We all have a bad game. I had a bad game. I think we have to get better every single day in practice. The way you practice is the way you play, I truly believe that.

Chad Kelly 

Something new to experience

Though Kelly has never played inside Tiger Stadium, he is ready to participate in the rivalry that has been ongoing since 1894.

It’s going to be exciting, it’s going to be loud. I can’t wait to get down there. I have a couple of family members going to the game, so I have to put on a show for them and Ole Miss. I’m ready to get down there, and it’s going to be a fun environment. And it’s going to be a great game and a great team we’re playing.

Chad Kelly on playing in Tiger Stadium 

Game info

Ole Miss and LSU kick off at 8:00 p.m. (CT) in Baton Rouge on Saturday. The game will be televised by ESPN.

(Feature image credit: Dan Anderson, The Rebel Walk)

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 Rivals.com. 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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