Ole Miss

It's gutcheck time for Ole Miss after Memphis loss

 Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze, left, argues a call Saturday in Memphis, Tenn. Memphis upset No. 13 Ole Miss 37-24.
MARK HUMPHREY/ASSOCIATED PRESS Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze, left, argues a call Saturday in Memphis, Tenn. Memphis upset No. 13 Ole Miss 37-24. AP

OXFORD - Ole Miss safety Trae Elston questioned the Rebels' heart in the aftermath of a disappointing loss at Memphis last Saturday.

With No. 24 Ole Miss bracing for a five-game stretch against the SEC West - starting Saturday night against No. 15 Texas A&M - Rebels coach Hugh Freeze says there will be passion in the preparation.

He hopes individual players and coaches will dig deep and answer tough questions to be motivated against the Aggies.

"I assure you we will do like we've done every week and prepare them to have that. Then it's an individual decision," he said. "I will do everything in my power to make sure that occurs."

Freeze said he saw passion from individuals in Sunday's team meetings.

After an early 14-0 lead at Memphis the Rebels were outscored 37-10 the rest of the way.

Ole Miss averaged less than 2 yards per rush and defensively struggled to disrupt Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch who completed 73.5 percent of 53 pass attempts, many of them on deep out routes. Tackling Lynch's athletic teammates was also a problem.

"A lot of people on our team, we don't have our heart into it," Elston said afterward.

Texas A&M will try to rebound from a difficult SEC home loss to Alabama which returned three Kyle Allen interceptions for touchdowns in an 18-point game.

Allen could also be limited by a shoulder issue.

After A&M the Rebels have Auburn, Arkansas, LSU and Mississippi State remaining with a Nov. 14 open date.

Freeze said he wants to see more enthusiasm from his defense in practice to return to the confidence it played with last season.

Justin Bell, Laquon Treadwell, C.J. Johnson and Elston were among players who addressed their teammates in Sunday's meeting.

"We have all looked ourselves in the mirror," tight end Evan Engram said. "Reality has set in with all of us, and we're ready to attack this week."

Nkemdiche, others with concussions: Robert Nkemdiche will enter concussion protocol this week, and he won't be alone.

Ole Miss' best defensive player sustained a concussion at Memphis Saturday when he carried the football, and his head banged against the turf as he was tackled.

Concussion protocol means a player goes through a series of tests during the week, and ultimately medical staff will determine whether he is fit to play.

Backup defensive lineman D.J. Jones sustained a concussion against New Mexico State and played one week later at Memphis.

"I know him really well. He loves to play the game, but I'm not in charge of those protocols and certainly don't want him to rush something. He's going to work hard to make sure he can play, but ultimately they get to clear him," Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said.

Safety Trae Elston, punter Will Gleeson and backup linebacker Tayler Polk will also go through concussion protocol this week.

Conyers done for the year: The knee injury sustained at Memphis by starting center Robert Conyers turned out to be a torn ACL leaving him out for the remainder of the season.

Conyers, a junior from Miami, had been held out the previous two games with a sprained right knee, but sustained the ACL tear in his left knee.