There's still been no official word on Laremy Tunsil's status, but the report ESPN released late Wednesday -- the one that claims Tunsil could end up missing a minimum of four games because he kept a loaner car a few days too long -- doesn't engender much optimism that he'll be on the field Saturday night in Tuscaloosa.
If the ongoing NCAA investigation does end up benching Tunsil for a third week in a row, it's denying every college football fan not wearing crimson or maroon the chance to enjoy the best offensive lineman in the country going up against the best defensive front around. All because a guy that's spending 40-plus unpaid hours a week delivering a service that he could otherwise be marketing for millions of dollars is getting screwed over for a few hundred bucks and an arbitrary rule set by a bunch of wrinkled hypocrites.
But I've spent too much time on a soapbox. Believe it or not, there have been several important Ole Miss-Bama developments this week that have nothing to do with Laremy Tunsil. Here they are:
1. Nick Saban still hasn't committed to a QB.
Jake Coker started the first two games but had a rough go of it last week against Middle Tennessee State (11-of-22 passing for 122 yards, a pick and no TDs), though Cooper Bateman didn't look much better. Saban suggested in his presser that he could once again play both this Saturday. Coker will get the start, but he could have a short leash if he can't move the offense.
2. Tee Shepard has to sit out the first half.
Shepard was flagged for targeting against Fresno State, which means he'll have to watch the first 30 minutes against Bama from the sideline. That's not an earth-shattering thing since Kendarius Webster has technically started each of the first two games at that cornerback spot, but Shepard's size and range could be important in defending all of the screens that Bama likes to throw.
3. C.J. Hampton is suiting up for Ole Miss.
On the positive side, Freeze confirmed earlier this week that Hampton, who was suspended for the first two games, will be available to back up Trae Elston at free safety. Hampton's not a starter, but you gotta have depth to take down Alabama.
4. Robert Conyers is banged up, but he's playing.
Freeze said that his starting center, who missed the second half of Fresno after straining his knee, will "give it a go" against Bama. That's not the most heartening endorsement of his health, but Freeze also said Conyers could have played the second half last Saturday if he'd needed too.