After Hugh Freeze suggested two weeks ago that Fadol Brown’s injury might be “long term,” a lot of people (myself included) assumed we might not see him again this season. After all, the pesky stress fracture Brown suffered last November has been lingering for about 10 months, and no amount of treatment—including his trip to Texas right before the opener against Florida State—has solved the problem.
Stop me when you’ve heard this before, but Freeze said after practice on Tuesday that his starting strong-side defensive end might be ready for another test run after Ole Miss comes out of its bye week.
"We're hopeful,” Freeze told The Ole Miss Spirit. “The latest procedure they did, they felt like Arkansas week would be the week he should try it. So we're hopeful he'll try it next week."
That procedure explains why Brown hasn’t played since Week 2 against Wofford and why he was wearing a walking boot during the Alabama game. The Rebels draw road games against Arkansas and LSU coming out of the bye week, so getting their hulking run-stopper back in time to face those downhill attacks would be huge.
Brown could play a critical role in setting the edge and funneling those dangerous running backs into D.J. Jones, Breeland Speaks and the rest of Ole Miss’ sturdy interior. Lack of containment, particularly against mobile quarterbacks, is one reason why the Rebels rank 56th in rushing S&P+ and 94th in rushing success rate (though the linebackers’ consistent struggles to plug running lanes is probably more to blame).
Of course, Freeze’s optimism that Brown might be able to test the foot during practice is far from a guarantee that he’ll actually see the field in Fayetteville. Stay tuned.