Reps And More Reps

After a Thursday night practice consisting mostly of conditioning and weights, the Rebels were back in full swing at Friday's midday workout. They ran the gamut of their gameplan for the Pitt Panthers in January 5th's Compass Bowl.

Learning the ins and outs of a gameplan is critical to a team's success.

If repetition matters, which it does, the Rebels took a giant step forward in Friday's practice in getting ready for the Pittsburgh Panthers in the January 5th Compass Bowl in Birmingham.

Simply, the Rebs repped and repped and repped some more all the things they want to do, offensively and defensively, against the Panthers.

"It was a productive day," said Coach Hugh Freeze. "We got in a lot. Last night, we concentrated more on indo (individual drills), conditioning and weights after the break and today we got into the meat of things with our game preparations. It was a good start."

Naturally, after he sat out for over two weeks resting his injured shoulder, Quarterback Bo Wallace was the focus of attention.

Wallace threw some last night and a bunch on Friday and Freeze said there is some natural and anticipated soreness from not thrown as long as he did.

"His shoulder is the same it's been. I don't think anyone would look at him and say he's 100%, but he's been that way for 10 weeks or so. He'll be ready," Freeze said. "Sitting out a couple of weeks makes it a little sorer initially when he starts back, and we threw a lot of balls since last night, but he will be fine."

Ferbia Allen
Chuck Rounsaville

While Wallace was out, Barry Brunetti worked with the number one offense at QB.

"Barry did a lot of things well, but he was inaccurate at times too," Hugh assessed. "We are not afraid to play him. He will see action no matter how well Bo plays because he deserves it.

"When spring comes around, there will still be an open competition for the job. I don't want anyone getting satisfied with their position. We are still a young team and every day you have to earn your job."

As has been reported, TE Jamal Mosley is academically ineligible for the bowl game, which leaves the Rebels with seniors Ferbia Allen, coming off a knee injury, and H.R. Greer to handle the TE chores.

"We wish Jamal the best, but we are thrilled we have Ferbia back. He is such a great kid. He and H.R. have different skill sets and we will adjust things accordingly to play to their strengths," Freeze said. "Ferbia is not 100% from a speed perspective, but he's not in any pain and will be fine.

"I think Ferbia will go every snap he can."

Random Notes:

* WR Vincent Sanders sat out Friday's practice after having a tooth pulled. In his absence, freshman Cody Core took up the Vincent's slack during the practice. "Vincent will be fine. We are just letting the anesthesia get out of his system," said Freeze. "I expect him back tomorrow."

* Freeze said all but LB Aaron Garbutt have returned to the fold after the six-day Christmas break. "Aaron had some flight issues coming back from California due to weather, but he's on his way now. Everyone handled everything maturely, the way we had hoped," he noted.

* Freeze believes DT Gilbert Pena has a chance to play on the next level, as well as TB Randall Mackey. "A lot of NFL teams are going to the 3-man front and they need a two-gap guy and I think Gilbert can do that. I am excited for him and Randall and a couple of more who could get a shot on that level."

Randall Mackey
File Photo

* When practice broke for the Christmas break, freshman TB Jaylen Walton and senior DT Uriah Grant were both sidelined with groin injuries. Both were back at practice today and appeared to be full speed.

* WR Collins Moore recently had the "other" shoulder fixed after a season-sending shoulder separation. His left shoulder was surgically repaired in October and is recovering nicely. Collins will not participate in spring training, but will be ready for fall camp in August.

* While Freeze said Ferbia Allen is not up to par speed-wise, it was obvious he is moving much better now than he was before the break. Before the break, he looked unsure and hesitant. Today, he seemed to "turn loose" more, which is a good sign. Often times, it's not the knee that is not working correctly on a return after injury, it's the mind and the confidence factor. Allen seems to have regained some of his since the last time we watched him.

* You can always play the "what if?" game during a player's career, but as we watched DE E.J. Epperson register a QB sack in Friday's practice, we had to wonder: what if he had been at defensive end his whole career? He's got the speed of a fullback or TE and weighs 260 pounds. It took him most of his senior year to learn the nuances of the DE slot, but he ended the year with a bang - two QB sacks against Mississippi State. What if. . .

* D.T. Shackelford continued his routine of going through individual drills, but not participating in team drills. He has his rehabbing knee braced up and appears to be moving very well. When individual drills are over, D.T. continues doing drills to strengthen the knee during practice. Today, he was pushing a weighted blocking sled.

* S Kyle Horine, who also plays on special teams, missed Friday's workout with a flu-like illness. He should return soon.

* Revised Practice Schedule: The Rebels will practice tomorrow morning, take Sunday off, practice Monday, travel to Birmingham on Tuesday, practice Wednesday and Thursday at Birmingham Southern University and then have a Friday walk through at the team hotel. The game is next Saturday at noon.

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