While fans are still, as evidenced by various message board content, are still lamenting the heartbreaking 35-31 loss to Auburn Saturday, the 7-2 Ole Miss Rebels got back in the saddle Tuesday with a full pad practice.
And while most Rebel followers are anticipating an easy game against the Presbyterian College Blue Hose, the Rebel coaches cannot afford to take anything for granted, especially after two straight losses.
Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack will be happy to remind them of the danger, on two fronts.
One, Wommack used to be the DC of Georgia Tech. They had a "pushover" game scheduled with Gardner-Webb, in the same league as Presbyterian. Tech lost their first and second team quarterbacks to injury and the Yellow Jackets had to block a late field goal to win 13-10 in a game they were heavily favored in.
Two, Wommack is bound to remind the Rebel defense that the last two games they have given up over 250 yards of rushing in each and the Auburn game was their worst effort of the year, giving up 31 points and over 500 yards of offense.
While this game should be a chance to empty the bench and get "everyone" playing time and experience, the approach will be as serious as any other game.
"We are practicing as hard as if we were playing Auburn or LSU or Alabama," said WR Quincy Adeboyejo. "We've still got a lot to do and a lot to play for, so we can't leave anything to chance."
* Due to the season-ending injury to Laquon Treadwell, Derrick Jones has been moved back to wide receiver from cornerback. Derrick started the year at corner, was moved to WR, moved back to corner and now he is back at wideout.
* Center Ben Still was praised for "gutting it out" the entire game against Auburn after not practicing all week because of a sprained MCL. Deserved praise. Still practiced Tuesday after a couple of days off and a couple of days of treatment. Tough youngster.
* As expected, SS Trae Elston (concussion), RB I'Tavius Mathers (concussion), LT Laremy Tunsil (bicep) and LG Aaron Morris (ankle) did not practice Tuesday.
* Without Tunsil and Morris, the first team offensive line looks like this: LT Fahn Cooper, who played the whole game there against Auburn; LG Roderick Taylor, the promising freshman; Center Ben Still; RG Justin Bell and RT Robert Conyers, who played there against the Tigers.
* Through the first six or seven games, the Rebels, considering the schedule, were fortunate in terms of the injury situation. Lately, however, that hasn't been the case, as you know. But what kind of toll has it taken? Look no further than the two safety slots. When Anthony Alford quit the team to pursue pro baseball opportunities, the depth took a major hit, but it was still doable. Now, Elston is out and Cody Prewitt is dinged up. Chief Brown is back, but he is obviously rusty. Freshman C.J. Hampton is coming along nicely, but he needs more seasoning. The result? Mike Hilton is having to play safety quite a bit and may have to the rest of the year. The trickle down is that the Rebel defense will be left with four corners since Jones was moved back to offense - Senquez Golson, Kendarius Webster, Cliff Coleman and Kailo Moore. And you will recall, corner was hit hard before the season started when Carlos Davis and Tee Shepard were lost for the season to injury. It doesn't take long for depth to disappear.
* TE Matt Brown broke his fibula earlier in the year. He was backing up Evan Engram in his role in the offense. Brown came back to practice Tuesday and has been cleared to play against Presbyterian.
* If things go according to plan, who are the coaches looking forward to seeing Saturday for evaluation purposes and to plan for the future? There are a bunch of them, but here are some of the key ones: TE Jeremy Liggins will be heavily in the Rebel gameplan this week. Freshman WR Markel Pack will be given a strong, strong look. Obviously, the two backup quarterbacks, Ryan Buchanan and DeVante Kincade, will get a lot of reps. TBs Jordan Wilkins, Mark Dodson and Eugene Brazley will get a bunch of totes. On the OL, Daronte Boudin, Chris Frigo, Christian Morris and Davian Johnson should get a lot of action . . On defense, the coaches want to take closer looks at the Moore twins, MLB DeMarquis Gates, Hampton, Tayler Polk and Christian Russell. . . Remember, this is all contingent on things going well.
Back In The Swing
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