Different Look

Is Tee Shepard staying or leaving? How long will Laremy Tunsil, C.J. Johnson, Tony Conner, Justin Bell, Javon Patterson, Robert Conyers, et al, be out? Issac Gross and Herbert Moore? No hope for a return this year. Tuesday in practice, the Rebs took on a different look.

Two pieces of an ever-evolving puzzle popped up early this week.

CB Tee Shepard considering quitting the team, then changing his mind and then not showing up for Tuesday's practice was somewhat of a bombshell and adding to the saga of the 2015 season.

Then it was learned starting MLB C.J. Johnson, a leader and a team captain, sustained a torn lateral meniscus which required surgery Tuesday. The prognosis is "4-6 weeks" out.

As if that wasn't enough drama for one day for the Rebels, coming off a disappointing 38-10 loss at the hands of Florida in Gainesville, several players were missing from practice besides Johnson, Shepard and the known wounded.

OG Javon Patterson (ankle), C Robert Conyers (knee) and OG Justin Bell (ankle) were also absent. Their injuries, we have been told, are not major, but any missed practices this time of year are crucial.

Obviously, the winless New Mexico State Aggies should provide an opportunity salve on some hurt feelings, for everyone to play and for some to rest/heal, but it would certainly be better to have everyone out for practice correcting the issues from the Florida game.

Regardless, the Rebs have a different look than they did in August.

Random Notes:

* On Tee - right before Tuesday's practice, we were told in no uncertain terms that Shepard had told the coaches he did not want to quit the team, but then he did not dress for practice. We don't know if Tee was told to sit it out for a day or what, but it makes this puzzle even more perplexing. We'll know soon enough the final verdict, but it has been a back-and-forth drama to this point.

* Without Tee at practice, it looks as if CB Coach Jason Jones is looking to take the redshirt off of freshman Cameron Ordway. He was working with the top defense at corner with Tony Bridges, Ken Webster, Kailo Moore and Carlos Davis. If Tee does indeed return, that would probably be shelved and the redshirt would stay on Ordway.

* Without C.J. Johnson, the middle linebacker slot will be manned by JUCO transfers Terry Caldwell and Christian Russell. Caldwell will most likely get the start. Is there an issue with not having Johnson call the defensive signals? No. OLBs Denzel Nkemdiche and DeMarquis Gates had been calling the signals until two games ago and will take up that chore once again. By the way, it was mentioned by us a few weeks ago that Gates was freelancing too much, thus limited playing time at the time. Coaches are now telling us he is playing within the system, is making more plays and consequently will get more playing time.

* With the announcement Monday that Rover Mike Hilton will move to Husky until Tony Conner returns, that created a musical chairs scenario in the secondary. Now, Trae Elston will go back to Rover from free safety. Trae started at Rover for three years so that will be in good hands. He will be backed up by Zedrick Woods and C.J. Moore. Woods was moved to Husky after Conner's injury, but will be moved back now as A.J. Moore will back up Hilton at Husky. At FS, C.J. Hampton will get his first start and will be backed up by Chief Brown and Trae. "We're going to get this right with who we have available," noted DC Dave Wommack.

* WR Quincy Adeboyejo got lit up by a Florida safety after a catch over the middle Saturday night. At first, it was thought he may have cracked ribs, but it ended up he was just sore for a day or two. Quincy was dressed out for Tuesday's practice.

* TB Jaylen Walton has a bum ankle, but he was dressed out for practice Tuesday. His work was limited, but he was out there ready and willing.

* Without Conyers, Patterson and Bell at practice, the first team offensive line was, from left to right, Fahn Cooper, Aaron Morris, Ben Still, Rod Taylor and Sean Rawlings. That will be the fourth different starting lineup in six games on the OL if it holds all week.


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