Practice Report: Rebs hold situational scrimmage

The Ole Miss Rebels had some limited live work in full gear this morning under blue skies, slightly breezy and not so humid conditions with temperatures around 80 degrees when things wrapped up. Coach David Cutcliffe said he was pleased with the just over two-hour session, the first of two practices today for the Rebels.

"We had some limited live work which I thought was really good," Cutcliffe said. "You can tell we're not ready to play a game yet, which is why we do these kinds of things. We're kinda gearing this practice and this afternoon's and tomorrow's and Wednesday morning's toward a bigger scrimmage on Wednesday afternoon. Today we worked some situations, some goal-line situations, some red zone situations. I thought the defense did a good job keeping the offense out of the end zone, although we blew two opportunities for touchdowns. All in all, I thought the work was good. As I said, we're building this toward having our first game-type scrimmage Wednesday afternoon. Yesterday was more mental with a lot of meetings. We had a great walk-through last night. Yesterday's work was really good. We just didn't take much out of them physically. That probably helped them be more ready to go this morning."


Referees were used for the first time this preseason in this morning's activities. Offensive Coordinator John Latina gave the Winning Edge talk today and spoke of being fundamentally sound, which leads to being successful. There was a little chatter about Memphis and being focused on the Tigers throughout the squad at this point as well.

Freshman DE Corey Mills was back on the field today. The 6-foot-4, 260-pounder had a sack of quarterback Robert Lane in the situational scrimmage this morning that received a few "good job, Corey" from coaches and teammates.

Out of action today were injured players WR Mario Hill (hamstring), CB Travis Johnson (groin pull), RB Lorenzo Townsend (headache), S Tavarus Horne (aggravated knee), LB Dontae Reed (hamstring), WR Kerry Johnson (hamstring), and DE Cory Robinson (hamstring). DT Daniel Booth missed most of today with calf cramps but ran off the field at the end of practice and appeared fine. Freshman LB Reterio Brown was not at practice because he was attending a funeral.

RDE Corvelli Haynes has been out of team work with a pulled groin. Today he worked with the No. 2s and was feeling better. Viciente DeLoach was at No. 1 RDE today. Dedrick Clark had been working there at No. 1 but moved to the left side today.

When the Rebs went to 6 DBs – the dime package – today, B Brown was the additional guy.

In the early part of practice, Cody Ridgeway had some good punts as did backup Wesley Bryan. B Brown and Matt Pierce were receiving punts today because Mike Espy was working with the No. 1 punt coverage team as an outside gunner.

During the "Oklahoma drills" this morning, the point of attack at the line of scrimmage seemed more crisp and intense today by the defense. The offense had been dominating this drill in previous practices, but not today.

In the scrimmage portion of today's drills, CB Terrell Jackson at No. 2 LCB with Travis Johnson out, had an interception of an Ethan Flatt pass. Larry Kendrick also had a pick of a Flatt pass which bounced high into the air off a receiver's hands as Kendrick awaited to intercept it.

TE Robert Hough made a nice catch in double coverage of a Flatt pass for a 15-yard gain.

DL McKinley Boykin was with the No. 1s today. He had been sharing snaps with Andrew Wicker there as they were co-No. 1s.

LB Patrick Willis got a sack on a blitz of Flatt and the No. 2 offense.

DL Chris Herring recovered a fumble of a bad snap out of the shotgun.

WR Frank Clayton made a nice out catch of a Robert Lane pass with the No. 3 offense vs. the No. 3 defense.

Michael Bozeman took all the snaps at RDT today.

RB Alan Abrams broke a nice, long run with the 2s against the 2s.

QB Robert Lane also took some snaps with the No. 2 offense today.

WR Bill Flowers had a couple of nice catches during the scrimmage including one from Spurlock where Spurlock looked to pass, started to run, pulled up and hit Flowers. Unfortunately that one was called just out of bounds along the sideline, but it showed both the ability of Spurlock to make things happen, and that Flowers will be a key receiver, especially on needed possession situations.

Senior PK Jonathan Nichols made a field goal of 23 yards, while backup Matt Hinkle (RS Freshman) made one of 33 yards.

RB Vashon Pearson scored on a 1-yard rush up the middle, and RB Marvin Vaughan had a couple of nice runs this morning.

This afternoon's practice begins at 6:45 p.m.

Eric Rice says he's glad to be back 100 percent healthy now. The senior tight end says he expects this year to be his best. "It's a blessing to be out here and be healthy and able to do things. I've just been trying to work back and get back to good form. I'm just trying to get better everyday."

Rice has had ankle and knee problems throughout his career.

"I'm just trying to get back into the speed of the game, getting used to making cuts again on my ankle, and just making moves and getting confortable with that," he said.

Rice said he believes he and the other two tight ends – junior Jimmy Brooks and sophomore Lawrence Lilly – form a nice trio at the position.

"It's a strong position," he said. "When I was hurt last year, Lawrence and Jimmy stepped in and got a lot of game experience under their belt. That will make our position just that much better. Add Robert Hough (redshirt freshman) into the mix with his speed and his strength and skills, then we're obviously pretty deep at tight end."

With Micheal Spurlock taking over for Eli Manning at quarterback, Rice says the tight end position is even more diverse.

"We have more responsibilities now," he said. "We can line up at fullback sometimes and go in motion. There are more naked passes because Spurlock can roll out and get outside the pocket. He has the option to run or dump it off to us. It's a little more diverse with a quarterback who runs more."

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