Practice Report: Light workout after scrimmage

After a grueling scrimmage and three straight weeks of non-stop practice, the Rebs needed a light day today and it was provided by Coach David Cutlcliffe.

"We're kind of beat up and tired right now. We decided to use today to correct mistakes from yesterday's scrimmage and fine-tune some things," Cut noted. "We had a full contact practice scheduled, but we opted for shoulder pads and helmets and we cut out two periods of work to get them off the field quicker. We need all the workm we can get, but you have to be smart about these things. Fresh legs going into the season is as important as anything.

"Tomorrow morning, we will get the pads back on and have a physical practice, but tomorrow night we will have a walk-through in preparation for Saturday's big scrimmage.

Cutcliffe had some thoughts on yesterday's scrimmage after reviewing the tape today.

"I thought we were a little leg weary, but our effort was pretty good. I was watching for that closely and was pleased. We can certainly execute better in all phases of the game, and in particular the passing game, but overall it was a good start. We need to tackle better, but I'm hoping that's an indication of our running backs improving," he explained. "Micheal Spurlock didn't have great passing numbers, but he ran the offense very well, he executed the running game, we didn't fumble and bumble around out there, he ran the ball himself very well and he created a lot of opportunities for big plays, which is what I expect from a guy who has been in the system going into his fourth year. Overall, I have no major complaints other than to say we have to get better. I think we have that opportunity in front of us."


* Offensive Coordinator John Latina was also asked to sum up the scrimmage after he had time to study the film.

"Our effort was good, especially from the veterans, which you expect. Our twos are still trying to grasp a total understanding of the system. We need for them to show some improvement in execution. They looked a little hesitant - I believe they are thinking too much. We had some nice plays being made, but we had an opportunity for several more big plays," Lats noted. "The big scrimmage Saturday is critical. That practice will go a long way in determining our depth and the amount of playing time they will get in the early part of the season. They need to have a big day.

"I thought Micheal's numbers (7-22 passing) were deceiving. You not only have to throw the ball well, but you have to catch it. We had five drops by my grading. But I'm not blaming anyone. With Kerry Johnson, Mario Hill and Cameron Myers out, our WRs are getting too many reps in practice and are tired right now. They need some help so they can get their legs back under them and get their concentration level peaked again. I think we showed big play ability yesterday, but we didn't make as many big plays as we could have. When Micheal gets more experience, he will execute those plays when he draws the defense up to cover him running the ball. Yesterday he missed a few, but we were close to having a light show out there. He's going to be a special player, I believe."

* The injury report is as follows: OG DOug Buckles - mild concussion from scrimmage - missed today; WR Kerry Johnson - still out with a hamstring pull; WR Mario Hill - hamstring, came back today on a limited basis; DE Cory Robinson - hamstring, came back today on a limited basis; DT Andrew Wicker - toe injury, out today; S Tavarus Horne - out with knee problems; WR Cameron Myers - out with tendonitis in his surgically repaired knee; OG Marcus Johnson - out today attending a funeral; LB Shawn Johnson - out with mild concussion; FB Rick Razzano - back in yellow today after sitting out a few days with a concussion; DT Joe Williams - out with a torn ACL that happened last week. . . Today, S B. Brown had an attack of asthma and had to leave practice.

* Former Ole Miss QB Tom Luke - now on the Rebel staff - said he liked what he saw out of Spurlock in the scrimmage yesterday. "Not many players can create opportunities for big plays like he can. Other QBs only dream about that kind of ability - the ability to go all the way with the run or throw it when the defense comes up to stop him from running," Luke noted. "Yesterday was the first time he's had any live work since spring. Once he gets used to having folks chase him around again, he will light the scoreboard up.

* The Director of Scouting for the Tampa Bay Bucs, Ruston Webster, was at practice today. Ruston, an Ole Miss grad, was here to take a closer look at Marcus Johnson and Doug Buckles, but neither practiced today. "From what I have seen, Marcus could be drafted on the first day. Doug will be drafted as well, in my opinion," Webster noted. "Marcus is what you are looking for and he's versatile enough to play guard or tackle. I envision him as a right tackle and everyone knows how valuable they are. I also know he's a great kid, which doesn't hurt his chances of being a high pick."

* On the lighter side, how about this for a partial list of Rebel nicknames: Charles Clark (Double C), Eric Oliver (E.O.), Kelvin Robinson (K-Rob), Patrick Willis (P-Willie), Trumaine McBride (T-Mac), Bryant Thomas (B.T.), Kareem Moore (K-Mo), Rick Razzano (Razz), Lorenzo Townsend (L.T.), Vashon Pearson (Fly), garry Pack (G.P. or Packman), Brandon Thomas (Little Ken); Larry Kendrick (L.K.), Iroko Ayodele (Roco Loco), Bill Flowers (Wild Bill), Jayme Mitchell (Long Dollar), Lawrence Lilly (L.L.), Alan Abrams (Double A), Maurice Miller (Big Mo), Frank Clayton (Scrump), Anthony Hobgood (Hob), Jamarca Sanford (Marcus), Gremico McSwain (Mico), Retrio Brown (Rio), Dustin Mouzon (D-Moo), Doug Buckles (Buck), Mike Espy (ESPN 3), Travis Johnson (T-Buck), Taye Biddle (Jack Rabbit), Mrio Hill (Thrill Hill), Micheal Spurlock (Smoke). . . Kids will be kids!

* In the special teams segment of practice today, the Rebs worked on punt return and punt coverage. Guess who was catching punts besides the norm of Mike Espy and B. Brown? Larry Kendrick and Mico McSwain. They both are smooth catching punts and exhibit good hands, and both have excellent speed.

* With Cory Robinson partially back, it didn't take long for him to get reps with the number one defense at RE. He split time with Corvelli Haynes, but it's clear who the coaches want out there the first snap of the season - the senior, Robinson.

* With Marcus Johnson and Doug Buckles, the starting OGs, out today, Tony Bonds and Ryan Jones took their place and got number one reps. We were surprised Bonds got the reps at LG ahead of James McCoy, the number two LG on the depth chart, but Tony has more experience and has done well this fall camp.

* The Reb coaches have full faith in the passing game, but after yesterday's numbers were studied, a lot of emphasis was put on the passing game - both throwing and catching - today. The wide receivers did every drill known to football, as did the QBs. In pass scale and team drills, the QBs looked sharp. Normally those are drills with throwing in the pocket, but today the coaches had Spurlock move around and throw on the run, where he had some difficulty yesterday. Expect improvement in Saturday's scrimmage - he did well today.

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