Practice Report: Rebs have productive practice

Bloody Tuesday. That's what junior wide receiver Mike Espy called today's Ole Miss football practice. As a matter of fact, that's the term given to the Tuesday practice of each game week. From Get Better Monday on to Bloody Tuesday. And this one was gameweek Tuesday No. 1 for the 2004 season.

"Yep that's what we call it around here – Bloody Tuesday," Espy said. "It was a good practice. I thought our focus was there. I thought the coaches ran us good. We're starting to get our legs back getting ready for Memphis. I thought the concentration, focus, and execution were there today."

Espy said he is ready to play somebody other then his teammates.

"To tell you the truth, I'm tired of practicing," said Espy, who will also return punts. "I've been ready to get on that field and play for a while. We've been thinking about this game ever since Oklahoma State. Actually we've been thinking about this game ever since we played ‘em last year. Over the preseason the offense has improved a lot. There's been a tremendous improvement for the quarterbacks and the receivers and all the positions. I know we're connecting better than we were initially. We're seeing things better and we're more on the same page. I think we have a chance to be something special."

Coach David Cutcliffe said today's practice in shorts and shoulder pads, which was basically the end of major hitting for this gameweek, was productive.

"We had good work and rehearsed a lot of situations. We got a lot of different situations looked at. We still worked a lot of good against good. It's probably the last contact work we will get this week."

Cutcliffe said the injury situation appears to be somewhat better, especially for those who are back now that might have missed work earlier this preseason.

"I thought everybody who was out there looked good. Brandon Jacobs looks like he's going to be able to play. Kerry Johnson looks like he's going to be able to play. Andrew Wicker looks good, and certainly Lorenzo Townsend looks full speed right now. Taye Biddle (wart removed from his thumb) is limited right now with a hand. Hopefully it will get better as the week goes on. It's kinda day to day with him. Daniel Booth is still a ways away as far as I know. He worked inside conditioning and rehabbing. We're just taking that day to day. He's a veteran player. If he gets ready he might be available for duty. But he looks questionable."

Also Cory Robinson already with a hamstring problem hurt his knee Monday, practiced today, but was very limited.

The Rebels went for an hour and 45 minutes in sunny, blue sky conditions of about 85 degrees. The kicking game got the attention early as the Rebels worked on field goal kicking, punting, and punt return. The coaches like the crispness and effectiveness of special teams today.

The middle portion of practice was devoted to dividing up into positions and working on some drills with individual coaches, followed by some short passing work with all three quarterbacks getting some snaps as the scouts depicted the Memphis defensive sets.

Following that, the Rebs continued to work on Memphis formations. At one point it appeared defensively that true freshman Corey Mills was working at No. 2 left defensive end.

At the end of the workout, the Rebels worked on kickoffs and kickoff returns with the special teams, while the remainder of the team did some conditioning and running.

After the practice was finished, the receivers stayed around and caught some passes from the JUGS receiving machine. For those who don't know, it's similar to the pitching machine used for baseball, only it is set up for football passing/receiving drills.

Senior linebacker Rob Robertson said today's practice was another solid workout as gameweek heads toward Memphis.

"We're starting to get a better feel for them as far as recognizing their type of formations and different checks and stuff that we have that just take some time to click," Robertson said. "We've been working really since January for the opener, so it's finally here. I feel good about where the defense is right now. Athletically we have the ability to be better than last year. One of the things we got better at last year was not busting assignments. That's something we have to start out doing better this year, or it's just going to be like last year. Everybody has to do their jobs, and we'll be fine."

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