Practice Report: Fine-tuning and polishing

The Thursday practice routine during the season rarely changes. Most of the hay is in the barn in terms of physical preparation. Thursday is reserved for a complete review - a rehearsal, if you will - of the gameplan for Saturday's game.

Ole Miss practiced in helmets and shorts today in a full rehearsal of their gameplan for the clash with Alabama in Tuscaloosa Saturday at 8 p.m.

The whole week, despite coming off a loss to Memphis, was upbeat and positive for the Rebs as they try to rebound from a disappointing start to the season.

"We put ourselves in a bad situation, but nobody is moping around," said Co-Captain Marcus Johnson. "I think we responded well this week. Everyone has put forth a good effort and we are prepared to play a tough ballgame. We are going to Tuscaloosa to win the game."

* Injury Update: OL James Campbell, who injured his neck in a scary incident yesterday, attended practice today, but did not dress out. He said all tests were negative and he will be fine. James said he has a headache, a concussion and a sore neck, but no permanent damage. He said he was blocking DT Chris Herring yesterday and got in an awkward position where he flipped over a nearby player and landed on the back of his head, taking the weight of his body on that area. For a few minutes he had trouble moving his left arm and legs, but the doctors said he pinched a nerve temporarily. He expects to be back at practice next week. . . OT Bobby Harris - sprained ankle - practiced today and appeared to be moving around pretty good. He was not in a yellow jersey today, which is good news. How much he will play Saturday has not been determined, but it appears he will try to give it a go. . . WR Kerry Johnson - broken hand - came back to practice today, but was limited. He says he wants to try to play Saturday, but he's not sure if the doctors, trainers and coaches will let him. A lot can happen in the next 48 hours. We'll see. . . DT Daniel Booth - pulled calf muscle - was unable to go again today. He dressed out and tested the leg, but was unable to push off it without pain. He is doubtful for Saturday. . . OL Maurice Miller - chest conjestion/asthma - returned to practice today after missing the past two days. . . FS B. Brown - calf muscle pull - tried to practice today, but could not go. His status for Saturday is uncertain.

* Former Rebel QB Romaro Miller attended practice today. He is currently the backup QB for the Toronto Argonauts behind former Kansas State star Micheal Bishop. Former Rebs John Avery and Antonious Bonner also play for the Argonauts. Romaro said he believes he is going to get a chance to play in the next couple of weeks.

* On the defensive side of the ball today, it appeared the coaches were working in LB Patrick Willis and S Larry Kendrick into the rotation more heavily than they were last week. Look for both to get quality snaps against Alabama and Kendrick may return some kickoffs as well.

* Even though he spent most of spring and half of August as the backup LDE, Brandon Jenkins has fallen behind true frosh Corey Mills on the depth chart to number three. We asked DE Coach Marion Hobby about the drop. "Brandon has not done anything wrong. Corey just edge him out. Corey is more natural because he's played there most of his career and has a better understanding of the position and how to react to different looks. Brandon kind of freelanced in high school and is still learning the position. He'll get there. Let's all remember that players progress at a different pace and that Brandon is just a redshirt freshman himself," Hobby noted. "Brandon will get more snaps this weekend, I think, because he had a pretty good week of practice, but Corey is doing well too." Hobby said Mills graded "very well for his first time out of the box" against Memphis. "He has improving to do and is a work in progress, but for his first action, I was impressed," Marion said.

* The Micheal Spurlock watch continued today. Again, he seemed to stay with the pattern he began early this week by slowing himself down and relaxing. Again, he looked fluid and in control of himself. He exhibited more touch on his passes today, as he has all week. Not everything was thrown at warp speed. Certainly nobody is suggesting that everything is fixed - you can't compare practice to a game - but you have to start fixing what's wrong in practice and move up from there. Micheal has done that this week. Step one is complete in terms of practicing under more control. Step two? We'll see Saturday.

* DT Chris Herring played well against Memphis and has had a good week of practice, which is encouraging to everyone involved due to Daniel Booth being out and due to the fact that everyone has been patiently waiting on Chris to find his groove and play to his potential. It appears he is realizing some of that now and is quickly gaining status as a co-starter on the DL. Look for #98 to start making more of an impact each week.

* PK Jonathan Nichols has essentially turned into a machine kicking the football. Very few people are blessed with the ability to do anything as well as Jonathan kicks field goals. He's special and proves it every game and every day in practice. He was perfect again in field goal practice today with a long of 49 yards out of roughly seven "live" attempts. Of course, some of his success has to be attributed to the snapping of Sidney McLaurin and the holding of Cody Ridgeway, who has also become automatic in their field goal duties. Nice, reliable trio for the Rebs.

* The OL continued their "prima donna" battle cry today - a self-debasing motivational tool based off a recent newspaper article they said described them as such. Look for them to be a motivated unit against Alabama. They will have to be - Bama's defensive front, according to the coaches, is more talented than it was a year ago.

* The linebackers and secondary stayed an extra 15 minutes after practice today to make sure they had all their coverages down pat. DB Coach Jay Hopson is a stickler for his players knowing what to do and they put in the effort to get there. Hopefully the extra work will pay off with big dividends. While Danny Wimprine is a quality QB with good receivers, and the Rebs mostly held their own against them, a healthy Brodie Croyle awaits and he's no bargain either.

* The Rebs will have a light walk-through tomorrow. There will be no practice report.

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