Practice Report: Injury watch continues

For the second week in a row, the Ole Miss Rebel football team responded with what Coach David Cutcliffe called "a really good Wednesday practice" as they fine-tuned their gameplan and went through a lot of reps on both sides of the ball. Cut's enthusiasm was short-lived, however, as he started discussing the uncertainty of the Rebs' injury situation.

"Today was our best practice of the week, just as Wednesday was our best practice last week. I'm starting to see more focus and energy on our team as the weeks click by," Cutcliffe noted. "We are still very concerned about our injury situation. We have some folks who are day-to-day and we have some folks who will not play against Wyoming. The three we know will not play are DTs CHris Herring and Daniel Booth and WR Bill Flowers. The rest have a chance, but it depends on how they react to treatment the next three days."

Cutcliffe said Monday that the wide receiver rotation, without Flowers, would change. Here's the plan:

"We moved Mike Espy over to Bill's spot with Mario Hill and moved Frank Clayton up behind Taye Biddle where Mike was. We have also worked Larry Kendrick in the mix and today we started giving some wide receiver reps to Edwin Gelin," he explained. "I don't know how either of them will figure into the rotation, but they both have good natural ability for the position. It was our intention to get Larry over there all along, but he had to get comfortable with his defensive assignments first. He's now handling that pretty well so that, and necessity due to injuries, has allowed us to give it a try. We've got to get him on the field more in different situations. I doubt if Edwin will play any WR this week, but I like his look there, thus far. It's a learning process for both of them, but we are asking them both to learn in a hurry in case anyone else goes down. Frank has had a good week of practice and will get his shot this week against Wyoming. I think he's ready to produce."

With Booth and Herring out, and Andrew Wicker hobbling a bit, Dedrick Clark has suddenly become an important player in the middle of the defense. "Dedrick has done pretty well since moving inside from defensive end," Cut noted. "It's totally different inside, but he's adapted OK. He has some punch, but his deal is that he has to learn the every-play intensity required on this level, regardless of the position he's playing. He needs to figure that out in a hurry."

While QBs Ethan Flatt and Micheal Spurlock have been getting a majority of the snaps with the ones and twos, RS freshman Robert Lane has quietly started making an impression in his opportunties with the second unit. "Robert had a real good week of practice. He has thrown the ball better this week than he has since he's been here. It's still a matter of him getting command of the offense, but that's improving every day as well," Cutcliffe added. "I'm very pleased with his progress and particularly in this week's work."

Besides Booth (pulled calf muscle), Herring (pulled calf muscle) and Flowers (lacerated kidney), the injury situation breaks down like this:

CB Travis Johnson (sprained MCL in left knee)- "I was pleased to see Travis working some today. He's still sore, but it looks as if he will get to play some Saturday. If not, we will use Nate Banks at left corner and sub in Bryant Thomas and B. Brown. I look for Travis to be ready to go, though," Cutcliffe stated.

DE Corey Mills (pulled groin): "He tried to go today, but he's not ready. He's still day-to-day. He said he was a little better today, but he could not go in some drills," Cut said.

DT Andrew Wicker (lower back sprain): "Andrew should be able to play some Saturday, but he's still hurting some too. Treatment should get him back by Saturday, but we don't know to what extent," said Cut.

LB Rob Robertson (back spasms yesterday): Full speed today. He said he is fine.

OT Bobby Harris (sprained ankle): "Bobby is trying to go, but he's still struggling some. It will be touch and go with him the next three days," Cut noted. "It wouldn't surprise me if he played some, but it also wouldn't surprise me if he didn't. It's too close to call right now."

DT Michael Bozeman (concussion): Full speed today. Will play against Wyoming.

DT Jeremy Garrett (AC injury to shoulder): Jeremy said he was much better today, although still in a yellow jersey. He said he will play Saturday.

* In anticipation of Wyoming throwing the ball all over the lot, the Rebs worked on some different personnels today in the secondary. In passing situations, SS Kelvin Robinson was replaced by B. Brown and Larry Kendrick was the dime back when the Rebs went to six DBs. Kelvin is known for his run support, but B. is a better cover man. Kelvin was still the number one SS in base defensive calls.

* The grandfather of Walker Jones - Sonny Jones - will be honored at the game Saturday. Mr. Jones was Wyoming's first All-American in football.

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