Wednesday practice report

Ole Miss practiced in "thud gear" today and had controlled contact in a one-hour-and-twenty-minute workout. The practice was split on working drills in areas the Rebs need improvement and installing the initial look at the Auburn gameplan. Coach David Cutcliffe was pleased with the work.

"We got a good start on the Auburn gameplan and did some good things on improving ourselves," Cut said. "During any open week, you have to guard against a letdown because things have been so intense around here for nearly two months. It's natural to let your guard down a little, particularly after such a disappointing loss, but we had a meeting with the players about that and they have responded very well this week. Their spirits have been good and they have been tuned in for these practices."

Cut said he's been very careful to meet his goals for the week - to stay sharp, to try to get better, but to get healthy and rested for the stretch run.

"We needed to do some work, but we had to keep in mind that rest and healing are what's most important this week," he stated. "I really think Friday-Sunday, when they are off, will be as beneficial as the three days of practice we will have this week. They need to get away from football for those three days and come back in here refreshed. As disappointing as that loss was Saturday - we should have won that game - and as disappointing as some other games were earlier this year, all these kids realize there is still a lot of football to play and a lot to play for. A four-game winning streak is possible and that opens up a lot of things for us. I've have been very pleased with the way the players have reacted to that line of thinking. If we all believe we can get it done, we will get it done."

The quarterback situation still has not been completely defined, but it appeared today that all three - Ethan Flatt, Micheal Spurlock and Robert Lane - got equal reps with the ones and twos in skeleton drills and Lane got the first snaps with the ones in team drills at the end when it was best-against-best. Both Lane and Spurlock connected today on long bombs and Flatt was effective with the intermediate routes. As has been the case most of the year, all three looked good at times and all three had moments when they struggled. In team drills, Lane made an excellent throw on a 15-yard out pattern as he rolled right.

DT Coach Rick Petri finally has a full deck to play with up front and it's paying dividends. Chris Herring needs a little more healing to be 100%, but everyone else is full speed and it's showing in how that unit has played in the last two games.

"I thought we played real well against South Carolina and Tennessee," said Petri, "and you can attribute that to us having all hands on deck, so to speak. If we stay healthy, we have a chance to make a push up front. There is still technique work we can improve on, but with everyone available to practice it will make that easier to get accomplished. McKinley (Boykin) has come on real strong since he started getting more help and people started healing up. McKinley had a sore knee earlier in the year, but he had to do double duty in practice and in games due to others being injured. He fought through it like a warrior, but it affected his play. Now, we are able to keep him fresh and it's showing in his production. We have a chance to play some real good football up front if we continue to stay healthy and can get back to our regular rotation."

WR Larry Kendrick seemed to figure in more prominently in the receiver rotation today. We shall see if that translates into more playing time for the talented junior.

On the injury front, PK Jonathan Nichols (bruised toe), DE Corey Mills (groin injury) and CB Bryant Thomas (hamstring pull) were the only players who did not dress out today. Nichols had an MRI earlier today but the results will probably not be in until early Monday. "We are crossing our fingers on those results because he is very important to us," said Cut. "We also need him to get back in his practice routine. Even as good as Jonathan is, he still needs a routine and practice to stay sharp for the games."

OTs Tre' Stallings and Bobby Harris, who both have ankle injuries, practiced today full speed and went through all contact and non-contact drills. C Chris Spencer, who is nursing a sore back, did not go through contact drills.

SS Kelvin Robinson (shoulder soreness) practiced but he was in a yellow jersey signifying no contact.

There will be no practice report tomorrow.

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