Wednesday practice report

Ole Miss Coach David Cutcliffe had a catch 22 on his hands today in trying to decide the Rebs' practice routine. On one hand, he needs the walking wounded to heal up during the open week. On the other, he felt the team needed some contact work this week. He opted to shorten practice to an hour-and-a-half and have controlled contact today.

"We mainly worked on the Arkansas gameplan today and did quite a bit of best versus best work in order to try to simulate true game speed," said Cutcliffe. "We had good focus and a good attitude, all things considered. Bookend open weeks are not ideal in terms of keeping players' focus and intensity, but our kids have responded well."

Tomorrow, the Rebs will hold a practice focusing on the mental aspects of next weekend's game against the Hogs.

"Seven of our assistant coaches are leaving tonight to hit the road recruiting," said Cutcliffe, "so we will have a little different practice tomorrow. It will be mostly team work and mostly mental stuff. We've had two pretty good days of contact and conditioning this week thus far so we are going to shift gears toward the mental aspects of the game tomorrow," he continued.

A new malady popped up for one of the offensive linemen today. Senior LG Doug Buckles had to be hospitalized last night due to a staph infection in his elbow. He is on an antibiotic IV drip. There are no details on how long he is expected to be hospitalized.

TB Vashon Pearson, who had a death in his family over the weekend, missed yesterday's practice and missed today as well. No word on his return.

OG/C Tony Bonds was in a yellow jersey again today, nursing an AC shoulder joint injury. Ditto on SS Kelvin Robinson.

With Buckles and Bonds out, Ryan Jones and James McCoy took most of the number one snaps at left guard. McCoy has been backing up Buck all year and Ryan has been backing up right guard Marcus Johnson.

Brandon Jenkins continued working at number one left end in place of injured starter Jayme Mitchell (broken bone in his ankle) and Iroko Ayodele worked in all contact drills in place of Kelvin Robinson at strong safety. Edwin Gelin took all backup strong safety snaps.

There has been a little extra emphasis on getting all three quarterbacks extra reps in the passing game this week and all have responded with pretty fair command of the situation. You can readily see RS freshman Robert Lane's improvement in the passing game. He appears to be getting more and more comfortable with each and every rep, particularly when he is rolling out and throwing on the run.

DT Andrew Wicker is out after having his knee scoped last week. In his spot in the DT rotation, Chris Herring has moved up a notch and is taking number two snaps with Daniel Booth. RS freshman Jeremy Garrett is now the first tackle in the rotation behind starters Michael Bozeman and McKinley Boykin and backups Herring and Booth. Garrett, according to DT Coach Rick Petri, is ready to contribute. "Jeremy has improved his technique quite a bit because he works at it and it means something to him," Petri noted.

With the threat of Arkansas QB Matt Jones's running ability facing them, the Rebel defense spent a lot of time the past two days working on outside containment, where Jones has been prolific in his career. If you will recall, the Rebel defense stymied Jones last year, holding him to minimal yardage in a 19-7 win. That will be imperative again this year if the Rebs are going to leave Fayetteville with a win in their pockets.

There have been no absolute depth chart changes, but several players are getting more and more reps in practice sessions. TB Jamal Pittman, QB Robert Lane, LBs Patrick Willis and Garry Pack, DE Brandon Jenkins and WR Larry Kendrick are the most notable. From the way they are practicing, you can expect to see more of each of them versus the Hogs.

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