Practice Report: Lots of situational work

Rebel Football Coach Ed Orgeron put the Rebs through a 2-hour, 45-minute full contact workout today with the emphasis on game situations - goalline in, goalline out, and third downs with varying yardage for a first down. In terms of the function of the practice, Coach O was pleased, but he was not as enthused about the Rebs' energy level and intensity.

Ole Miss Football Coach Ed Orgeron put the Rebel through a full-contact situational practice today, covering a lot of bases in the 2-hour, 45-minute practice.

"I'm a little disappointed in the energy level we showed today. It should have been a little higher than it was," said Orgeron, "but we did have a lot of good situation work."

In third down situation work, where the yard marker was placed randomly from 3rd-and-1 to 3rd-and-13, the one and two offenses were held to a 25% first-down success rate. The offense moved the chains only 8 of 32 attempts.

"The defense did well in the third-down situational work. We put a lot of speed on the field for that work and I think our schemes were good," O noted. "We blitzed and stunted from a lot of different angles to give our quarterbacks a lot of looks. Today, the defense came out on top. Our quarterbacks needed to see those looks and our defense needed to experience that kind of success today."

When asked about the lack of energy, Orgeron said, "I don't know what caused it, but I will find out. "Doesn't appear like it will happen again.

Redshirt frosh SS Jamarca Sanford continues to impress Orgeron.

"I like his speed, I like the way he hits and I like his attitude on defense. We're looking for guys who can make plays out here and he makes plays. He plays loose, he plays with confidence - that's how you play defense," Orgeron said.

Orgeron also mentioned the play of RS frosh DE Chris Bowers, who has been all over the field.

"He's having a tremendous spring to this point. He has surprised me some because he's a little light (228 pounds), but he plays with a lot of tenacity," Orgeron noted. "He needs to put on some weight to hold up every down at that position, but he's tough and is working hard on putting weight on. Chris has been exceptional this spring."

Another surprise to this point has been LB Dontae Reed, who for the second practice in a row has been with the number one defense in place of LB Garry Pack.

"Dontae is a very active player who likes to mix it up. His speed is very good. We are doing our best to get the most speed we can on the field, but they still have to be good football players. Dontae has shown the speed and is developing into a football player," Ed stated.

The Rebs will hold a coaches' clinic for area coaches Friday and Saturday. Tennessee Titan OC Norm Chow will speak Friday morning around 10:30. The Rebs will practice Friday at 3:45 p.m. and Saturday morning at 11 with a scrimmage starting around noon that day.

"We will have a lot of coaches in here for our clinic. We are looking forward to it," Orgeron closed. "Coach Chow will be the featured speaker Friday, but we will also have some high school coaches speaking and our whole staff will give positional clinics during the weekend. This will be an exciting weekend for us and will help us further develop relationships with area coaches. We expect a big turnout"

Notes:

* QB Robert Lane dressed out for practice today, but was not able to throw due to his sore right shoulder. He said he has more range of motion than he did Monday, but he still can't throw. No word on when he may return, but he expects to be back soon, maybe for Saturday's scrimmage. . . WR Matt Pierce, DE Corvelli Haynes, and FB Anthony Hobgood - who have been injured this spring - did not practice, along with three players who have been out all spring - DT McKinley Boykin, RB Brandon Jacobs and OL Andrew Wicker. . . TB Alan Abrams was injured in the first hour of prctice and did not return, but it didn't look serious.

* The Rebels worked kickoff drills for the first time this spring. The kickers were kicking into a stiff breeze, but Hunter Bray and Will Moseley were still able to kick to the 2-yard line with good hang time. . . There was a list of players catching kicks: Mike Espy, Mico McSwain, Burnell Wallace, Mario Hill and Larry Kendrick were the most prominent. . . The full-team drill was not full contact.

* The Rebs also worked briefly on the punting game. Bray, who has struggled some this spring, loosened up some today and kicked two or three in the 50-yard range. He said he felt "more relaxed" in his relatively new untertaking of punting the ball.

* QB signee Billy Tapp's high school in Florida has been on spring break. He didn't go to parts unknown for his "vacation." He's been in Oxford staying with OL David Traxler and watching practice attentively.

* The Rebs have a new volunteer coach. His name is Mike Pringle, who recently retired after a 12-year pro career in Canada and 3 seasons in the NFL. Mike, a former RB for Washington State University, wanted to see if coaching might be his thing. Orgeron has put him to work on a volunteer basis. Mike's wife is in grad school at Ole Miss, getting her Master's degree in clinical psychology.

* There is still movement on the depth chart and some shuffling around of players by the coaching staff. . . As we mentioned, Dontae Reed remains with the number one defense at OLB. . . Jamarca Sanford is now running number one with the defense at strong safety. . . Today, Nate Banks replaced Travis Johnson with the number one defense at left cornerback. . . Mico McSwain, who moved to free safety last week, was working with the number two unit today. . . Big OG Maurice Miller got a lot of snaps with the number two OL today. He's been a number three most of spring. . . OG Thomas Eckers got a look in a couple of series today at number one RG. . . Interesting stuff. Orgeron said when practice began that the depth chart was "etched in sand." He wasn't pulling our leg. If a player has a good practice, he is moved up and given a chance with the top units immediately. "We will continue to do that all spring and into August if necessary," said Ed. "We want our best football players on the field at all times in all situations."

* The Rebs had a short period of board drills among the "big boys." With only a couple of exceptions - DT Michael Bozeman being the main one - the offensive line won the battle. It was as close to being dominant as is possible and drew some disappointment from the head coach. "We (the DL) played like we didn't have much fire in that drill," Orgeron noted. "Unacceptable."

* The offense continued to shine in the run/run defense portion of team drills. In 14 plays, the Rebs gained over 5 yards on eight of them.

* After that, it was the defense that rose up in the 3rd-down situational work. Players who "showed up" with big plays were DE Jayme Mitchell, LBs Kelvin Robinson and Patrick Willis, DE Chris Bowers - three or four times, CB Trumaine McBride and backup CB Dustin Mouzon. The Rebs blitzed from every angle and basically controlled the third-down work, as we mentioned earlier. . . "The coaches wanted to put us into a lot of third-down situations and throw everything at us to see how we would respond," said QB Micheal Spurlock. "They were bringing every blitz in the book in an effort to get us used to it so when the games roll around it will be second nature to us. The defense got us today, but we'll have our day once we get used to everything. I love this system because it's quarterback-friendly. We are still putting the pieces of the puzzle together and today was our first continuous taste of the whole blitz package in Coach Orgeron's defense. It think it was good for all of us."

* The Rebs ended with a goalline period with the coaches placing the ball on the 5 and giving the offense 4 downs to score. The offense was 5-7 in scoring TDs from the five-yard line.

On the first series, the one offense faced a fourth-and-five after three-no gianers. Spurlock rolled left, did not see an open receiver and tucked to run. He appeared hemmed in on the outside, but cut against the grain and walked into the end zone untouched.

On the second series, the two offense was stipped cold the first two running plays by LB Garry Pack and DT Brandon Jenkins. On third-and-5, TB Larry Kendrick fumbled after a big hit by DT Jeremy Garrett and SS B. Brown scooped the fumble up. . . Stop for the defense.

On the third series, number one TB Jamal Pittman gined three-yards on a toss sweep and then took it in over left tackle Bobby Harris for the score.

On the fourth series, the two offense was stopped when the defense went into a heavy set of mostly DL and LBs. Garrett, Bozeman, Bowers and Bozeman again denied the number two offense. . Stop for the defense.

Walkon FB Clay Haury carried over from the 1 for a score for the two offense after TB Vashon Pearson had gained the first four yards on three tries.

On the last two possessions, the number one offense made it look easy. Pearson scored on first down around left end, outrunning containment. On third down of the next series, FB Jason Cook scored from 1 yard out. Pearson had set that up as well with a 4-yard burst off right tackle Tre' Stallings.

The Rebs will practice Friday at 3:45 p.m. with the coaches' clinic going on.

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