Ole Miss Football Coach Ed Orgeron got what he was looking for from the freshman - and a few varsity players - in their first practice of the year.
"These guys came out here with a lot of energy and showed some maturity. I am very pleased," said Coach O, after a 2 hour, 45-minute workout. "We had the same pratice routine as the varsity and they got a lot of reps, which they needed.
"Individually, I was impressed with a lot of them - most of them, in fact. I thought FB Antonio Turner had several really nice runs, OG Michael Oher looked very good, DT Peria Jerry is what we were hoping he'd be, DE Lamark Armour showed some speed off the edge and we have a good group of young linebackers, which we need.
"It was a productive day."
* JUCO WR Milton Collins joined the team today and practiced with the freshmen. He's a thin kid, but he's around 6-0 or 6-1 and he's got good speed and quickness and showed good hands today, especially on one long ball thrown by QB Taylor Mazzone. Collins darted in front of a defender who seemed to have the pass picked off, leaped high in the air and came down with the pigskin for a 35-yard gain.
* Some of the varsity practiced with the freshmen today. Most notably, OT Maurice Miller, C Tim Henderson - it appears he's been moved from guard, TE Robert Hough, CB Terrell Jackson, CB Bryant Thomas, LB Brandon Thomas, DE Viciente DeLoach, SS Kareem Moore and TB Hiram White. . . We assume the coaches felt these guys were not going to get enough reps with the varsity and needed all they could get. Plus, the freshmen needed help with the rep load. Good on all counts.
* Here's where the coaches had all the frosh today, position-wise: QB Taylor Mazzone, QB Billy Tapp, OLB Quentin Taylor, CB Gary ALbury, CB Tyson Andrus, WR Milton Collins (starte dthe practice in #80, but ended in his assigned number #29), FS Gary Riggs, SS Michael Hicks, FB Antonio Turner, P Rob Park, SS Jabarre Mitchell, MLB Robert Russell, MLB Rogers Loche, DE LeRon King, TB Kendrick Perry, OLB Dustin Forston, OT Reid Neely (injured), RG Michael Oher, WR Jacarious Lucas (Kenyatta's cousin, who is walking on), WR J.D. Lawhorn, DT Jada Brown, DE Lamark Armour, DT Peria Jerry.
* Rob Park's first experience with practice punting was somewhat up-and-down. What is apparent is that he's got excellent hands, he kicks the ball quickly and he's got a silky smooth leg swing, but he didn't hit the ball consistently as we are sure he would have liked to today. He did get off some good punts - in the 42-yard range with good hang time.
* During the punt drill, TB Hiram White and WRMilton Collins each blocked a kick after poor snaps. DE Lamark Armour blocked a field goal, too.
* Frosh PK Justin Sparks was a little beat up today and did not kick, but Matt Hinkle put on a show, going 6-7 and connecting from 20, 27, 32, 36, 40 and 44 yards. The lone miss, from 48 yards, was blocked by Armour. He was drilling them. . . QB Billy Tapp and P Rob Park held for Hinkle in the drill.
* WR J.D. Lawhorn had a couple of good catches today, exhibiting soft hands, but what was most impressive was he has some pretty good moves in the open field and made a couple of defenders miss. Looked good.
* RG Michael Oher definitely stands out in the crowd. He's massive and appears to have excellent feet. He also realizes he's got a lot of work to do. "I found out today that college football is hard, real hard. I have a lot to learn," he said. "There are so many plays and the speed of the game is like a track meet. Toward the end of practice, I did better, but I know now what I have to do and that's to study hard, pay attention and never slow down. I don't feel bad about today at all, but I'm realistic and know what I've got to do."
* In pass rush drills, Oher was matched with DT Peria Jerry and it was a battle. Peria would beat Oher off the ball with his quickness, but Oher would recover and match him in the race to the QB. It was a good match between two future Rebel stars, if first impressions mean anything. Lots of raw ability when those two clashed.
* DT Jada Brown also showed some explosiveness off the ball, beating C Tim Henderson to the QB two times. Also in pass rush drills, DE Lamark Armour drew praise from Coach O when he beat OT Maurice Miller to the edge two times in a row, essentially sacking the QB.
* Today, OC/QB Coach Noel Mazzone worked on getting QB Billy Tapp's release higher. Tapp and Taylor Mazzone both showed good ability in throwing the ball for their first collegiate action. Both had several key completions, both of the short variety and down the field. Not bad, not bad at all.
* To me, the most impressive newcomer I saw today was FB Antonio Turner. Yes, I know there was no hitting going on, but this kid has a pretty good look to him with the ball in his hands. Good vision, excellent hands out of the backfield and a high rev motor. Impressive, as was TB Kendrick Perry. Two quality backs to add to the Rebs' arsenal. It will be interesting to see how that shakes down since the Rebs need help at FB. Turner could end up being part of the answer.
* SS Kareem Moore ended practice with an interception of a long Tapp pass.
* The Rebs will practice twice again tomorrow, with the varsity going in the morning and the freshmen in the afternoon. We will have reports on both workouts.
Practice Report: First look at the newcomers!
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