Practice report: Frosh Day Three

After day three of freshman practice this afternoon, Rebel Coach Ed Orgeron was as upbeat as could be, praising the effort of the newcomers and chomping at the bit to get them mixed in with the varsity. Read about it inside.

Ole Miss Football Coach Ed Orgeron is giving no quarter to the freshmen - their practice routine is the same as the varsity, and to this point - three practices deep, he's excited about the results.

"We've given them a lot of reps - the same as the varsity, and they have responded well," Coach O began his post-practice interview. "Our running backs (Antonio Turner, Hiram White and Kendrick Perry) have done a tremendous job; DT Peria Jerry continues to impress me; OL Michael Oher is coming on strong; QB Billy Tapp really threw the ball with authority today; PK Will Moseley had a big day kicking field goals, putting himself back in the race; and LB Quentin Taylor is mking a move.

"I can't wait to get the varsity and freshmen mixed together. We have some freshmen who are as good as, maybe better, than the varsity guys at their positions. THeir confidence level is high and they will not be intimidated or afraid to compete with the varsity. They aren't afraid to compete.

"I have also been impressed with the matchup in practice between Oher and Jerry. We designed things to match them against each other so we could have constant best-against-best situations. It will help them both become better players. ANd they are both responding to the challenge."

Random notes:

* LB Robert Russell, LB Rogers Loche and CB Tyson Andrus did not participate at practice today. Rogers and Russell had a head (Loche) to knee (Russell) collision yesterday and were out as a result of that hit today. PK Justin Sparks did not practice either.

* Coach O said his defensive practice philosophy at this point of August practice is to only have one period of blitz per practice. "We will progress into more as the first game gets closer, but we want our guys to absorb the base defense and ease them into blitzing," he noted. "I know our blitz package works and is easy to learn, so right now we are concentrating more on basics and fundamentals."

* In board drills today, Oher and Jerry were the featured match. On the first encounter, Jerry surprised Oher and blew him off the ball. The next three, with Oher knowing what to expect, were draws. The last one was for "stakes." If Oher lost, the offense had to run extra. If Jerry lost, the defense had to run extra. Two tries netted two draws. Coach O called it a tie. Good battles.

* Also in board drills, Turner came off hard on LB Dustin Forston and one that battle convincingly. Turner continues to impress in all phases of the game. Again, he made several nice runs, as did Perry. "Those two will play, and may play substantially, this year," said Orgeron. "We gave Kendrick the ball more today and he responded with some good runs. I like the look of both of them. The varsity RBs better look out."

* QB Tapp showed his arm strength today on several throws. Three times he threw line drive strikes on long out patters right on the money - once to J.D. Lawhorn, one TE Robert Hough and one to WR Jacarious Lucas. . . (For some reason, WR Milton Collins did not rep much today. He was dressed out, but did run many routes.)

* The only kink in Turner's armour - his only miscue thus far - was a fumble which LB Kevin Jordan scooped and scored on from about 25 yards out. Other than that, Turner has been flawless and has not shown any inclination to fumble to that point or after.

* Jerry and Jada Brown did not make it through practice yesterday, but they did today and both made a couple of big plays behind the line. Both are extremely quick off the ball and shoot gaps for big play opportunities.

* QB Taylor Mazzone also continues to make plays in the passing game. He hit Lawhorn with a beautiful downfield spiral for a 30-yard gain and then ran for 25 yards when he was flushed from the pocket. Both young QBs are turning some heads in freshman workouts. It will be interesting to see both of them work with the varsity.

* DE LeRon King is a very active and fast defensive player, but you wonder if he can hold up at 200 pounds when he starts going against the varsity. So far, he has done well against bigger guys, using his speed to his advantage, but he's awfully light right now.

* Offensive GA Grant Heard, due to a lack of bodies, was running pass routes today with the frosh. The guy can still move and get open. Impressive.

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