Practice Report: Friday afternoon

Coaches tend to worry about the second practice of a hot day during two-a-days, but thanks to a competitive attitude and a small break from the weather with some overcast conditions, Rebel Coach Ed Orgeron didn't have to be concerned. Read about it inside.

When asked this morning what he wanted from his Rebels in the afternoon practice, Ole Miss Coach Ed Orgeron simply said "for the players to compete."

After a two-hour workout this afternoon, he said they passed his "compete test" with flying colors.

"They responded this afternoon. They competed just like I wanted them to," said Coach O. "We got a little healp from the weather - it wasn't as hot as it was this morning, but the kids battled regardless of the conditions.

"I was really happy with the way the offensive line performed. We have several players out with injuries right now, but the offensive coaching staff came up with a plan to make them competitive this afternoon. I think LT Bobby Harris will be back tomorrow. I hope C Darryl Harris will be back soon. We aren't sure about OT/OG Ryan Jones, who hurt his knee this morning. We are awaiting word on his MRI. In their absence, I thought Michael Oher, Thomas Eckers, Ben Boyce, Tony Bonds and some others who were in there did well."

Orgeron said the defense is starting to gel as well.

"These kids are getting the essence of the defensive scheme now and it's showing up in their playmaking. We forced some turnovers today and started looking like a good unit," Coach O noted.

There will be a 3 p.m. practice in the stadium tomorrow, but 'O' said it wouldn't be a game-type scrimmage.

"We will do some of our practice routine first and then have a situational scrimmage with everything live - including the kicking game - except the quarterbacks," Orgeron explained. "The coaches will be on the sidelines, but really we're just going to run plays and see how we execute. This is our first scrimmage sestting, so it won't be like the spring game, but it will be fun to watch."

Random Notes:

* The following players missed work today: PK Justin Sparks, OT Bobby Haris, C Darryl Harris, OG David Traxler, CB Josh Braithwaite, S Mico McSwain, TB Brandon Jacobs, LB Rogers Loche, WR Milton Collins, CB Dustin Mouzon, OL James McCoy, OT Reid Neely, OT/OG Ryan Jones. . . DE LeRon King missed most of practice as did CB Tyson Andrus. Both started practice but could not go. OT Maurice Miller also did not make it through the workout.

* WR Taye Biddle and DE Reterio Brown dressed out in shorts and helmets today. They are not cleared yet academically, but they are able to practice. It's not certain if they will dress in pads tomorrow or not. . . Granted Taye is fresh and wasn't in 30 pounds of gear, but he looked extremely fast and quick.

* QB Robert Lane said he has lost from 230 to 224 since the start of August practice. Two times he has had to sit out of drills after being affected by the heat and water loss.

* Some of the players who have gotten more reps due to the gaps left by those not practicing are OG Andrew Wicker, who moved up to number one LG; OT Marcus Cohen, who took over for Bobby Harris; Ben Boyce, who is working with the number one OL in place of Darryl Harris; and walkon OL Chris Baker and Paul Hurd. When players miss, it filters all the way down the depth chart.

* Walkon TE Sam Garner quit the team today. He was struggling with some injuries and decided to call it quits.

* The atomosphere today was more loose and relaxed from the standpoint of the players during pre-practice warmups. Tells me they are getting more used to the Orgeron pace. . . During stretching, there is good-natured banter going on between the coaches and the offensive and defensive players. When they did hamstring stretches, one player bellowed "a loose hamstring is a happy hamstring - yeah baby!" Cracked everybody up, including Coach O.

* The Rebs ran a drill called "dog pile" today. A player takes off running with the ball and the whole team tries to catch him and take the ball away. FB Jason Cook gave the ball up only after being under a pile of about 8 players and only after a struggle.

* The Rebs had two scrimmage type periods today, team and blitz. In team drills, the following were the highlights.

* On the first play, QB Micheal Spurlock found WR Matt Pierce with a 25-yard rope on a play-action pass.

* LB Kelvin Robinson then stopped TB Alan Abrams twice, once for a 2 yard gain, once a 3 yard effort. Two big hits.

* Abrams then ripped off 7 yards and was stopped by ever-active FS Charles Clark, who never seems to run out of energy.

* When the twos took the field, DT Peria Jerry greeted QB Robert Lane with a sack for a loss of five yards.

* Tb Jamal Pittman evened things up, however, with runs of 8 and 15 yards.

* During those team drills, the one OL was LT Marcus Cohen, LG Andrew Wicker, C Ben Boyce, RG Thomas Eckers and RT Tre' Stallings. . . THe number two line was: LT Paul Hurd, LG Maurice Miller, C Tony Bonds, RG Michael Oher and RT Marcus Cohen, who was pulling double duty.

* When the ones came back in on the field, Abrams carried four times and was stopped after 1 yard by LB Patrick Willis, he gained 12 over Stallings, LB Garry Pack stopped him for a 1 yard gain and then he fumbled the ball away to CB Travis Johnson after a nice gain.

* The two defense then treated Ethan Flatt and company nasty. Jerry stopped TB Antonio Turner at the line and LB Robert Russell stopped Turtner after a 1-yard gain.

* In the pass protection/pass rush drill, it stood out that Wicker was able to hold his own against DT McKinley Boykin. . . It also stood out how good a battle freshmen Oher and Jerry are having. Both are getting better because of the other.

* In field goal work, Matt Hinkle was 1-2 and Will Moseley was 1-3. Neither were happy with the results. You could tell by their body language.

* The practice ended with a blitz drill. The coaches kept score. A three-yard run or better or a completion for a first down was a point for the offense. Anything less was a point for the defense. By our count, the offense won 11-10, but it was a tit-for-tat battle to the wire.

* Those highlights included two interceptions by CB Trumaine McBride, a Spurlock to Burnell Wallace pass for 15 yards, a Lane to Suggs completion for 18, a Lane to Espy completion for 15, a sack of Lane by Russell, a sack of Lane by FS B. Brown, a sack of Spurlock by DE Chris Bowers, an 8-yard run by Abrams, a scramble for a first down by Spurlock, a Pittman fumble, a Flatt to Suggs completion for 10, DE Brandon Jenkins stopping TB BenJarvus Green-Ellis for no gain, an Abrams run for 9, a fumble by TB Antonio Turner, Turner for 10, Turner for 5, Lane for 10, Abrams for 7 and a screen to FB Jason Cook for 40 yards. . . . But the play of the day was turned in by Willis. Spurlock broke contain and sprinted to the left side, seemingly having the corner and in full stride. Willis closed on him like he was shot out of a cannon and sack Micheal for no gain. Awesome.

* Again, the Rebs will practice in the stadium tomorrow at 3 p.m. with a situational scrimmage being part of the practice package.

* It is also M-Club Alumni weekend. A lot of former Rebel greats are currently in town and plan on attending the practice after the annual golf tournament.

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