The Ole Miss football team had one workout today - a 3-hour, 5-minute marathon that produced the kind of results Head Coach Ed Orgeron and Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone were looking for out of the workout before they conduct the last two-a-day of the preseason tomorrow (Wednesday).
"That's more like it," said Orgeron. "We were fresher and more energetic today and it showed in the results. I thought both sides of the ball had good work. Our running game is coming along well - Running Game Coordinator George DeLeone is doing a great job there. Our defense had two or three very good periods today and looked more active. This is what we were looking for last Saturday with the scrimmage, but we were tight for some reason in that practice. Today, we looked more loose."
Orgeron had some comments on individual players, when asked, as well.
"TB Brandon Jacobs missed a lot of work, but since he has come off the injury list, he is doing very well. Mico McSwain gives us some speed back there and appears to have been a good move for us," Ed noted. "There is fierce competition going on between Travis Johnson and Nate Banks for the right corner slot. We are going to play three corners anyway, but Travis is a senior and wants that starting spot and Nate is pushing him. We moved freshman Lamark Armour back to defensive end today because we needed more outside speed. He wasn't going to play at tight end, where we experimented with him for a couple of days, and I want him playing this year, so we moved him where he could help us. We took another look at Brandon Jenkins inside at defensive tackle today and we moved freshman Jacarious Lucas from wide receiver to the secondary."
Mazzone had some positive comments about the offense, too.
"We now have enough of the offense in where we could simplify and work on the little things the last two practices. We are honing in on some things and gaining some confidence. I see less confusion and that helps," Mazzone said. "The last two days, QB Robert Lane has done some good things, but so has Micheal (Spurlock). That battle is a good one and is tightening some.
"We are still using our running backs by committee, but we feel we have a solid group and that all of them bring something different to the table. We'd like someone to take over, but in the meantime we are gaining yards by using several. Mico being there has helped the speed aspect of that group and having Brandon Jacobs back has certainly added a good back to the equation. FB Jason Cook has been the most solid player for us in the backfield, though. He's doing an excellent job. Also, the last couple of practices the receivers have picked it up and are doing a much better job. I think familiarity with the offense is helping everyone. We are still hoping to get a couple of linemen back and one or two more ready, but even without them we are doing some good things up front. Coach DeLeone is a master out of getting the most out of his players and scheming the available players by putting them in positions to succeed. Overall, I'm happy where we are right now. The last two practices have given me more optimism."
* Random Notes:
* The following players did not practice today: C Darryl Harris, PK Justin Sparks (did not dress out but did kick a little), S Bryant Thomas, CB Dustin Mouzon (now wearing a cast on his left arm), CB Josh Braithwaite, DB Tyson Andrus, OT Reid Neely, WR Milton Collins, OG/OT Ryan Jones, WR Matt Pierece. . . WR Taye Biddle and DE Reterio Brown were still in shoulder pads and helmets, but they both practiced in some drills today.
* The following players came off the injury list: DT Peria Jerry, TB Alan Abrams (limited), DE Corvelli Haynes (limited) and SS Kareem Moore.
* As discussed by Coach O, position changes today were Lamark Armour from tight end to DE, Brandon Jenkins from DE to DT, and Jacarious Lucas from WR to DB.
* Two frosh linebackers look to be making a move on backing up the starters - Robert Russell at OLB behind Kelvin Robinson and Quentin Taylor at MLB behind Partick Willis. They are at least even with Keith Houston and Marquis McBeath right now, and heading upward, it appears - based on the reps they are getting.
* TB Jamal Pittman continued to get a lot of the number one reps, OLB Garry Pack appears to have a stanglehold on number one in his battle with Dontae Reed, David Traxler and Andrew Wicker split time at number one left guard today, and Travis Johnson was the number one RCB in front of Nate Banks today, TE Robert Hough remained with the top offense. . . The rest of the starting unit stayed the same.
* When we report that such-and-such receiver was running with the one offense, that doesn't mean they are considered starters. They are all basically on a unit that rotates with the ones and the twos. For instance, any receiver in the rotation could be with the one offense or the two offense on any given play. It's not unusual to see J.D. Lawhorn, a true frosh, with the ones and Mike Espy, for instance, with the twos. Don't put too much meaning in practice lines that put a certain receiver with the ones. . . Right now, Mario Hill, Mike Espy, Larry Kendrick and Taye Biddle are considered the "starters."
* In team rushing drills early in practice - when everyone on the field knew the offense was going to be running the ball, the defense dominated, holding the offense to 30 yards on 14 carries. . . Willis, Michael Bozeman, Chris Bowers, Kelvin Robinson and Brandon Jenkins showed up the most on our loose stats, but Willis was much man, in on several plays. . . The longest run in that practice period was a 10-yarder by Pittman on the first play over RT Tre' Stallings. From there, the defense stuffed the offense.
* The punters, in a brief punting period, continued to struggle some under live fire. Will Moseley averaged 35 yards a punt on four boots while frosh Rob Park averaged 33 yards a kick on two attempts. That is one area that has to pick up, obviously.
* In field goal kicking, Matt Hinkle was on fire, hitting from 20, 27, 31, 35, 39 and 45 before missing a 51-yarder in the wind. . . Moseley was 2-2 with a long of 24 yards during the field goal work, but nailed a 45-yarder in the two-minute drill. It was a kick that would have been good from 55-60 yards. He barely missed a 52-yarder that would have easily been good from 60 yards. . . In two-minute drills, Hinkle missed from 51 yards into a breeze. . . Park held for both PKs.
* There was a lot of give-and-take between the offense and the defense in an extended team period. It was full contact and both sides of the ball displayed playmaking abilities.
* The following is a brief recap of some of the highlights:
* Ones: Pittman for 1 (Bozeman on the stop), Pittman for 2 (Willis), Spurlock to Hill 14 on a blitz picked up by Pittman, incomplete deep to a wide open Biddle.
* Twos: Lane sacked by DT Peria Jerry, Lane to Espy for 9, Brandon Jacobs run for 12, Jacobs for 30.
* Ones: Spurlock keep for 2 (Bowers), Pittman 1 (K-Rob), Spurlock sacked by Bozeman and Bowers.
* Twos: Lane to Biddle 8, Mico McSwain run for 8, Lane to Kendrick for 15, Antonio Turner run 0 (Jeremy Garrett), Turner 1 (a host of DL), Lane to Biddle for 4 and a TD! Hinkle good on the PAT.
* Ones: Spurlock to Espy for 11, Jacobs 0 (Willis), Pittman 23 TD run. . . From the five, Spurlock to Hill - TD.
* Ones: Jacobs 5, Spurlock 0 (Willis on blitz), Spurlock incomplete downfield (McBride defended).
* Twos: Turner 1 (Jerry), Flatt incomplete (Banks defended), Flatt to Espy for 10, Turner 2, Turner 8, Turner 12 TD.
* Ones: Spurlock run for 8, complete to Espy 0 (Jamarca Sanford), Pittman for 2, Jacobs for 10, Mico 0 (Willis), Jacobs 0 on a screen (McBride and Bozeman), on fourth-and-8 Willis sacked Spurlock.
* Twos: Lane sacked -4 (Reed), Turner 3 (Quentin Taylor), Lane keeps for 13, Turner 7, Turner 1 (Jenkins, Reed), Lane to Espy 6. . . 1st and goal from the 8 - Seth Michaelson 4, Lane to Espy for TD.
* Ones (goalline): Pittman 0 (Jerry), Pittman 5 TD. . . Two: Jacobs 2, Mico 1, Flatt to Michaelson TD.
* In two-minute drill to conclude practice:
* Ones: Travis Johnson picked Spurlock and returned it for a TD.
* Twos: Lane to Hill 10, Lane to Kendrick 8, Lane to Hill 53 TD. . . Hinkle PAT good.
* Ones: Spurlock run for 8, Spurlock to Burnell Wallace for 17, Spurlock to Suggs 10. . . 54-yard field goal no good by Hinkle. . . . Ones again: Spurlock 10, Spurlock sacked by CB Terrell Jackson, Spurlock to Kendrick 15, Spurlock to Espy 10, 55-field goal by Moseley no good. Penalty on defense: 45 field goal good.
* The Rebs will practice tomorrow morning at 9 and tomorrow afternoon at 4. Tomorrow will be the last two-a-days of fall camp.
Practice Report: Tuesday afternoon
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