Wicker says August camp was good for Rebs

Andrew Wicker said August camp was tough and challenging and just what this team needed as the 2005 season approaches.

Andrew Wicker had to have a good August camp. The Rebel fourth-year junior missed all of spring practice with a foot injury.

So the defensive lineman turned offensive lineman, which made for an even more interesting camp, went to work at his new position.

One of the 2005 team's leaders, back in the winter Wicker asked the coaches if it would help the team for him to move from the defensive side of the ball to the offensive side. After changing his mindset from defense to offense, then came the foot injury a week and a half before spring drills began.

The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Wicker was out of action until summer, and by the time August camp rolled around, he was his old self again.

"It's been a good camp for me," he said. "I've been 100 percent, and it's been a good time to learn what I need to be doing on the offensive side of the ball."

Camp culminated with last Saturday's scrimmage. The Rebels then had a couple days off to get their legs back, so to speak, and to start classes on Monday.

"Defensively it went real well," Wicker said of Saturday's morning workout before Meet the Rebels Day fans in attendance. "Offensively there were some lulls. It took us a while to get going. But we're working against a real solid defense. On offense we just need to keep on working the basics. I think we started figuring out some things as we went on today. Late in the scrimmage we got some things going."

Wicker said Saturday's scrimmage was set up to run a lot of plays in a row, for the team to get a feel for constant activity on the field with few breaks in the action.

"In a normal game the offense runs about 75 plays or so," he said. "Today we went about 60 plays, which is fairly realistic and close to a normal game. Today might have been actually tougher than a game. When you're running 12 plays in a row like that, it's good for you and shows that we're in good shape."

"Good shape" is what the Rebels know they have gotten in this summer and on through camp. The new staff has seen to that.

"No doubt we're in the best shape ever," Wicker said. "We're going to be playing late in the games just like we were in the first quarter."

Now the regular schedule of classes and practice kicks in today.

"It's been an intense and energetic camp," Wicker said. "One of the big things different this year is we couldn't leave the IPF (during the day). I really believe because of that and other things we've come close together as a team."

Wicker says the camp has been very valuable for him since he has made the move to offense and also because of the injury situation he had earlier.

"I'm now facing guys like McKinley Boykin and Michael Bozeman, two of the best in the SEC," he said. "It's been a good camp for me to get the reps and to learn what I need to do and show what I can do."

Offensively the Rebels are in that same improving mode now as the countdown to the first game turns from weeks to days. Their time to get better even more is at hand.

"Individually people have to step up, and as a unit we all have to step up," he said. "This week we'll focus on us getting better. Come game week next week, we'll game plan and get ready for Memphis. It's getting down to that time now. It's getting exciting."

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