Practice Report: Wednesday afternoon

The Rebels had a 2-hour, 45-minute practice today in the stadium (until lightning threatened and they moved inside the IPF) in which the final period was a team blitz drills. The defense had a lot of fun and was successful in the period. Read about it inside.

Coach Ed Orgeron called it "fun."

We're not so sure the offensive players on the Ole Miss football team would agree.

The "fun" Coach O was referring to was the final period of today's 2-hour, 45-minute practice. It was a team blitz drill and the defense, for lack of a better phrase, won the battle, creating a multitude of sacks, incompletions and knocked down passes, and on the final play of the day an interception by CB Trumaine McBride.

"Today was fun for the defense, especially the last period," said Coach O. "We were more aggressive on defense today. We rushed the passer well and the defensive line played good football.

"I thought several players stood out, including DT/NG Jeremy Garrett. I think he's made our playing rotation. He's coming on strong lately."

Coach O was asked several unrelated questions by the media after the rugged workout, which featured a lot of full contact.

How are the running backs doing?

"Jamal (Pittman) and Brandon (Jacobs) have done well lately. The two days off let their legs get fresh and they are running with a more physical style. They have to do that because they are power backs," he continued. "Mico McSwain gives us a change of pace, but we need him to get more work. He missed two or three days of practice last week right after we changed him to TB and that hurt his progress, but he's definitely got good speed on the edges."

Do you think C Darryl Harris, out with a knee injury, will be back for the Memphis game?

"I don't think he will. Probably not. At least it doesn't look good right now," Orgeron responded.

How is WLB Kelvin Robinson doing since coming off the injury list?

"He had a good day yesterday and today. He was bouncing around making plays and he's a good hitter who we need to play well. In his absence, freshman Quentin Taylor got valuable reps. We are going to need him to play too, so that was good," Orgeron explained.

Is there any final word on DL Jada Brown returning to the team or not?

"Jada will not be with the team. That is final," he said economically."

Even though the offense had a somewhat bleak performance in the blitz drill, Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone took the optimistic approach in discussing it.

"The defense got after us real good today. That was good for us. We have to see that type of pressure to learn how to respond to it," Mazzone noted. "We didn't do very well early on, but I thought we got better at picking up what they were doing later in the period. We have to get used to the speed of a real blitz so this was great work for us. We will correct where we broke down and move forward tomorrow."

Random Notes:

* Lafayette County High School's football team worked out in the stadium prior to the Rebel practice.

* After practice today, some 200 students, the cheerleaders, the Rebelettes and a pep band gathered to hear from Coach O and a couple of the team members. They took a tour of the IPF earlier.

* With about 30 minutes left in practice, lightning was spotted in the area and the workout was moved inside. No big deal with that outstanding facility. The Rebs didn't miss a beat.

* Players who were out today were WR Matt Pierce, CB Dustin Mouzon, DB Bryant Thomas, OG Andrew Wicker, C Darryl Harris, OT Reid Neely, OL Ryan Jones and WR Milton Collins. . . OF David Traxler dressed out but did not go through much contact work.

* Players who returned to practice off the injury list today were WR J.D. Lawhorn and TB Alan Abrams, although he didn't take any full contact snaps. . . . TE Robert Hough continued to dress in a Blue jersey, like the QBs, which signifies no contact.

* TB Mico Mcswain was in a Black scout team jersey yesterday. Today he was elevated to a White jersey, signifying one of the top offensive players. . . SS Kareem Moore started the day in a Black jersey but ended it in a Red defensive jersey.

* On the depth chart today, senior WLB Kelvin Robinson was back at number one, Traxler worked some number one before major contact at number one LG and then was replaced by Tony Bonds when the heavy hitting started. . . Jamal Pittman remained at number one TB ahead of Brandon Jacobs. . . DT/NG Jeremy Garrett took number one reps on the DL today, subbing for either Micheal Bozeman or McKinley Boykin. . . LEO Chris Bowers remained with the number one defensive unit for the second day in a row. . . Brandon Jenkins and Peria Jerry were the number two DTs in today's work.

* In running game drills, the offense had a pretty good day, but the defense kicked in every few plays with some nice stops as well. Overall edge: offense. . . A breakdown of the plays: (Ones) Pittman for 5 (Bowers on the stop). . . Pittman for 7 (Pack). . . Pittman for 16. . .Pittman for 1 (K-Rob). . . (Twos) Jacobs 0 (Quentin Taylor). . . Jake 7. . . Jake fumble defense recovered. . . Jake 12 (Gary Riggs). . . (Ones) Pittman 5 (Pack). . . Pittman 0 (Jamarca Sanford). . . Pittman 1 (Patrick Willis). . . (Twos) Jake 6. . . Jake -3 (Rogers Loche). . . Jake 0 (Taylor). . . Jake 2 (LeRon King). . . (Ones) Pittman 1 (Bozeman). . . Pittman 10 (Sanford).

* The Rebs then held an extended scout team period with the one and two offenses going against the scout team defense and the one and two defenses going against the scout team offense. It was a non-contact drill working on what we think were Memphis' schemes. The scout teamers are dressed in Memphis' numbers running Memphis' plays.

* The field goal kicking seemed to hit a brick wall today. The period just wasn't much good. . . Matt Hinkle was 0-2, Will Moseley was 1-2 with one being blocked by Garrett, frosh Justin Sparks was 2-3 hitting from 30 and 34 then missing from 37, and Robert Bass was 1-1, his good from 40 yards out. Overall, yikes! Not what we've been seeing from the top two - Moseley and Hinkle.

* The following is a recap of the Team Blitz Drill period:

(Ones) Spurlock sacked (Boykin). . . Spurlock sacked (K-Rob). . . Spurlock to Mario Hill 7. . . Spurlock sacked (Garrett). . . (Twos) Lane sacked (Garrett). . . Lane sacked (Garrett). . . Incomplete pass under pressure. . . Lane to Robert Hough 4. . . (Ones) Spurlock to Hill 6. . . Spurlock to Hill 7. . . Screen to Lawrence Lilly 6. . . Spurlock to Hill 12. . . (Twos) Flatt pass knocked down by Nate Banks. . . Flatt to Burnell Wallace 8. . . Flatt sacked (Robert Russell). . . Flatt to Jimmy Brooks 7. . . (Ones) Spurlock incomplete under pressure (Willis). . . Incomplete (Travis Johnson breakup). . . Incomplete pressure (Pack). . . (Twos) Lane incomplete under pressure (Peria Jerry). . . Jacobs -1 (Jerry). . . Lane to Wallace 6. . . Lane to Larry Kendrick drop. . . (Ones) Lane to Hill 18. . . Pittman 4. . . Sack Jamarca Sanford. . . Incomplete through Mike Espy's hands. . .

(Twos) Flatt sacked by Lamark Armour. . . Jacobs -2 (Jerry). . . Flatt to Carlos Suggs 15. . . Incomplete due to pressure and good coverage in secondary. . . (Ones) Pressure (Pack). . . McSwain run for 6. . . Spurlock run 8 (faked K-Rob so badly the senior LB fell on his backside). . . Pittman 1 (Willis). . . (Twos) Lane pass broken up by Gary Riggs. . . McSwain 0 run (Corvelli Haynes). . . Jacobs 8 run. . . McSwain 20 TD run on the outside - turned on the afterburners. . . (Ones) Spurlock sacked by Bowers. . . Incomplete deep (Johnson). . . Intercepted by Trumaine McBride.

* Secondary Coach Chris Rippon gave us some brief comments about the progress of his main guys after practice today.

"Trumaine McBride has had an excellent camp. We challenged him repeatedly and he answered the bell just about every time," Rippon assessed. "Travis Johnson had a slow start, but he bounced back and has regained his position by competing and not hanging his head. FS Charles Clark has shown poise and leadership and playmaking ability - excellent camp. SS Jamarca Sanford learns more evey day. He's a natural football player learning to play within a system. I'm very happy with his progress.

"We are hurt a bit in the depth department. We would love to have CB Dustin Mouzon back, but he probably won't be back for a while. Nate Banks is going to have to be our third corner and will play a lot. He's had a good spring and we are thankful for that - we needed him to step up and he has. B. Brown, Kareem Moore and gary Riggs are doing well backing up the safeties, but we need another corner to step up soon."

* The Rebs will practice tomorrow at 3:45 p.m.

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