It was simulation time in practice today for the Ole Miss football team as the season opener with Memphis looms closer and closer.
The Rebels had a 1-hour walk-through in shorts on the practice field going over plays, substitutions and special teams situations in half-speed tempo.
Then, they dressed into their pregame attire and went into Vaught-Hemingway Stadium to go through the game day routine step-by-step.
"We will have a definite routine on Fridays and Saturdays so we wanted the players to get a feel for what we will be doing," said Coach Ed Orgeron. "We are a little over a week away from the opener so we felt we needed to familiarize the team with that routine.
"Tomorrow, we will simulate our pregame routine, warmups, etc. We will put the service (scout) team on one sideline and the top guys on the other. We will have coaches in the press box and on the sidelines, just like games."
But that where the similarity will stop, according to Orgeron. Tomorrow's scrimmage will not be like a real game.
"It will all be situational - down-and-distance, different scenarios that pop up in games," he explained. "It will be scripted."
When asked how the coaches would be divided - sidelines and press box, Orgeron laid it out.
"DB Coach Tony Hughes and Defensive GA Dave Carrao will be in the box for the defense. WR Coach Matt Lubick, Offensive GA Grant Heard and Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone will be in the box on offense," Coach O stated. "The rest of us will be on the sidelines."
Coach O was asked about the absence of sophomore TB Alan Abrams at practice. Abrams walked off the practice field yesterday and did not attend today.
"Alan is suspended from the team until I can review his case Monday. He is suspended for disciplinary reasons," Orgeron offered.
Orgeron also responded to a question about QB Micheal Spurlock and his August camp, but he fell short of naming Spurlock the definite starter for the Memphis game, even though that seems like a foregone conclusion.
"He's done a good job. Except for one day in a scrimmage, he's been very good, but everyone played poorly that day," he continued. "He's progressed steadily. The reason he has stayed with the number one in practice most of the time is because he's has progressed, he's been consistent and he's so dangerous with the ball in his hands."
Coach O went on to say that there would be no Sunday practice and no Tuesday practice due to NCAA rules stating you have to take one day off in a 7-day week prior to the first game.
"We will practice Monday, but next Wednesday will be like a normal Monday prior to a Saturday game," he explained.
* The Rebs had a few minutes to horse around on the game field prior to pregame activity practice. Coach O challenged some linemen to try to kick short field goals - shorter than a PAT. After several misses, OG Thomas Eckers made what amounted to a 15-yard kick (counting the end zone)! "Now we see why linemen aren't kickers," O joked post-practice.
* We're not sure how the injury situation is going to affect tomorrow's practice, but today OG Andrew Wicker, OL Ryan Jones, OT Reid Neely, WR Milton Collins, C Darryl Harris, and OG David Traxler did not run plays in the walk-through. . . That's both left guards out. In their absence, Tony Bonds was moved to number one left guard.
* Keith Houston remained with the tight ends in today's practice after moving there from linebacker yesterday.
* TE Robert Hough has been injured of late, but today he ran plays with the number one offense in the walk-through, indicating he will practice tomorrow.
* It appears the number one offense tomorrow will be: QB Micheal Spurlock, TB Jamal Pittman, TE Robert Hough, FB Jason Cook, WRs Mike Espy, Mario Hill, Taye Biddle, and the OL of LT Bobby Harris, LG Tony Bonds, C Ben Boyce, RG Thomas Eckers and RT Tre'Stallings.
* The number one defense will remain in tact: LEO Chris Bowers, DT McKinley Boykin, NT Michael Bozeman, DE Jayme Mitchell, WLB Kelvin Robinson, MLB Patrick Willis, SLB Garry Pack, FS Charles Clark, SS Jamarca Sanford, LCB Travis Johnson, RCB Trumaine McBride.
* Tomorrow, the Rebels will go through a complete game-day schedule designed around the 3:30 p.m. Memphis kickoff. That includes breakfast, walk-through, meetings, pregame meal and warmups starting at about 2:20 for certain players.
* Fullback Jason Cook continues to get praise from Coach O and RB Coach Frank Wilson, but he's not taking it for granted.
"I've had a decent camp, but there is still a lot to do. My deal is to just do everything I can to be the best fullback I can be. The coaches are pushing me hard and I'm trying to respond," he stated. "I've done some good things and I've done things I know I can continue to improve on. Each day is a challenge, but I'm getting there."
* The scrimmage begins tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
Practice Report: Friday afternoon
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