The Ole Miss Rebel football team began their final preparations for the Vanderbilt game Saturday in Nashville with a full-pad, 2-hour, 45-minute workout on the practice fields. The emphasis of the practice was a long scout team period going over Vandy's offensive and defensive looks and then best-vs-best work on the Reb's arsenal.
"We did some good things today and some things not so well," said Coach Ed Orgeron. "I'm pleased with the personnel changes we have made on offense with Michael Oher at right guard and Alan Abrams at tailback. Alan had a few real nice runs today, two for long TDs, in running game drills. Michael is picking up things better each day. We've been working hard on our schemes and are closer to where we want to be in that area."
In team drills, the defense created two scores off turnovers, one a fumble recovery by SS Bryant Thomas returned all the way and the other an interception by CB Travis Johnson returned for a TD. Orgeron said those kinds of plays will be important in the Vandy contest.
"Creating turnovers was really big for us in the Memphis game, but we need to generate some points defensively. I want to see us score on a turnover against Vanderbilt," he commented.
On the minus side, Coach O was not real juiced about the field goal kicking - again.
"Will Moseley was good at the end of the period, but we are still way too inconsistent. We will just keep plugging away until we get it right," he noted.
Orgeron said he has watched tape after tape after tape on Vandy to try to get a bead on their attack.
"They don't seem to be running as much option as they were last year, but that could be because they have been behind late in their first two games and had to throw the ball more," he said. "I'm sure the option is still a part of their package, but we aren't sure how much of it they will use. We are preparing for everything they have done to this point, and some. Jay Cutler is a really good QB and he can handle everything they try to do very well. He can option, he can throw, he can throw on the run. He's tough."
* The following is a breakdown of the personnel today in terms of availability. . . MLB Patrick Willis still in a Blue jersey signifying no contact, but he's expected to play versus Vanderbilt. . . OT Ryan Jones did not practice. . . OT Reid Neely did not practice. . . DT Peria Jerry did not practice, but he looked to be moving around better today. . . WLB Kelvin Robinson was in a Blue jersey today, but is expected to be ready for the Dores. . . TB Brandon Jacobs still did not practice today and was still missing from practice. . . . OG Andrew Wicker, who has been hobbled some lately, practiced full speed. . . WR Milton Collins was in a Blue jersey and his status for Vandy is uncertain. . . DE Jayme Mitchell was injured in Sunday's practice, but we was back full speed today. . . C Darryl Harris practiced in a Blue jersey today, but there is a possibility he will be ready for Vandy too. . . CB Trumaine McBride was injured Sunday but he too came back full speed today.
* The number one OL today consisted of RT Tre' Stallings, RG Michael Oher, C Tony Bonds, LG David Traxler/Andrew Wicker, LT Bobby Harris. . . Thomas Eckers worked at both guard slots, Traxler kicked out to LT when Wicker was at LG, D. Harris and Ben Boyce were also in the center mix. All of these players got some number one reps today.
* In punting drills, Will Moseley had three kicks for a 38-yard average and good hang time. Rob Park had five boots for a 37-yard average, but his hang time was not as good.
* The scout team offense is being guided by Taylor "Jay Cutler" Mazzone this week. The frosh QB threw some good passes today and gave the first-team defense good looks in scout team drills.
* The following is a recap of running game drills: (Ones) Abrams broke in clear. . . Abrams -2 (Jeremy Garrett). . . Abrams 3 (Jayme Mitchell). . . Abrams 2 (Quentin Taylor, filling in for K-Rob in contact drills). . . (Twos) Mico McSwain 8. . . McSwain -2 (Dedrick Clark). . . McSwain 2 (McKinley Boykin). . . McSwain 5 (Viciente DeLoach). . . McSwain 2 (Robert Russell). . . (Ones) Abrams TD romp that broke clean at the line of scrimmage. . . Abrams 7 (Taylor). . . Abrams TD on another huge hole. . . Anotnio Turner 7 (Taylor). . . (Twos) Spurlock (running both the ones and the twos in this drill while Lane and Flatt threw on the top field) 3 keeper (Chris Bowers). . . Turner 15 (Bryant THomas). . . Turner 3 (Gary Riggs). . . Turner 6 (Brandon Thomas). . . (Ones) Abrams fumble on hit by Michael Bozeman. . . Abrams -1 (garrett). . . Turner 5 (Charles Clark). . . Turner 4 (Garrett).
In the running game drills, it was a see-saw battle between the offense and defense, as the stats show. The offense hit several big plays, but was stuffed on several more. Abrams showed flashes of why he was a highly-recruited TB out of high school with some shifty moves for two long runs. The player that keeps impressing, however, is frosh TB Antonio Turner, who began his surge Sunday and picked up where he left off today. Could he be in line for some PT? We shall see.
* In one-on-one pass protection drills, the OL had two players who did well and three that got beat by their defensive counterparts. Frosh Michael Oher stopped Garrett two times, and Bobby harris stopped Bowers twice in two tries. Jayme Mitchell got the edge on Tre' Stallings twice, Michael Bozeman got the best of Tony Bonds and McKinley Boykin got past Traxler both times they faced off.
* In field goal kicking, here are the stats we came up with. We are not searing by their accuracy because several kicks were very close and we were going by the reaction of the team. Today, if a kicker missed, the whole team ran a gasser. . . Matt Hinkle, by our chart, was 5-7, hitting from 25, 28, 41, 37 and 37, but missing from 37 and 38. . . Frosh Justin Spakrs was 3-5, hitting from 32, 37 and 37, but missing from 20 and 37. . . Will Moseley was 3-4, missing his first kick from 40, but then nailing three in a row from 37 yards out. Needless to say, when a kicker missed, the team wasn't real happy about it. "I was trying to create some pressure on them because that's what they will face in games," Orgeron noted.
* In team drills, the defense had a pretty good day. Here's the breakdown: (Ones) Spurlock incomplete under pressure. . . QB sack Garrett. . . Incomplete. . . Abrams 9 run. . . (Twos) Lane to Burnell Wallace 6. . . Incomplete Robert Hough dropped pass. . . Pass tipped at line by blitzing MLB Robert Russell. . . QB sack Dontae Reed. . . (Ones) Spurlock keep for 8. . . Abrams 10 run. . . McSwain 15 run. . . McSwain fumble Bryant Thomas returned for a score. . . Jamal Pittman 3 run. . . Interception Travis Johnson returned for a TD. . . Spurlock to Jimmy Brooks 9. . . Spurlock to Wallace 18. . . (Twos) Lane incomplete. . . Lane incomplete. . . Lane to Wallace 6. . . Lane to Mike Espy 14.
* The Rebs are scheduled to practice in shells tomorrow at 3:30 p.m.
Practice Report: Tuesday
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