Practice Report: Tuesday

Tuesdays of game preparation weeks are full-pad, full-contact days for the Rebels. This Tuesday, with the Rebs getting ready for their stiffest challenge of the year in Tennessee at Knoxville, Coach Ed Orgeron put the Rebs through a 2 1/2 hour practice that netted good results. Read about it inside.

The goal for this week for the Ole Miss Rebel football team is pretty simple. Get better. Get a lot better.

Can that be accomplished? We shall see, but the team took a step in that direction with an upbeat, fast-paced, 2 1/2 hour workout in full pads on "Competition Tuesday."

"We worked hard on third down situations and did some good things on both sides of the ball," said Coach Ed Orgeron. "We also had a pretty good run period. Again, both sides of the ball had their moments. We worked the fundamentals of tackling for a long period and worked a long period of service teams where we went over a lot of Tennessee looks. For the most part, it was a productive day."

Orgeron watched the UT-LSU game last night and knows the importance of his Rebs playing better than they have in the opening three games.

"UT competed the whole game and came out of halftime down 21-0 with fire in their eyes," he continued. "I am very impressed with their will to win and their talent level. They played brilliant defense in the fourth quarter and Riggs is a great running back.

"On defense, we will have to stop the run first and foremost, but their wide receivers are fast and athletic and their quarterbacks deliver the ball on time. We've got our hands full, but that's the challenge of playing in this league. We have to get ready for that challenge and seize the opportunity."

Orgeron and staff moved junior Jamal Pittman to FB/H-Back today and was pleased with the results.

"We are going with the two young guys at tailback and Jamal needs an opportunity to get on the field. This is his opportunity. He is receptive to helping the team any way he can," Coach O stated. "He can be a ballcarrier at that position and he's got good hands for receiving out of the backfield. He's not a fast TB, but he can be a fast FB or H-Back. We'll see how it goes, but we are excited about it."

SS Jamarca Sanford came back to practice full speed today and Orgeron was pleased with what he saw.

"Jamarca looks to be ahead of schedule on his rehab. It was good to have him back there tackling people - he's one of our better tacklers and it makes a difference in our defense," Orgeron explained.

RB Coach Frank Wilson is also pleased with the move.

"Our young backs - Mico McSwain and Antonio Turner - are learning more and more each day and we are making a commitment to them as long as they continue to progress," he said. "Mico is becoming a better inside runner by the snap and is learning all of the offense. He's getting a heavy dose of everything this week and has responded so far. Antonio is a throwback kind of tailback. He's not a blazer, but he has enough speed to get you 20-25 when he breaks one. He's also a tough guy who likes to hit it up in there and get you the sure five-yard gain. His vision and knowledge of the game has improved drastically.

"As for Jamal, we can use him at H-back or fullback and I think he can helps us. He understands what we are doing and gives us more of a threat as a ballcarrier at either of those positions. I think it's a great move for Jamal."

Jamal said he's going to work hard and make the most of the opportunity.

"My goal is to do anything that will help this team. I'm getting an opportunity to play and that's all I care about," he said. "I'll do what I have to to get on the field."

Random Notes:

* WR Mario Hill dressed out today, but did not make it through practice before he was pulled for precautionary reasons. . . MLB Patrick Willis is slowly progressing and is running on the sidelines more, but he did not practice today and is doubtful for the UT game. . . SS/FS B. Brown did not practice today but is expected back soon, maybe as early as tomorrow, after minor surgery to remove a cyst. . . TB Brandon Jacobs is still overcoming his illness and was not at practice today. . . FS Charles Clark practiced but was in a Blue jersey signifying no contact. He is expected to start against UT and practiced with the number one defense today. . . OT Reid Neely and OL Ryan Jones did not practice.

* Based on practice today, it appears the wide receiver rotation for the UT game will include junior speedster Milton Collins, who finally seems to be healthy and is going through full contact practices. He made two or three very nice catches today, including a long catch-and-run from QB Micheal Spurlock in team drills. . . Frosh WR Burnell Wallace also appears to be on the cusp of breaking into the rotation along with Hill, Mike Espy, Taye Biddle, Larry Kendrick and Collins.

* Just to get you updated, the following players were the number one defense and offense. (Defense) DE Jayme Mitchell, DT McKinley Boykin, NT Michael Bozeman, LEO Corvelli Haynes, SLB garry pack, MLB Robert Russell/Dontae Reed, WLB Kelvin Robinson, SS Jamarca Sanford, FS Charles Clark, CBs Trumaine McBride and Travis Johnson. . . . (Offense) LT Bobby Harris, LG Darryl Harris, C Tony Bonds, RG Michael Oher, RT Tre' Stallings, TE Robert Hough, WRs Espy, Biddle, Kendrick, TB Mico McSwain, FB Jason Cook, QB Micheal Spurlock.

* For now, Boykin has regained his starting slot due to better health and conditioning - and better results in practice because of the former reasons. "I can make it through a practice now without hurting too much and without getting fatigued as much," McKinley noted bluntly. "I feel more like my old self now."

* In punting drills, Will Moseley kicked five times for a 37-yard average. Frosh Rob Park continued his improvement and had a monster day, kicking four times for a 48.7 yard average. Park appears to be more comfortable and relaxed and it's showing in the last few practices.

* In running game drills, the defense had a pretty good day, but toward the end the offense finally got untracked a little. Here's a breakdown: (Ones) McSwain 0 (Bozeman). . . McSwain 1 (Robinson). . . McSwain 0 (Bozeman). . . Turner fumble on exchange (Russell recovered). . . (Ones vs two D) McSwain 1 (Garrett). . . McSwain 10. . . (Twos) Turner 0 (Dedrick Clark). . . Turner -1 (Peria Jerry). . . Abrams 12. . . Abrams 6. . . (Ones) Turner 8. . . Turner 20. . . Turner 0 (Sanford). . . (Twos) Abrams 1 (Lamark Armour). . . Abrams 2 (Garrett). . . Pittman 6. . . Pittman long TD.

In 7-on-7 pass scale, the following is the breakdown: (Ones) Spurlock to Biddle 25. . . Spurlock to Kendrick 10. . . Spurlock to Cook 7. . . Spurlock to Espy 7. . . Spurlock to Collins 5. . . (Twos) Lane to Collins 20. . . Lane to Turner 7. . . Incomplete. . .Flatt pass broken up by Pack. . . Flatt to Brooks 9. . . Flatt to Espy 8. . . Incomplete. . . (Ones) Spurlock to Suggs 15. . . Spurlock broken up by Mouzon. . . Spurlock to Cook 10. . . Spurlock broken up by Banks. . . Spurlock broken up by Banks again. . . Spurlock to Espy 10.

* In field goal kicking, Robert Bass was 6-10, hitting from 20, 28, 28, 30, 38 and 45 yards. He missed from 31, 38, 41 and 47. . . Will Moseley hit from 50 out and missed from 52 and 54.

* In team drills, here's the rundown: (Ones) Spurlock sacked by Sanford -12. . . Incomplete. . . Spurlock to Kendrick 9. . . Incomplete. . . (Twos) Lane to Kendrick 12. . . Lane to Suggs 8. . . Incomplete. . . Lane to Collins 10. . . (Ones) Incomplete deep. . . Spurlock to McSwain 8 (Sanford). . . Spurlock to McSwain 1 (Reed). . . Pass broken up by K-Rob. . . (Twos) Lane pass batted down by Garrett. . . Turner 7 run. . . Lane to Suggs 14. . . Lane to Suggs 4. . . (Ones) Incomplete. . . Spurlock to Biddle 13. . Spurlock to Espy 11. . . Incomplete. . . Spurlock to Suggs 18. . . Spurlock to Collins long TD on catch and run. . . Spurlock pass batted down by Jerry.

OM Spirit Top Stories