"The guys are working hard and accepting the challenges we are presenting them. I have liked the preparations to this point," Orgeron stated. "They are doing everything they can to get ready for Alabama."
Orgeron went through some of the personnel issues facing the team.
"It doesn't look as if Andrew Wicker is going to play. His shoulder is bothering him and he hasn't been able to practice," Coach O continued. "Thomas Eckers is doing fine in his absence. It appears (center) Darryl Harris will be OK - he's had two full-speed days of practice in pads and held up. (TB) Mico McSwain is also doing much better - we anticipate him being fine. Heck, there's 60-something hours before kickoff for him to get 100% (smiled)."
* CB Nate Banks (hamstring) did not practice today and is questionable for the game. . . DT Jeremy Garrett (shoulder) did not practice today and is listed as doubtful. . . WLB Kelvin Robinson (shoulder) was in a Blue jersey today and is expected to play against the Tide. . . DE Corvelli Haynes (shoulder) was in Blue today - his status is questionable. . . Senior TB Brandon Jacobs practiced today, but did not get any team reps. He seems to be making a slow comeback and at least he's healthy enough to practice. When he will return to full action is just guess work at this point.
* RS frosh Terrell Jackson worked in Banks' place at backup LCB; Thomas Eckers was at LG for Wicker; Chris Bowers was in Haynes' place; and Peria Jerry/Brandon Jenkins appeared to be taking up the slack for Garrett on the DL.
* In running game drills, the number one and two defenses were stingy today. . . Here's a breakdown: (Ones) Turner 4 (Charles Clark). . . Turner 0 (Bowers). . . Turner 1 (Bozeman). . . Turner 4 (Garry Pack). . . Turner 2 (Willis). . . (Twos) Abrams 5 (Rusell). . . Abrams 11 (Terrell Jackson). . . Abrams -1 (Russell). . . Abrams -1 (Peria Jerry). . . (Ones) Turner 1 (Jamarca Sanford). . . McSwain 0 (Willis). . . Spurlock to Hill 7. . . McSwain -2 (Willis). . . McSwain 6 (Sanford). . . (Twos) Turner 6 (Russell). . . Turner -1 (Dedrick Clark). . . Turner -1 (Jerry). . . Turner -2 (Jerry).
* In pass protection drills, we'll call it a draw. . . Tre' Stallings versus Jayme Mitchell, McKinley Boykin versus Michael Oher, Bozeman versus Darryl Harris, Eckers versus Brandon Jenkins and Bobby Harris versus Bowers were all 1-1 in head-to-head competition. . . It appeared Jenkins was working in the three-man rotation in place of Garrett in the pass pro/pass rush period. Is that a sign he's making progress? Orgeron said "a little bit" when asked. Senior RT Tre' Stallings said everyone on the offensive line has to do better in order for the Rebs to beat Alabama. "We are not getting beat as much as we are beating ourselves. We have to get our assignments down and execute them. We also have to concentrate more and quit doing the silly things that hurt, like me jumping offsides a couple of times this year. You just can't do that and expect to succeed on this level. We have a big challenge in front of us, but if we will do what we are supposed to do - in terms of assignments and execution and using good technique - we can do well. We believe that," he said. "Our biggest key right now is focus and to quit beating ourselves. This far into the season, all that stuff should be behind us. We want to play like we are supposed to play against Alabama."
* In pass scale drills, you can always count on senior WR Mario Hill to come up with at least one great catch. Today, he leaped over CB Trumaine McBride, who had him covered like a blanket, and pulled in a 20-yard aerial from Micheal Spurlock before crashing to the ground. . . Mario, by the way, will be 100% for the Alabama game and has been running extra sprints after practice to get his conditioning back to where it was before his hamstring injury forced him to miss two games and roughly three weeks of practice. . . Also notable in pass scale drills is how often No. 2 QB Robert Lane is going to backup WR Milton Collins and No. 4 TE Keith Houston. They seem to be two of his favorite targets, but WR Coach Matt Lubick said Collins still has some knowledge to gain before he can get many more snaps in games. "He's getting there, but the three or four weeks he missed with shoulder surgery threw him behind in knowing what to do, and that is so critical," said Lubick. "He makes plays when he knows what to do, but so many times he's lining up wrong or running the wrong routes, and those are things he wouldn't do had he had those other weeks under his belt. He's a very talented kid, but until he can get things down pat like the guys who are playing, I can't afford to give him many more reps in games yet. I'm very happy with his progress, considering his injury into the equation, but he's just not there yet."
* In field goal work today, the results were not very satisfying. Robert Bass was 2-4 inside the 32-yard range, Christian Alberracin was 0-1, Will Moseley hit his only try from 35 out and Matt Hinkle was 0-2, missing from 43 and 48 yards. A combined 3-8. Yikes.
* In team drills, it was either feast or famine for the offense, or so it seemed. . . The following is a breakdown: (Ones) Spurlock sacked by Sanford. . . Spurlock to Biddle 6. . . Spurlock sacked by B. Brown. . . Spurlock to Hill 13. . . (Twos) McSwain 15 run. . . McSwain 20 reception from Robert Lane. . . Lane to Burnell Wallace 4. . . Lane incomplete deep (Bryant Thomas breakup). . . (Ones) Spurlock to Biddle 7. . . Spurlock picked off by Charles Clark for TD return. . . Spurlock sacked by B. Brown. . . Spurlock to Biddle 14. . . (Twos) Lane to Robert Hough 8. . . Lane to Wallace 6. . . Lane to Milton Collins 50 TD. . . Incomplete deep. . . (Ones - Red Zone situations) Spurlock to Hill 7. . . Spurlock to Biddle 6. . . Spurlock 5 run. . . Spurlock incomplete in end zone. . . (Twos) Flatt to Wallace 12. . . Turner 14 TD run. . . Lane incomplete (broken up by Jackson in end zone).
* The Rebs will practice in shoulder pads and helmets tomorrow at 3:45 p.m. That will conclude full-speed preparations for the week, as usual.
|Photos by Chuck Rounsaville|