Practice Report: Thursday

All that's left for the Rebs, preparation-wise, as they head on a collision course with No. 6 Alabama Saturday is tomorrow's walk-through. The Rebels practiced in shoulder pads and helmets today for a little under two hours in their last full-speed work of the week. Read about it inside.

Ole Miss Coach Ed Orgeron called his team "anxious to play" after today's practice in shells concluded this week's full-speed work in preparation for the 11 a.m. battle with nationally-ranked Alabama at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

"We had a good week of practice," Orgeron stated. "I think the guys are anxious to play Alabama. There's a great team coming to Oxford and we know we need a big-time performance in our stadium to come out on top. We're looking forward to it."

Orgeron said in Monday's press conference that one key would be eliminating penalties and carrying out assignments without major busts. Has he seen some of that in practice this week?

"I have, but we need to see it in games as well. We had eight or nine penalties last week. We can't have those against a team like Alabama. The guys have gotten better with their assignments and not making silly penalties this week, but now it's nearing time to carry that over to the games," Orgeron noted.

In going over some of the personnel issues, Orgeron predicted DT Jeremy Garrett and DE Corvelli Haynes, who have both missed a lot of practice this week with shoulder injuries, would play against the Tide, but he wasn't sure how much.

"LG Andrew Wicker will not play, but I think Jeremy and Corvelli have a shot," he stated. Haynes took more full-speed reps than Garrett, but Garrett did get some shoulder-pad butting in during the day.

Yesterday, CB Nate Banks sat out with hamstring soreness, but he practiced today and took a few full-speed reps. When he wasn't in at number 2 left corner, Terrell Jackson took his place.

Senior WLB Kelvin Robinson was not in a Blue jersey today and practiced full speed. He was in Blue all week, nursing a sore shoulder, but today he was in White and went with the number one defense all day.

Darryl Harris and Tony Bonds swapped up some at center. Both are nicked up, but both are expected to play.

After stretch on Thursday's, Orgeron has what he calls "Tough Man" competition. All the players circle around and he calls on two younger players to go one-on-one. Today, LBs Rogers Loche and Robert Russell locked horns and S Michael Hicks and FB Seth Michaelson battled. The older players love that brief period. "It helps get the juices flowing for practice," said O. "Watching that kind of comeptition and cheering your teammates on just gets things going in a positive direction." Loche defeated Russell and Hicks and Michaelson were a draw, by the way.

TB Mico McSwain has been struggling with an arm injury this week, but today he appeared to be fine and was splitting time with Antonio Turner with the number one offense.

With Wicker out, Thomas Eckers, who started the first two games at right guard until Michael Oher came on, will start at left guard in Wick's place. . . With Haynes' status still iffy, Chris Bowers, who started at LEO last week in Corvelli's place, will start against Bama.

If Garrett does not play, it appears freshman Peria Jerry and sophomore Brandon Jenkins could get some quality playing time on the DL. Jenkins is also backing up Jayme Mitchell at DE. Junior Dedrick Clark could also figure in on some DT snaps.

Freshman P Rob Park pooch punted today five times and landed all five inside the 15, three of which were inside the 10.

In team drills, there was not much to write home about offensively, but the defense was all over the place. On the first number one series, Micheal Spurlock was sacked twice. . . Robert Russell sacked Robert Lane on the twos' possession. . . In Red Zone work, a drive was stopped when SS Jamarca Sanford picked off Spurlock and returned the interception for a score. . . Lane was also picked off - by LB Quentin Taylor - on a pass tipped at the line by Jenkins. . . In two-minute drill work, the offense hade to score a TD from the 50 with one timeout remaining and one minute on the clock. Both the one offense and the two offense came up short. The final play of the day was a Lane pass being tipped and LB Dontae Reed making the pick.

There has been a lot of talk the past two days about QB Ethan Flatt getting a few more reps in practice. Coach O was asked point-blank if there was a chance to see Flatt in the game if the offense struggled. "We'll have to wait and see, but Robert Lane is still the second-team quarterback," he said, "and he will get the first look if the Michael is struggling."

The Rebs will have a walk-through practice tomorrow afternoon. There will be no practice report.

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