And even though a lot was accomplished, which we will discuss later in the report, the focus of the media in attendance was the semi-conversion of Robert Lane to fullback/tight end/H-back. (He also took some reps at QB, by the way, which is why we called it a semi-conversion.)
"Robert had a great day," said Coach Ed Orgeron when discussing the Lane switch. "He's tough, he's a competitor and he helps our team when he is on the field. What he has done is an unselfish act to help our team get better. When I approached him yesterday morning, I gave him the option and he said 'I want to be on the field.' We are going to get him on the field this week. When you move a quarterback, the transition is easier than moving, for instance, a tailback to a fullback like we did Jamal (Pittman) two or three weeks ago. A tailback only knows the tailback position. A quarterback has to know the basics of every position.
"Robert is adapting quickly and we intend to put the ball in his hands. This is not trickery to have two QBs on the field at the same time. It's not camoflauging anything. It is what it is - Robert is going to play fullback, tight end, whatever. And to be honest with you - and I told him this - I think he'd be an excellent linebacker too.
"To me, the move is a gift to our team. It's like we have acquired a new player. I want the ball in his hands. He wants the ball in his hands. He knows what to do with it - he's a very good runner with good hands. I'm very pleased with this."
Lane seemed as excited as Coach O about the move.
"I'm enjoying it. I don't like standing on the sidelines. When Coach O approached me about it, I told him I wanted to be in the game and I want to help my team," Lane stated. "I am getting more and more used to it. I can play fullback, tight end, H-back, wideout and still be a backup quarterback. It's exciting to me and I hope it helps the team."
The Lane move is one of many since the start of last spring, most notably Jamarca Sanford to SS from LB and CB, Kelvin Robinson to LB from SS, Darryl Harris from OT to C, Andrew Wicker from DT to LG, and Mico McSwain from S to TB, that have worked well.
"We've had success moving guys around and they have bought into changing positions because of that success. We've been right more than we've been wrong and that makes changes easier to sell, so to speak," Orgeron stated.
* LB Kelvin Robinson was in a Blue jersey today signifying no contact, but he will play against Kentucky. It's a precautionary move by the coaches to rest his sore shoulder.
* There was a rumor floating around about frosh PK Justin Sparks transferring. Rumor is all it was - Sparks was at practice today.
* DT Jeremy Garrett continued to work in a Blue jersey (shoulder problems), but he did do a little full contact work in team drills with the number two defense. During scout team work, he intercepted a screen pass and returned it for a TD.
* LG Andrew Wicker was dressed out for practice today and went through all drills and team contact work with the second team OL. Thomas Eckers, who started for Wicker last week against Alabama and had a fine outing, remained with the number one OL in Wicker's place.
* MLB Patrick Willis was dressed in a White (defensive) jersey today, but he did not go through any contact work. The coaches have opted to rest him some due to his finger being broken, another small nagging injury and the fact that without him the Rebs gave up nearly 900 yards of offense in two games. It is doubtful he will go through contact work tomorrow when the Rebs are in full pads again.
* WR Mario Hill returned to practice today after sitting out yesterday with an infected tooth. He went through all drills today.
* FB Jason Cook has his broken arm in a sling and is out indefinitely.
* OL Ryan Jones and OT Reid Neely are still out and have been all season. No word on when they may return.
* LEO Corvelli Haynes was in a Blue jersey (shoulder) today, but he participated in some contact work with the number two defense. Chris Bowers continued to run with the number one defense at the LEO slot in all contact work.
* Frosh P Rob Park kicked seven times in live punting drills today and averaged 38 yards into a noticeable breeze.
* Even though it wasn't totally new to him, the coaches opted to try Larry Kendrick at tailback some today in running drills. He produced a couple of nice runs, as you can read in the running game drills later in the report. Hmmmmm. Interesting, since that was a move in spring that was thought to have been shelved.
* The Rebels also had a very productive field goal period. Robert Bass was 10-12 inside the 45 from all different ranges and different angles. He only missed from the right hash from 33 yards out and the left hash from 44 yards out. . . Will Moseley was 3-5 hitting from 47, 50 and 57 yards and missing from 54 and 56. . . A real good day for the two FG kickers.
* In running game drills, the offense took advantage - somewhat - of Willis's absence. Even though frosh Robert Russell filled in admirably, the difference is obvious without P-Willie stalking from sideline to sideline. . . The following is a breakdown: (Ones) McSwain long TD run. . . Tuner 0 (Bozeman). . . Turner 1 (Bowers). . . McSwain long TD. . . Turner -3 (Bozeman). . . (Twos) Turner 7 (Tyson Andrus). . . Turner 8 (Tyson Andrus). . . Larry Kendrick - working some at TB today - 20. . . Kendrick 0 (Reed). . . Kendrick 0 (Jenkins). . . (Ones) McSwain 1 (Sanford). . . McSwain 10 (Charles Clark). . . McSwain -5 (Boykin). . . McSwain 6 (Sanford). . . Turner 10 (Sanford). . .Turner 5 (Pack). . . (Twos) Kendrick 2 (Quentin Taylor). . . Kendrick 30. . . Kendrick 6 (Rogers Loche). . . (Ones) McSwain 4 (Pack). . . Kendrick 9. . . Kendrick 5 (Taylor). . . McSwain 5 (Russell). . . (Twos) Turner 4 (D. Clark). . . Turner 1 (Peria Jerry). . . BenJarvus Green-Ellis 4. . . BenJarvus Green-Ellis 20.
* In pass scale, a drill with no pass rush, a couple of things stood out. One, backup QB Ethan Flatt was nearly perfect in 10 throws, hitting eight and having one drop. . . There was significant work in throwing to the tight ends, but that has been the case all season. For some reason, that option just has not materialized much in the games.
* In team drills, the breakdown was as follows: (Ones) Spurlock incomplete deep (McBride breakup). . . Spurlock to Espy 13. . . Spurlock to Robert Hough 6. . . Spurlock to Robert Lane 4. . . (Twos) Flatt incomplete under pressure. . . Flatt to Milton Collins 8. . . Flatt incomplete deep. . . Antonio turner 25 run. . . (Ones) Taye Biddle 18 run. . . McSwain 1 (Pack). . . Lane 5 run. . . Spurlock to Espy 10 (Robinson). . . (Twos) Flatt incomplete. . . Flatt incomplete. . . Flatt to Lane 8 (Dustin Mouzon). . . Flatt to Suggs 4 (Reed). . . (Ones) Spurlock to Robert Hough 6. . . QB sack McKinley Boykin. . . Spurlock to Hill 10 - Lane terrific block on Russell drew a loud response from onlookers, crunch time. . . (Twos) Flatt to Lane 12 (LeRon King). . . Flatt to Collins 8. . . Flatt picked by CB Terrell Jackson for TD. . . (Ones) Turner 0 (Jayme Mitchell). . . Spurlock sacked by Mitchell.
* The Rebs will practice in full pads tomorrow at 3:45 p.m.
|Photos by Chuck Rounsaville|