"These kids have hit enough since August. It's the time of year with four games left to back off on the full contact some," Orgeron noted. "We still have controlled contact and the guys know how to make the most of things in shells. The practice doesn't change much, except we aren't having as much contact. They need a break, this time of year, from that."
Beyond that difference, Orgeron was pleased with the workout on a bright, crisp fall afternoon.
"We worked a lot of third-down situations, some Red Zone stuff and we used crowd noise. I thought the guys responded very well and continue to have a good week of practice," Orgeron said of the roughly 2 1/2- hour session. "We are getting done what we need to get done."
* With Chris Bowers most likely out for the game against Auburn (knee injury) and Corvelli Haynes (shoulder) being in a Blue jersey signifying no contact, the LEO slot is hurting. "We are very thin there," said Orgeron. "I do think Corvelli will play, but Chris is doubtful. We worked Viciente (DeLoach) there today, but we may have to make an adjustment to bolster that position some. I'll talk to (DL) Coach (Ryan) Nielsen tonight and we'll see what we can do to help that area."
* TB Mico McSwain (shoulder) did not practice again today, but Coach O is still optimistic he will play against the Tigers. "I thought he might be back at practice today, but he wasn't," he continued. "I'm expecting him to play, but he needs to get back to practice tomorrow in order to do so effectively."
* In McSwain's absence, freshman Antonio Turner and senior Larry Kendrick are getting all the top reps. "Larry is very good on some plays and we intend to use him. He will get a shot at tailback and at wide receiver Saturday," Orgeron stated. "Antonio has had a good week as well and is running hard.". . . Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone was also pleased with L.K.'s work, particularly today. "Larry showed more today in terms of explosiveness and understanding zone running. He's good at making the first guy miss and he's running harder than he did last spring when we tried this," Mazzone added.
* QB/TE/FB/WR/Slot Robert Lane is wearing a lot of hats, especially today when backup QB Ethan Flatt had to leave practice early to attend class. "Robert has done a good job," said Coach O. "We've asked a lot of him this week and he has responded to the challenge. We're glad we are going to have him on the field contributing rather than standing on the sidelines sending in plays. He's too good a football player not to be involved.". . . Lane likes the activity and trying different things on the field. "It's been fun. Playing three or four positions did get a little mentally taxing today, but I think I'll have my assignments down by Saturday. I just have to learn a little more each day and stay focused. I feel good about the new stuff we are putting in and my expanded involvement," Lane noted. "I feel like I'm shifting gears a lot, but I also feel like I'm keeping up pretty well.". . . Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone agreed and the early plan is to reward Robert with extensive snaps. "Robert could be worn out by the end of Saturday," Mazzone smiled. "He's more comfortable at FB and TE and we're more comfortable with him there. We have expanded his play package and have involved him in more phases of offense, including the blocking scheme. It wouldn't surprise me to see him get 30-40, or more, snaps Saturday. He's done a good job."
* WLB Kelvin Robinson was in a Blue jersey today, but he took back over as the top player at that position today, as expected. Frosh Quentin Taylor, however, is ready to go if K-Rob should falter. Robinson is coming off a concussion he received in the Kentucky game.
* LEO Corvelli Haynes missed the first part of practice due to a class, but when he showed up he was moved quickly into the number one defense, replacing DeLoach.
* Before Flatt had to go to class, he was running the number two offense and made some nice throws in pass scale drills. He left before team drills began.
* TB Brandon Jacobs, for the second day in a row, was at practice. He actually got some number two reps at TB today, but it's obvious he's way behind the othe TB candidates in conditioning and play recognition, etc. It will be difficult for him to contribute at this stage of his comeback.
* Field goal work was limited today, but Matt Hinkle was 2-2 on his attempts from 20 and 25 yards out.
* The Rebels worked team drills with extremely loud crowd noise being blarrred over four big stereo speaker and with a 25-second clock. QB Micheal Spurlock had to call timeout a couple of times, but never had a delay penalty. The focus the last two weeks has been on getting the proper offensive personnel in from the sidelines on time, calling the plays from the sidelines quicker and Mike's awareness and recognition of the clock. The extra work appears to have paid off.
* The following are highlights from the team drills. Note: Spurlock was the quarterback on some plays with the number two offense while Lane was running another position. Lane quarterbacked the twos the rest of the time. (Ones) Spurlock to Biddle 5 (K-Rob). . . Spurlock to Kendrick 7 (Charles Clark). . . Incomplete to Lane. . . Spurlock to Kendrick 4 (K-Rob). . . Spurlock to Mario Hill 10 (Travis Johnson). . . Spurlock to Kendrick 9. . . (Twos) Spurlock to Suggs 7. . . Pass broken up by CB Dustin Mouzon. . . Lane to Matt Pierce 18. . . (Ones) Spurlock keeper 12. . . Spurlock to Espy 6 (Willis). . . Turner 2 (Willis). . . Jayme Mitchell batted down pass at line of scrimmage. . . (Twos) Lane perfect strike on deep post pattern dropped by Burnell Wallace. . . Spurlock to Hill 12. . . Kendrick long TD run up the middle. . . (Ones, Red Zone work) Spurlock to Hill 25 TD pass. . . Spurlock to Espy 8 (Johnson). . . Spurlock to Kendrick 1 (Clark). . . Spurlock 5 TD run.
* The Rebs will practice at 3:45 p.m., we assume in shells again, which is the norm.
|Photos by Chuck Rounsaville|