Practice Report: Wednesday

Coach Ed Orgeron duplicated yesterday's rugged practice today, but shaved about 45 minutes and 40 plays off the scrimmage at the end of the workout. Read about it inside.

The Rebels practiced for 2 hours and 15 minutes today - 45 minutes less than yesterday, but the theme of the workout remained the same.

Tough, full speed and lots of contact and no scout team work. Every player dressed out got reps with the varsity, something Coach Ed Orgeron said was beneficial not only to the players, but to the coaches as well.

"It's a good thing to get a real look at the young players so we, as coaches, can see exactly what we have coming back and to fine-tune what are exact needs are right before recruiting season," said Orgeron. "It is also beneficial to them to be able to improve and get real reps rather than scout team reps. It puts a little pressure on them to perform. It's good for them.

"We expect the scout team guys to know our offense and defense, but those expectations are not realistic. This scrimmage work during the open week allows them to get more knowledge and experience in our systems."

One player who has "shown out" the past two days with the scout team handcuffs off him is TB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, a transfer from Indiana who, as you know, is sitting out this year.

"I like seeing him rip off runs. He's an experienced player and a good runner. BenJarvus has a lot of things he can improve on, but we know he has excellent potential," said Coach O.

Green-Ellis had numerous big runs in team drills and in the practice-ending brief scrimmage.

The Rebel coaches took a look at freshman Michael Hicks at wide receiver today as well. Hicks was looked at as a tight end in August, but has been at strong safety most of this year. Hicks would be a big WR and appears to have soft hands. "We are not afraid to change positions of players, as you know," said Orgeron. "We are always going to try things and see how they work out. Michael has a big body and good movement. We'll see how that goes."

The Rebels were extremely short-handed today with a long list of players who missed due to class conflicts or injuries. Fortunately, the injuries are mostly minor. Most of the walking wounded will return to practice next week.

The following is a list of players who did not practice for injury reasons: WR Larry Kendrick (dressed out, but limited), TB Brandon Jacobs (dressed, but limited), CB Trumaine McBride, TE Keith Houston, FB Seth Michaelson, FB Kendrick Perry, CB Nate Banks, OG Thomas Eckers, FB Jason Cook, CB Travis Johnson, DE Corvelli Haynes, DE Chris Bowers, LB Robert Russell, TB Mico McSwain, QB/FB Robert Lane (dressed, but limited). . . The following players had class conflicts: LB Garry Pack, SS Jamarca Sanford, WR Milton Collins, WR Burnell Wallace, TB Antonio Turner and WR J.D. Lawhorn. . . .WLB Kelvin Robinson was in a Blue jersey, but participated in most of the work today.

Some of the assistant coaches left practice early to hit the road recruiting for the rest of the week. The Rebs will have a skeleton staff for tomorrow's workout. WR Coach Matt Lubick, TE Coach Matt Luke, DT Coach Ryan Nielsen and RB Coach Frank Wilson all left with about an hour to go in the workout headed for parts unknown to track down future Rebs. Luke recruits the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Lubick the state of Florida and Nielsen Georgia and parts of California.

The Rebels had two or three fundamental periods, a board drill period and tackling drills - all were full contact.

In run game drills today, the defense did a better job than yesterday, where the offense seemingly had their way with the defenders. But even so, the only two TBs available for practice today - Alan Abrams and Green-Ellis - still managed to break free for a couple of big runs each. . . Green-Ellis is a very patient back, but once he sees a seam, he has a burst of speed that is surprising when he commits to a hole.

In field goal work today, Matt Hinkle was 7-9 from inside the 40 and from varied angles. Robert Bass was 4-5.

The following is a breakdown of team drills: (Ones) Ethan Flatt to Mario Hill 9. . . Flatt to Taye Biddle 6. . . Abrams -1 (B. Brown). . . QB sack Gary Riggs. . . (Twos) Micheal Spurlock to Matt Pierce 20. . . Spurlock to Robert Hough 8. . . Green-Ellis 6 run. . . Spurlock to Jamal Pittman 7. . . Abrams 10 run. . . Spurlock to Carlos Suggs 80-yard TD. . . Spurlock to Pittman 2 (Dustin Mouzon). . . Spurlock to Lawrence Lilly 9. . . (Ones) Green-Ellis 50 run. . . Flatt incomplete deep. . . Abrams 7 run. . . Abrams 6 run. . . Flatt to Green-Ellis 9. . . (Twos) Spurlock to Pierce 6. . . Green-Ellis 10 run. . . Green-Ellis 0 (Viciente DeLoach). . . Abrams 21 run. . . Spurlock to Abrams 1 (Brandon Jenkins). . . Abrams 0 (Dedrick Clark). . . Abrams 5 (Rogers Loche). . . Green-Ellis 12 (Gary Albury). . . Green-Ellis 1 (Peria Jerry). . . (Ones) Green-Ellis 0 (Terrell Jackson). . . Abrams 15. . . Flatt to Hill 20. . . Flatt pressured (Bozeman) throw away. . . (Twos) Riggs intercept Spurlock pass return for 30-yard TD. . . Green-Ellis 55 run. . . Abrams 12 run. . . Incomplete deep. . . Abrams 20 run. . . Flatt to Suggs 12. . . Flatt to Suggs 7. . . Albury drops pick from Flatt. . . (Ones) Riggs QB sack of Flatt. . . Flatt keeper 8. . . Green-Ellis 10-yard TD romp. . . (Twos) Spurlock incomplete deep. . . Pass broken up by Tyson Andrus. . . Green-Ellis short TD burst.

The 15-play scrimmage with mostly players returning in 2006 went as follows. (Spurlock handled the quarterbacking since Lane was out): Green-Ellis 0 (Jeremy Garrett). . . Green-Ellis 5 (Loche). . . Green-Ellis 5 (Garrett). . . Green-Ellis 16. . . Spurlock to Suggs 3 (B. Brown). . . Abrams 11 run. . . Spurlock to Abrams 20. . . Spurlock to Lilly 25 TD. . . Spurlock to Pittman 6. . . Spurlock to Hill 8. . . Green-Ellis 4 (Dontae Reed). . . Green-Ellis 8. . . Green-Ellis 14. . . Abrams 32-yard TD run.

Junior MLB Patrick Willis was named one of 12 finalists today for the Bednarik Award as the nation's top defensive player. There are 10 seniors and two juniors on the watch list. "I'm proud to be in that group of players," said Willis, "but I'm more about finding ways to win than individual honors. There are some great players in that group, but I'm sure they would all tell you the same thing about winning being more important.". . . Willis is averaging nearly 13 tackles a game.

The Rebels will practice tomorrow at 3:45 p.m. in a workout similar to today's.

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