Practice Report: Thursday

The Ole Miss Rebels worked for a little under two hours today in full pads with controlled contact, wrapping up the open week practices. Coach Ed Orgeron will let the team off for three days to rest up for the stretch run of Arkansas, LSU and Mississippi State.

The Ole Miss Rebel football team worked out for a little under two hours today with a skeleton crew of three coaches. It was a full-pad, controlled-contact workout that concluded four days of open week practices.

"We worked hard on fundamentals, we gave the younger players a lot of reps and we repped the varsity units heavily this week," said Coach Ed Orgeron. "It was a beneficial, productive week."

The Rebels coaching staff was down to three coaches today - Orgeron, OC Noel Mazzone and OL Coach George DeLeone. The other six were on the road recruiting.

The Rebels were also without "a lot" of players. About 60-65 players dressed out today. The rest were sitting out with mostly minor injuries. Today, Coach O sent the walking wounded inside to work out in the weight room during practice.

Here's a breakdown of the personnel that was not available and some who returned to practice today after missing some this week: WR Milton Collins, WR Burnell Wallace, SS Jamarca Snaford, SLB Garry Pack, WR J.D. Lawhorn and TB Antonio Turner, who all missed yesterday, were at practice full speed today. . . TB Mico McSwain, FB Seth Michaelson, FB Kendrick Perry, OG Thomas Eckers, TE Keith Houston, CB Nate Banks, CB Trumaine McBride, CB Travis Johnson, MLB Robert Russell, DE Corvelli Haynes, DE Chris Bowers, TB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, OT Reid Neely, FB Jason Cook, TB Brandon Jacobs, WR Larry Kendrick and OL Ryan Jones did not practice today. . . OG/C Tony Bonds was limited in contact work as was QB/FB/TE Robert Lane and WLB Kelvin Robinson. . . Coach O believes a majority of the injured will be back Monday when the Rebs resume practice and crank up preparations for the Razorbacks. "Nobody can be hurt Monday," he deadpanned. "I think most of them will be back. We'll be fine.". . . The players who are questionable to return Monday include Russell and Bowers. Cook, Neely and Jones are definitely out.

In field goal work today, Matt Hinkle was the only kicker who got an opportunity to ply his trade and he made the most of it. He was 8-8 with the longest being from 42 yards out. Hinkle kicked all his field goals toward the North End Zone posts and Orgeron made note of that. "We kicked them all right down there," he pointed and smiled, referring to the misses against Alabama that were very costly.

Even though this was a week for the coaches to see the younger players operate and perform, and for the younger players to get some varsity reps, nothing will change with the redshirt plans for freshmen. "Unless we have to, we will not pull the redshirt off anyone based on this week's work," Orgeron said. "We are set on that."

And while the younger players did take a lot of reps, the first and second units also repped heavily to stay tuned in. The most notable was new number one QB Ethan Flatt. "Ethan had a good week," Orgeron noted briefly. "He looks like he knows what he's doing.". . . Flatt was not as complimentary of his performance, but he's optimistic he can improve on it. "I was inconsistent early in all the practices, but I seemed to get in a rhythm as the practices progressed," Ethan noted. "I'll work next week on eliminating my mistakes early in practice - starting out in rhythm. Overall, things went OK, but I can do better and will do better. I'm just very happy to have the opportunity to work the the number one unit and have an opportunity to show the coaches what I can do. I hope to use the opportunity to gain their trust in me. I feel comfortable in the offense from a mental standpoint, but I need to be sharper with my passing next week in practice."

In run game drills, as was the case this whole week, the offense showed signs of coming around some. Not leaps and bounds, but enough to be encouraging. Runs of 4-10 yards were quite frequent from all the backs. Alan Abrams, Green-Ellis and Turner all had productive weeks carrying the mail and the OL seemed to produce more of a surge off the ball, especially the first unit. It appears the backs are starting to get more of a knack for zone running as they exhibited more patience, hit their tracks better and used the cutback more effectively. We'll see, but this may have been the most productive week this year for the running game.

The following are some highlights of team drills: (Ones) Flatt to Hill (drop). . . Flatt to Biddle 10. . . Incomplete deep. . . Turner 16 run. . . (Twos) Abrams 3 (Viciente DeLoach). . . QB sack Gary Riggs. . . Spurlock to Carlos Suggs 10. . . Abrams 5 (Quentin Taylor). . . Abrams 1 (Dedrick Clark). . . (Ones) Flatt incomplete to Biddle. . . Incomplete deep. . . Flatt to Hill 8. . . Flatt to Espy 11. . . (Twos) Abrams 3 (Dustin Mouzon). . . Abrams 2 (Taylor). . . Abrams long TD run. . . Spurlock to Pittman 6. . . (Ones) Flatt to Biddle 12. . . Flatt to Pittman 15. . . Turner 1 (McKinley Boykin). . . Turner 3 (Jayme Mitchell). . . (twos) Spurlock to Matt Pierce 14. . . Abrams 4 (Taylor). . . Spurlock to Abrams 5. . . Spurlock keeper 10. . (Ones) Incomplete to Biddle. . . Turner 5. . . Sack Michael Bozeman. . . Flatt to Biddle 15. . . Abrams 4 (Garry Pack). . . (Twos) Spurlock to Pierce 7. . . Spurlock to Burnell Wallace 8. . . Spurlock to J.D. Lawhorn 10. . . Gary Riggs interception. . . (Ones) Turner 2 (Pack). . . Flatt long TD pass to Mario Hill. . . Abrams 12. . . Flatt long TD to Mike Espy. . .

(Twos, Red Zone) From the 20, Spurlock to Suggs TD. . . From the 15, Espy dropped TD. . . From the 10, Turner 6. . . (Ones) From the 20, Flatt to Hill TD. . . From the 15, Flatt to Biddle 12. . . From the 10, Flatt to Espy TD. . . Froma the 5, Abrams 5 run for TD. . . (Twos) Froma the 20, Spurlock to Espy 11. . . From the 15, Suggs drop. . . From the 10, Spurlock to Abrams TD. . . From the 5, incomplete in end zone.

The Rebels will return to their normal game week practice routine Monday.

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