In yesterday's practice, the defense was dominant at times. Today, the shoe was somewhat on the other foot when the Rebel offense went to the passing game during a two-hour, full-pad, full-contact practice.
"The offensive line did a much better job of protecting today, especially in blitz drills, and it gave our quarterbacks time to operate and complete some passes," said Coach Ed Orgeron. "We've been needing to see some production from the OL like we got today.
"I thought the defense still had the upper hand in run game drills, but the offense did a really nice job in live passing drills."
Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone concurred.
"When the offensive line held up, Ethan (Flatt) was very sharp. And it held up well today. Yesterday, we were just so-so because we weren't doing a good job of picking up the blitz. Today, we picked it off just about every time and Ethan and the receivers made the defense pay," noted Mazzone. "It was good to see that improvement because we will get our oil checked this weekend against Reggie Herring's defense."
Mazzone and Herring were on the NC State staff last year and went head-to-head every day. He knows Herring, now the Hogs' DC, well.
"His defenses always take on his perosnality - intense, aggressive. He will come after us every play," Mazzone noted. "We have worked really hard last week and this week to iron out the protection problems we have been having and add a few new wrinkles for Reggie's looks."
On the other side of the ball, the Rebel defense has worked rep after rep after rep against the Razorback running game sets.
"They are a physical bunch who will come straight at you. We have to maintain our gap control and be assignment sound and we've been working hard on those aspects," said Orgeron.
* Players who did not practice today were: DE Chris Bowers, FB Jason Cook, MLB Robert Russell, LB Rogers Loche, FB Kendrick Perry, TB Hiram White, LB Dontae Reed and CB Travis Johnson, who apparently has not healed from the injury he sustained against Auburn.
* TE Lawrence Lilly, TB Antonio Turner and TE Keith Houston, who all missed practice yesterday, dressed out today, but were limited in their work.
* With so many linebackers ailing, DE Lamark Armour and SS Bryant Thomas had to take some LB reps today with the number two defense. It was truly a makeshift lineup at times today on defense.
* Frosh DT Peria Jerry was dominant at times yesterday. He kept up that pace today. "Peria is really practicing hard - the way we want him to - now and it's paying off for him. He's going to be special now that he's learned what it takes," said Coach O. "He's getting better every day."
* TB Mico McSwain was still in a Blue jersey today, but he appeared "better" and more physical in contact drills than he was yesterday. . . LEO Corvelli Haynes, for the first time in two weeks, was in a regular jersey and out of the Blue jersey which means limited or no contact. Backup FB Seth Michaelson was also out of his Blue jersey and has resumed full contact work.
* The following is the breakdown from the run game drills. (Note: Larry Kendrick and McSwain alternated reps with the ones and the twos at TB). . . (Ones) Kendrick 1 (Boykin). . . Kendrick fumble (Sanford forced it). . . McSwain 1 (Bozeman). . . McSwain 2 (Pack). . . (Twos) Kendrick 1 (Armour). . . Kendrick long TD. . . McSwain 3 (Terrell Jackson). . . Kendrick 20. . . (Ones) McSwain 0 (Sanford). . . McSwain 10. . . McSwain 9. . . McSwain 7. . . (Twos) Kendrick 11. . . Kendrick 4 (Jerry). . . Kendrick -3 (Garrett). . . Abrams 5 (Jerry).
* In passing game drills, the following is the breakdown: (Ones) Flatt to Kendrick 12. . . Flatt incomplete deep. . . Flatt to Pittman 14. . . Pass breakup Nate Banks in place of injured Travis Johnson. . . (Twos) Spurlock incomplete deep. . . Spurlock to Suggs 8. . . Spurtlock keep 6. . . Spurlock to Abrams 12. . . (Ones) Flatt to Lane 20. . . Flatt to Hill 6. . . Flatt to Brooks 13. . . Flatt to Lane 6. . . (Twos) Flatt to Lane 40. . . Lane to Wallace 8. . . Lane to Wallace 16. . . (Ones - versus blitz drills the rest of the reps) Flatt to Espy 35. . . Flatt to Biddle 15. . . Breakup Banks. . . Flatt to Biddle 10. . . (Twos) Spurlock to Kendrick 20. . . Spurlock to Biddle 9. . . Spurlock to Abrams 7. . . Incomplete. . . (Ones - with Flatt leaving to attend a class) Spurlock to Espy 8. . . Spurlock to Biddle 18. . . Spurlock to Kendrick 14. . . Sack Jayme Mitchell. . . (Twos) Lane to Wallace 11. . . Spurlock to Lane 10. . . Lane to Espy 17. . . Lane to Abrams 12.
* The Rebels will practice in shells tomorrow at 3:45 p.m.
Practice Report: Wednesday
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