The Ole Miss football team drew one step closer to their Saturday SEC showdown with rival LSU today by having a "spirited" practice during the first cold snap of the year.
"This is great football weather," said Coach Ed Orgeron after the Rebs worked out for a little over two hours in temperatures in the 40s. "I don't know if it was because of the cooler weather, but we looked pretty sharp today for the most part."
* The Rebels worked exclusively on LSU's offensive and defensive looks and added some flare to their scout team period. In order to get an even better look than normal, Coach O pitted the one offense versus the two defense, which ran the LSU defense, and the one defense versus the two offense, which simulated the Tiger offense. "We wanted a great look today so we split them up a little differently," he noted. The Rebel scout team does a nice job, but there is a difference in talent level between the scout team and the second team on both sides of the ball. Orgeron wanted more "competition" and got his wish.
"Jamarcus Russell throws the deep outs well and the deep ball well, so we concentrated on that a lot today. Our secondary has to play well, especially our corners. We had some lapses there last week against Arkansas and we are trying to shore them up," he explained. "Defensively, their line is fast and athletic and they have a good blitz package. We gave the offense all those looks today."
* Most of the contact work today was controlled, meaning the guys in the trenches were "live" but there was no live tackling and no hitting below the waist.
* TB Antonio Turner returned to practice today after missing last week and yesterday's workout. . . Senior WR Taye Biddle, who has also missed a couple of days with a banged up wrist, was back at practice today, but he did not take many live reps. "I think Antonio is ready to go. Taye should be fine by Saturday, but his wrist is still a little sore," Orgeron noted. "I think we are going to be OK injury-wise, except Mico McSwain and Lamark Armour. They will not play."
* Coaches always say teams improve the most between the first and second games of the season. That is believed to hold true with individual players as well. It is apparent, going by that line of thought, that TB Larry Kendrick, FB/TE Robert Lane and QB Ethan Flatt look sharper this week than last. "They've got at least one game under their belts as starters and are starting to get more comfortable in their new roles," said Orgeron. "Larry had two or three long runs today that I'm not sure he would have made last week. Ethan looks more relaxed running the offense and Robert is getting more and more of the package each week. We consider him a starter now."
* It appears the Rebs' first defensive unit will be all together and healthier this week than in past weeks. CB Travis Johnson is back and is 100% after missing the Arkansas game. WLB Kelvin Robinson has been hampered most of the year with a nagging shoulder injury, but has not been in a Blue jersey all week. LEO Corvelli Haynes has also shed his Blue jersey he's been wearing the past month or so in practices. The only player wearing a Blue jersey now is SS Jamarca Sanford, but he's not missing any practice or any reps and is said to be wearing the "do not hit" jersey for precationary reasons. Of course, all eyes are on MLB Patrick Willis and you can let your breath out - he appears to be fine. Willis is not favoring his injured foot in practice like he was in the game against the Hogs.
* The Rebs will practice in shells - shoulder pads and helmets - tomorrow at 3:45 and will wrap up the full-speed practice for the week.
Practice Report: Wednesday
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