When the Ole Miss-LSU rivalry is renewed Saturday night at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, the Rebel players will be well-versed in its history, according to Coach Ed Orgeron.
"We have been watching past Ole Miss-LSU games as as team. We hae focused on the meaning and magnitude of this rivalry. We respect it and understand it," said Orgeron, "and the players want to be a part of its great history."
Consequently, practices this week have been upbeat and productive.
"We've had spirited practices this week. I think we are ready to go," Orgeron continued. "The kids have been into it this week. It started Monday and has carried through to today's workout. I was pleased with the way the offense moved the ball down the field in the two-minute drill and how the defense made several hustle plays today."
The Rebels normally work out on Thursdays in shoulder pads and helmets, but today Orgeron worked them in shorts and helmets for about an hour and a half.
"We were still full-speed, but we didn't have any kind of contact. We've had enough of that this week," he noted. "We just repped our offensive and defensive set against LSU's stuff as much as possible. LSU runs a similar defense to ours, so we feel good about our offensive recognition."
Orgeron "announced" a switch in the game duties of two coaches. DB Coach Chris Rippon, who is also the special teams coordinator, will be moved to the press box from the field during the game and Assistant DB Coach Tony Hughes will be moved down on the field from the press box.
"We needed to improve our third-down communications on defense. Coach Rippon has been a defensive coordinator before. We need his eyes in the press box," Orgeron explained. "That will not affect our special teams operation because each coach has a responsibility in calling up and getting ready the different special teams, so nothing will change there."
* It appears a change will be made Saturday at the center slot. Sophomore Darryl Harris has been starting there the past few games, but the Rebs have been working senior Tony Bonds at the number one center position most of this week and all of today. Normally, any depth chart move you see on Thursday will stick through the following game. Darryl worked some at backup center and some backing up both guards this week.
* WR Taye Biddle missed some work this week with a wrist injury, but he was back in the rotation with the top receivers today. He and frosh Burnell Wallace were splitting some reps. It appears Taye will be ready to play and Burnell will also get more snaps against the Tigers.
* The Rebs' regular number one defense appears to be healthy - or almost healthy - and ready to roll against the Tigers. MLB Patrick Willis isn't favoring his foot nearly as much this week as last, CB Travis Johnson practiced full speed the past three days after missing last week with a hamstring injury and SS Jamarca Sanford, who was in a Blue jersey yesterday, was "OK" today. . . For precautionary measures, though, Garry Pack was pulling double duty in practice today. He was the SLB with the first unit, but was repping at MLB with the second team just in case Willis experiences a setback with his foot. If that were to happen, Pack would move inside and frosh Quentin Taylor would move up to number one SLB.
* MLB Robert Russell, TB Mico McSwain and DE Lamark Armour will not play against LSU, but Tb Antonio Turner and LEO Chris Bowers will be available after missing the Arkansas game.
* It appears that Larry Kendrick will get his second start at TB, but it is also encouraging to see Turner available again. The Rebels backs, particularly Kendrick, have worked double duty on pass protection this week in the hope that area won't be a problem this week as it was against the Hogs.
* QB Ethan Flatt will also get his second start. As we said in yesterday's report, Ethan seems more comfortable with his starting role this week. He said after the Arkansas game that he should have accepted having to throw the ball away a couple of more times instead of taking a sack. This week he has been more aware of that philosophy and appears to have gotten a better sense of feeling the pressure.
* The Rebs will have their normal walk-through tomorrow. There will be no practice report.
Practice Report: Thursday
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