The Ole Miss football team worked out in shells this morning for nearly three hours as the media, taking advantage of an open practice opportunity on Media Day, watched intently.
Note: This report will have no quotes about today's practice. Coach O, assistant coaches and players will meet the press this afternoon as the second part of Media Day.
* LG Andrew Wicker, WR Mike Wallace and TB Mico McSwain, who missed Saturday's scrimmage, were at practice today.
* In some depth chart movement from Saturday's depth chart, DT Hayward Howard, who did not participate in the scrimmage due to going through his acclimation period, was being looked at today at defensive end. . . C Corey Actis continues to get looks at both guard slots; OG James McCoy continues to work with the second offense as the center and the three wide receivers who lined up for the first offensive snaps were the trio fo speedsters Wallace, Dexter McCluster and Marshay Green. . . We saw no other movement on the depth chart today.
* Coach Ed Orgeron said after Saturday's scrimmage that the offensive line was not playing low enough. After today, that shouldn't be a major problem from this point on. Rebel OL Coach Art Kehoe had at least three periods of the practice working on nothing but staying low. Kehoe is fun to watch because his attention to detail is remarkable. His emphasis of staying low, hand placement, being square to the blocking target, shooting the hands, sinking, keep balance, angles and everything else OL have to do, is constant. In full-speed drills, he notices and coaches every point of a successful block and most of the time more than one player on each play. Remarkable.
* Right now, today - and it may change tomorrow, the two-deep on the OL is: LT - Michael Oher, Daverin Geralds; LG - Andrew Wicker, Reid Neely; C - Thomas Eckers, James McCoy; RG - Maurice Miller, Corey Actis, RT - Darryl Harris, Marcus Cohen. . . As Coach O said last week, David Traxler is not practicing.
* There has been a lot of talk about freshman OG John Jerry, and rightfully so. He's big, athletic, powerful and has a great future, but lost in the shuffle has been Geralds, another frosh OL who is impressive. He's powerful looking, he has a lot of energy on the practice field, he seems attentive to coaching, he's got good feet and he's hard-nosed. In discussing young OL, it's a mistake to leave him out.
* It appears, from today's drills, the QB situation is shaping up like this - Brent Schaeffer, of course, at number one; Seth Adams and Billy Tapp splitting number two snaps and Cliff Davis, Michael Herrick and Conner Wise working mostly with the scout team for now. As is the case with every position, that may change tomorrow. That was simply today's "depth chart." Tapp and Adams both made nice throws and completions in the last period scrimmage session - they both look improved from last spring. They appear more comfortable with the offense and more sure of where they are supposed to go with the ball in the passing game. All three of the top QBs made nice reads in the scrimmage and were succesful throwing the ball.
* Staying low a problem? Try this drill on for size. The Reb OL and DL went through a full-speed blocking drill under a rack that had a top on it about 3 1/2 feet off the ground. In other words, the linemen had nowhere to go but l-o-w. Good drill for staying low.
* The wide receivers did an average job in the scrimmage Saturday, as O pointed out. There were too many drops. That was not the case in today's scrimmage. In fact, there were two of three circus catches made today - two by frosh Shay Hodge, who really has a knack for going after a wayward pass. His body adjustments to the ball are excellent and on one catch today he leaped high in the air to snap a pass not many could get to.
* In the scrimmage, a guy who seemed to be hard to block was DE Kentrell Lockett. He was playing with the number two unit, but several times he pressured the QB into errant throws and once he batted a pass down at the line of scrimmage. Rangy, good-looking athlete. . . Frosh DE Marcus Tillman exhibited his athleticism too, batting a pass at the line of scrimmage and then making the catch for an interception. Nice play.
* WR Michael Hicks had a hard time hanging on to some easy passes Saturday, but today that was not the case. He caught everything thrown at him today, most for gains in the 16-22-yard range.
* DT Brandon Jenkins seems to be getting back into the swing of things now. He had a QB sack in the scrimmage and looked good most of the way through.
* The linebacker situation remains the same as Saturday's scrimmage. Robert Russell is taking most of the snaps at no. 1 MLB as Coach O continues to go easy with Patrick Willis as a precaution, Quentin Taylor is at Sam LB and Garry Pack is at the Will.
* The first impressions of the running back Saturday did not change with a second look. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cordera Eason, Bruce Hall and Mico McSwain gives the Rebels a stable of backs who can get the job done, in our mind. They have a tough mindset, probably set by their leader BJGE, they run North and South without a lot of jittering and hesitation and they read their blocks and holes well. First impressions sometimes do not tell the tale, but we feel comfortable touting the TBs as a good unit on this team.
* PK Justin Sparks had an exceptional day today, connecting on 6-7 FG attempts from various lengths and angles. Nice performance. His lone miss was barely wide left.
* P Rob Park also had a good day today - more consistent than Saturday's scrimmage effort. Another good job.
* We will post Coach O's press conference later today.
Practice Report: Monday
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