Practice Report: Friday

The Ole Miss Football team continued their march toward the 2006 season today with another two-a-day practice day. Coach Ed Orgeron said it was another pretty good day for the Rebels. Meet The Rebels Day is tomorrow beginning at 11:30 a.m. in the IPF. Read about it inside.

The Ole Miss Rebel Football team went through a morning practice in helmets and an afternoon practice in shells today as they prepared for tomorrow's scrimmage at Meet The Rebels' Day.

Tomorrow's scrimmage will begin at approximately 3:15 p.m. The "festivities" for MTR will start at 11:30 a.m. with a box lunch and noon speeches by Coach O and Loyalthy Foundation Executive Director George Smith. That will be followed by the autograph session with the players in the IPF.

The scrimamge will be held on the practice fields because there is a high school jamboree in the stadium tomorrow.

Coach O was pleased with today's practices.

"The offense and the defense battled the whole way. We went through a lot of special situations in the kicking game and covered a lot of stuff there," he said.

Coach O was asked what the focus of the scrimmage tomorrow would be and what are some things he's hoping to see.

"We just have to continue moving forward. The starters will probably play more tomorrow than they have in the previous two scrimmages. It will be somewhat like a preseason game for us.

"I always want to see us take care of the ball on offense and want the operation to run smoothly. I want the guys to perform under game-type situations - see what they can do to make plays. I'd like to see some balance on offense and see us catch the ball a little better. I believe we have a QB who can get them the ball, so we need to catch it. On defense, I'd like to see us cause more turnovers and see the DL play better. In the kicking game, I'd like to get every phase covered and find our who are the guys we can trust in a full-speed situation."

Coach O has entered the post-practice press conferences this year with more balance this year in terms of a more constant tug-of-war between the offense and the defense. Last year, the defense "won" a majority of th practices. He likes that there is more balance on the team, it appears.

"The good teams I've been on before had daily battles and competition between the offense and defense. You could see it and it made everyone better," he explained. "I don't know if we are a good team yet or not, but we are getting more balance on our team. It's not like we need, but it's better."

As of this afternoon's press conference, Coach O did not have any official word on LB Rory Johnson's admission status with the university, but he's very optimistic the process is a formality, of sorts.

"We don't have any word right now, but I'm expecting it to happen soon, barring any surprises. I think everything should work out fine. How soon he gets admitted, we don't know, but all the paperwork is in and by our calculations he is a qualifier and should be admitted," Coach O explained.

More on the offense. . . .

"The progress of them is very good. I can't tell you how pleased I am with the staff. They have stayed on task and gotten their work done. More of them are helping on special teams and more guys are carryin their load and understanding the program," O noted. "I don't have to worry about the offense. Dan Werner works very hard. They have a system and it works. All I do now is go in there every once in a while and say 'nice job.' "

Coach O said last Saturday after th scrimmage he kept the defense vanilla. He said he will probably incorporate more to the defensive package tomorrow.

"It all depends on how we wake up in the morning, but I doubt I'll be in a very good mood," he laughed. "Really, we will discuss as a staff what eveyrone needs and we will give the offense what it needs. We will figure out what we need to accomplish on both sides of the ball and in certain situations and plan the scrimmage from there. We will probably give the offense a little more blitz tomorrow, but not a whole lot."

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