Practice Report: Tuesday

It's game week! The Ole Miss Rebel football team began preparations for their Sunday, season-opening matchup with Memphis today. Rebel Coach Ed Orgeron discused how the workout went. Read his comments inside.

Coach Orgeron seemed to have a gleam in his eye when he walked into the media room. It was apparent that game week has arrived.

"We had a solid day of preparations. This was the first day we put in the total game plans. I guess you can tell this is game week. There were a lot of players who looked good today (laugh). It is funny how that works. There were also a lot of players and things we need to work on," commented Ed Orgeron.

Was there a difference in the player's attitude now that it is game week?

"A little bit, not much."

How did the kicking game look today?

"Joshua Shene kicked pretty good. He had the upper hand today. Rob (Park) had some good punts. Those guys kicked pretty good today. They will continue to battle (for the starting spots) throughout the week."

Will the place kicking duties by decided at the end of the week?

"Maybe, it is just Tuesday. We still have a whole week of practice. Nothing has been decided (either way)."

The defensive line has been a concern throughout the fall camp and it continues to be a concern.

"The defensive line has really become more of a concern for us. We are really thin. We had some guys who were not able to practice. We just are not where we need to be."

Has Coach Orgeron ever been around a defensive line this thin?

"I can not remember one. I do not think so. I guess at Syracuse we could relate, maybe. We had a couple of Canadians (laugh) that could really play. It is not good. I know that."

Has a three man front been considered to help with the lack of numbers?

"No, I think we are going to stick to our system."

Are any walk-ons going to be a factor Sunday?

"We have a couple of guys that are really helping us. I think Andy Harmon is going to start on the kick off return team. He is going to be a factor. And Obviously Seth (Adams) is our backup QB. He will play a role."

Any walk-on defensive linemen going to contribute Sunday?

"No, I do not think you will see any."

Do the freshmen look like they have any nervousness in their eyes now that it is game week?

"No, I do not think so. I think our veterans are leading them along."

Rory has had a week of practice and it is beginning to show.

"I see a difference in Rory, but he still is not grasping the whole system. He is still behind a little bit, but he has the physical ability to play. He is going to play a little bit Sunday, but he is not ready to start. There is no doubt that he can physically handle this level. He is fast. He can run. He will hit you. He just does not know all of the plays yet. We will eventually work him into more playing time. And when he does, he will be dangerous. He will give us an added dimension."

Does Coach Orgeron believe in the old theory that the most progress comes from week one from week two?

"That is what they say, but last year that did not happen to us (laugh). I hope that this year we get better each week. That is a big goal of ours. It will be interesting to see how everybody does when the lights are turned on."

Will there be a lot of adjustments made with the personnel during the game once they get a feel of who can and can not perform under the lights?

"I think we are going to really need to be consistent. Especially your first game, you have a lot of time to think about the game. You start watching film all week leading up to the game. You say we need to check this and check that. And all of the sudden you get in the game and no checks happen. We have to be really careful to not over study our opponent. We need to focus on ourselves and keep it very/very simple and let our guys play."

What does the staff do during practices to create a pressure situation for the kickers?

"We have everybody screaming and yelling while the kickers are making their kick. We are trying to put a little pressure on them. If they make the kick, we do not run sprints. If they miss the kick, we run sprints. Just your basic stuff."

Coach Orgeron got excited when talking about his offensive line.

"We had a really/really good day on the offensive line today. We had a good day of practice today. We have really gelled there. I see a difference in the guys. I see guys who are bigger and stronger. We do not double team as much now. We have less zone blocking now. They have more of a confidence about themselves. They have an excellent teacher in Art (Kehoe). We will see what happens."

Will there be a rotation on the offensive line for Saturday's game?

"We will see what happens. We are not very deep there. There are not a lot of guys we can rotate in. We are going to have to keep them fresh and see what happens. It all depends on how long the drive takes. How long they have been out there. If it is a long drive, and they have to get right back out there, we might have to put some fresh legs in there. But we hope to keep them fresh and go with our best five. We will not have a set rotation. I do not think we are going to have a set rotation at many positions, if any. We simply can't. We are not deep enough to do that."

The receivers have been another worry during the Fall camp; any production this week?

"They are coming along fine. Dexter is learning his plays. We really will not learn a lot about them into we just jump into the season and see how those young guys react. Like I said earlier, some play differently under the lights."

Has Coach Orgeron ever been to a place where there are this many freshmen who will be counted on for the season opener?

"Yea I have been to some schools where they play a lot of freshman. We just are trying not to put them into a position where they are going to be counted on too much (laugh). Returners, I am very/very skeptical of putting a returner back there. But Dexter may be back there. We just do not know what is going to happen. It scares you, yea, although he has done a fantastic job during practices. Those are the things you look at. And then you have a new QB (Brent Schaeffer). Although he has a lot of experience and has started in this league. I think the experience he has there will be important. And we have a new right guard (John Jerry). How is he going to react when he sees blitzes coming from every angle. We are going to keep it simple."

Will playing in a home environment make the transition easier for the new players?

"I think so. I definitely think being under your own lights, sleeping in your own bed, and leaving out of your own house makes it all easier. We have had some mock games at home under the lights. I think all of that is going to benefit the new guys. But it is nothing until you go through it. I was a freshman last year (laugh)."

Will the players get into a comfort level when they get that first hit?

"I think so. I think the coaches will too. There is no doubt. Leading up to the game. The night before the game you are busy. I like to get to the locker room as late as we can. I want to get in there late so we can hurry up and get out there and play. The more you sit around, the more tight you get. Once you get into the game, you are fine."

And Coach Orgeron left with this closing remark.

"It will be interesting (Sunday)."

Yes it will, Coach Orgeron.

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