Random Notes. . .
* Rebel NT Peria Jerry has proven to me, and all around him, that he is one tough cookie. Peria has had multiple injuries this season and has not been able to practice any, yet every Saturday he gets bandaged up and gets in the trenches for the Rebels, despite being "about 50 percent," according to Rebel Coach Ed Orgeron. Lesser men would not attempt to play. Peria will have it no other way, but he admitted this week it's been hard.
"Going through this is tough, it's hard," he said. "I haven't been 100% since I've been at Ole Miss, it seems like. I would like to know what it's like to play healthy again, but I'm handling it OK. It is what it is and I just have to fight through it."
The odds of him healing up this year are slim, but he's determined to see the season through the best he can and heal up after the season. "I have to do what I can do to help my team," he continued. "I just wish I could help more and play to what I know my potential is."
How much difference would a healthy Peria Jerry make? He and Coach O believe "a lot."
"Peria was dominant in spring. He's the kind of talent who would have been better than good had he stayed healthy this year," Coach O said.
As it is, Peria will hobble out there tomorrow and give the team all he has. Hats off to that kind of effort.
* Running Back Coach Frank Wilson's group has been one of the bright spots on the team thus far this season. The Rebs have had a pair of 200-yard rushing games and had a little bit of a running game going against Missouri until the coaches were forced to shift gears to more passing when the Rebels fell behind.
"The only thing that really matters is to win, but I do think we are making progress in the rushing game. We are still not where we want to be, but I think we will continue to improve," said Wilson. "It's a pleasant surprise to have another young man, Bruce Hall, step up and produce. We're pleased with BenJarvus (Green-Ellis) and Bruce and all of them.
"Bruce is a blue collar worker. He will do anything and everything we ask of him, and more. He's diligent and he's eager. He has stayed the course and has continued to work hard. He's hungry and humble. When an opportunity came around for him last week, he produced. I couldn't ask much more of him."
Wilson said Mico McSwain and Cordera Eason are right there too.
"We haven't been able to rotate the backs like we've wanted to. BenJarvus has been producing and we've been in close games that we felt we needed to stay with him, but any of those four, we believe, can get the job done in the right circumstances," he explained.
* Starting RT Darryl Harris will not play this week. He's out with an injury, but he believes his replacement, David Traxler, will take his spot and not miss a beat.
"David doesn't have a lot of experience, but he learns quickly and he listens when you try to help him," said Harris. "He did a real good job at Kentucky and has had a good week of practice. I've been trying to help him with his assignments and techniques as much as I can, but he seems to have everything down for the Wake Forest game. I look for him to do a real good job and for the offense not to miss a beat with him in there."
* QB Brent Schaeffer had problems taking care of the football last week. He wants to redeem himself tomorrow.
"I have a sense of urgency to get back on the field and correct my mistakes from last week," said the soft-spoken Schaeffer. "We did a lot of good things last week, but I didn't take care of the ball. That is my goal this week. I have been working hard this week on making sure I keep both hands on the ball in the pocket and in traffic. I got careless a couple of times last week and that won't get it done."
Schaeffer likes the way the offense is evolving in terms of more guys getting involved.
"All the receivers have tasted some success and have worked hard to get better in practice. We're starting to get our timing down better and we are feeling more and more comfortable with each other," he continued. "I'm starting to be able to read them better and they are starting to get some chemistry with me. It's coming.
"My development in the offense has given me more confidence to know where everyone is and to go through my progressions better. We're getting there, but we're basically still working to get done what should have been done in spring had I been here."
* Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner said Monday that ball security would be priority number one in practice this week, but that is nothing new.
"We always stress taking care of the ball. We do drills every day. We expect it to be good. It has been good in practice. I have never been in a program that stresses ball security more than this one. Coach Orgeron mandates that and I'm glad he does. It's number one in offensive football," Werner explained. "We have redoubled our efforts this week. All we can do is keep working it and pounding it into their heads. We'll get it right."
On the offsides penalties experienced against Kentucky, both Werner and O have addressed those things.
"We really only had one guy having problems. I think the noise level kind of shook him a little, but we've addressed those things and will pipe in crowd noise for all road games from now on in pactice," he said.
Prior to the season, the battle cry around the offense was that the tight end would be used more. Thus far, it hasn't worked out that way, but Werner said it's not for a lack of trying.
"We called quite a few plays against Kentucky and Missouri where the tight end was the first progression, but they have been covered up or Brent missed him. We just need to keep working on it. Also, when he's covered, usually someone else is open and that has attributed to us being able to spread the ball around to other players a little more in the last two games," Werner stated.
Dan thinks it's only a matter of time before the offense clicks the way he expects it to.
"The kids have bought in and have continued to improve each week. I think we can be a good offense if we stay on that path," he allowed. "Do you ever reach your full potential? I don't think so, but I do think we can keep getting better each week and just see how far we can take it.
"One thing I have liked that is starting to pay off is that our wide receivers - even as young as they are - realize that no matter which progression they are on a play, with Brent at QB, they can get the ball thrown to them at any time if they work to get open. We had two or three completions the other night against Kentucky to fourth and fifth progressions on the play. The wide receivers kept working to get open and Brent got them the ball. They understand that mindset and that's good to see."
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