Practice Report: Tuesday

Ole Miss Football Coach Ed Orgeron talked about 'turning up the intensity' in this week's practices as the Rebels prepare for the Georgia Bulldogs. Has he? Is the strategy working? Is he noticing any differences in the competitive nature of his squad? Read about it inside.

The Ole Miss Rebels practiced in full pads today and the workout left Coach Ed Orgeron in an upbeat mood.

"We had a really good practice today. I thought our guys came out there and did a great job. We had some one-on-one competition drills and I think they raised the level of their play and their practice," Orgeron noted. "It was fun to be out there. Encouraging. We had a lot of young guys making plays and older guys stepping up.

"It was a very physical practice - the type of practice I like. We were in full pads today and it was fun."

Coach O raised his intensity level - if that is possible - as well, it sounded like.

"I was getting into it as much as the players. We wanted to bring some passion and excitement to practice, like I know how to do. I believe you have to coach defense with an aggressive type of personality because that's the way you have to play," he explined. "We had fun and got after it."

Coach O is still trying to get LB Rory Johnson more involved and thinks this may be the week that happens.

"Quentin (Taylor) didn't have a great game against Wake Forest. He made some plays, but we have to get Rory more involved. We are going to see if he can handle it this week. Quentin has done a good job, but we want to see what Rory can do too. He's fast and he can run and we will just have to take some chances with him, regardless if he messes up some of the time," O continued. "We have seen offenses with lots of different personnel groupings - spread, two-back stuff, and so on - and he's had a hard time with his fits within the defense on a consistent basis. That's all. He plays hard, he runs fast and he tackles well. Sometimes he's where he's supposed to be, sometimes he's not. We want him to be right all the time, but we're going to see what he can do in a game regardless."

Coach O was asked about the lack of interceptions by the secondary this season.

"The lack of a pass rush has affected everything back there," he noted. "We still are lacking a dominant pass rush. That's one thing you can attribute it to. We have also dropped a couple of picks.

"Right now, though, interceptions are the least of my worries. We have to stop the run and force teams to pass. Then we will have to rush the passer when we get the run stopped."

O said the offense didn't have much opportunity to shine today because the defense set the tone in the workout.

"We had a good day on defense. The offensive guys are trying, but it's about time the defense set the tone in a practice," he said. "I talked to Dan (Werner) and Art (Kehoe) and they understand that in order to have a good team, you have to have a good defense. We don't have a good defense yet, so we are really working hard on the defensive side of the ball right now."

O talked some about frosh DEs Marcus Tillman and Greg Hardy and what they have been able to accomplish thus far.

"I expected them to be in the rotation this year so we could break them in. We didn't expect to have to play them every down, but that's the way it's turned out," O said. "I'm pleased with both of them, but Greg is really starting to come around. He's caused a fumble two weeks in a row. He's aggressive and plays with a great demeanor out there. He had another outstanding practice again today and is starting to set himself apart. We have had to be patient, and we've done that, living with some mistakes. They have had to grow up a lot - they have had no choice. We have had to put them on an accelerated pace and they have grown and responded.

"Georgia has two defensive ends in Quentin Moses and Charles Johnson who are very physical and are big-time SEC linemen - exactly what you want. We feel our two young DEs can be big-time SEC linemen in time. That's why we recruited them."

Coach O was asked if any other freshmen were catching his eye.

"Cordera Eason had a good day today. He's just at a spot where we have some other good players," said O. "Jonathan Cornell is also coming along. I've tried to find a place for him to play and have put him at all three LB slots. That's been hard on him. I think he's a true Mike, but he's not going to play behind Patrick Willis, so we put him at Sam and it's been hard on him to learn two or three positions. Now, we have him exclusively at Sam and he's making progress toward spelling Garry Pack."

Coach O was very upbeat about his team when he met the press after practice.

"I am fired up about this team and what we are doing here. I am fired up about our recruiting and the way we are going about things. We are building a team for the future and I believe in this team and in Ole Miss," he stated. "That's it. That's my demeanor and that's the way I'm going to be."

Have any redshirt decisions for the young guys been made yet?

"We have talked about it some, but nothing definite has been decided yet because we are so thin," he closed. "You hate to tell a kid he's redshirted and he calls home to tell his parents and all of sudden we have to play him. We have an idea of a couple of guys who are probably not going to play, but we are not 100% sure yet, so we aren't going to say."

OM Spirit Top Stories