End of the week tidbits -

DE Greg Hardy appears to be OK; Maruice Miller will get his first start at right tackle; Peria Jerry tried to practice this week; Jamarca Sanford will probably not return for the Vanderbilt game. . . and so on. . . Read Ole Miss football tidbits from this week inside.

Tidbits from the week. . . .

* Earlier this week, true freshman Defensive End Greg Hardy was declared by Rebel Coach Ed Orgeron as "the best defensive lineman we have available right now."

That same day, Hardy inexplicably fell down a flight of stairs while leaving a class in Meek Hall and had to be rushed to the hospital for a banged up noggin.

In a year that looks a little Murphy's Law-ish, what else could go wrong?

Good news came out of the Rebel camp yesterday, however. Hardy returned to practice and Coach O stated the rising star is "fine." Greg is expected to play against Vanderbilt tomorrow in the Rebs' 1 p.m. game with the Dores. . . .

* Left Tackle Michael Oher has heard about the book "Blind Side" written about him and calls it "amazing," even though he hasn't read it.

"Right now, I don't have time to read a book other than my school books," he laughed. "I've thumbed through it, but all I saw were things I already knew because I said most of them."

Now, a movie will be made from the book about Michael's rags-to-quality life.

Who should play the part of Oher? Michael smiled and said "The Rock, maybe."

Oher has not let the attention go to his head. He's got bigger fish to fry - helping the Rebels win.

"My teammates have kept me grounded," he said. "After the football season, I guess it will sink in more, but right now my focus is on one thing - this team.". . .

* Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner saw some things he liked in the Georgia game, but he also saw some things he didn't cotton to.

"We were more physical than we have been all year and that's a very positive sign," said Werner. "We've been striving to show that. Obviously, we have to improve our pass protection in order to be able to take some shots down the field or people will just load and stop the run.

"It's no secret in this conference that you can't just line up and run the football every snap. We have to do a better job of pass protection, the QB getting rid of the ball on time and catching the ball. We have to get the passing game tuned up and functioning properly."

Dan said the Rebel staff knew, due to a makeshift OL, the Rebs were not going to be able to have all day to throw.

"We knew, because we didn't have any of our regular right tackles available and would have to play some musical chairs on the OL, that Georgia's pass rushers were going to pop free sometimes," he explained. "We tried to give the OL some help by keeping in a tight end and a back to help with pass pro, but when you do that you take receivers out of the patterns. We only had three guys in routes sometimes and Georgia was able to cover them in a zone. It was a Catch 22 for us.

"But even with that, we have to execute better and find a way to make it happen. We also have to get Brent outside more so he can use his athleticism. We want him rolling out or moving out of the pocket at full speed to draw defenders to him to open things up downfield a little. If they don't come to him, if they stay in coverage, he should run it. It's like the TD pass to Dexter McCluster. Earlier, he rolled out and stopped, which didn't draw any defenders to him, nobody got open and he couldn't run it. On the TD pass, he kept running and that put pressure on the Georgia defense to commit to coming up on him, which got Dexter open. Little things like that make a difference and he's starting to get it."

Werner said everyone - including Brent - wants more from the talented QB, but what we have gotten in the early going has been more realistic.

"We were hoping for and working toward more consistency, but what he's had to do has been really hard. He's only been here eight weeks and has done some remarkable things in that time frame, but the inconsistencies were bound to be there for a few games," Dan stated. "I have seen more signs of consistency lately and signs that he is coming out of his learning curve somewhat. I expect him to get better and better. If it were just Brent having problems, it would be one thing, but we've had problems with protection and problems with our receivers too.

"Brent needs to keep coming on and developing, but so does everyone else on offense."

One player who has reached Werner's expectations is TB BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

"He had a terrific game against Georgia. There were plays that weren't blocked as well as they should have been and he'd still get four yards and get North and South quickly," Dan continued. "He made my job esier because calling plays from second and five or second and six is a lot easier than calling them from second and 10 or 12. He's not a dancer. He gets what is there and then some more. He hits holes hard.

"Mico also hit it hard and got positive yards when he got in there, which was good to see. He's coming around lately.". . .

* WLB Rory Johnson gained his first start against Georgia. How did it feel to the talented junior?

"I was amazed. I didn't sleep all night after the game. My adrenaline was still pumping," said a smiling Rory. "I was so excited to get a chance to play."

Johnson said his performance was a "good start," with pluses and minuses, which he expected.

"I got out of position a few times, but I was able to make up for it with my speed in all but one or two instances," he explained. "I didn't make a lot of mental errors, but one is too many. I lost contain one time - that was really my only major problem. I knew what I was supposed to do on every call, but I hesitated a couple of times and you can't do that on this level because the play will be by you before you can blink. I won't hesitate next time."

Rory said he got a lot of help from MLB Patrick Willis.

"I love playing with Patrick. I told my Mom this was the first time in my life I have played next to a great linebacker and it feels good," Johnson noted. "He directs traffic out there and reminds everyone what to do. He's smart and that's why he's an All-American."

Linebackers Coach David Saunders said he was not surprised by Rory's successful debut.

"We knew he had that playmaking ability. We were not surprised at all," Saunders stated. "As he becomes more familiar with the structure of our defense and with different offensive personnel groupings he will see, his game will continue to improve.

"Rory is also the benefactor of being out there with Patrick, who helps him tremendously while he's still going through the learning curve and experiencing new things.". . .

* Nose Tackle Brandon Jenkins has found his game and it couldn't have come at a better time due to Jeremy Garrett and Peria Jerry being out with injury.

"It's all coming together - finally," said Brandon. "I continue to work hard, the coaches continue to work me hard and I can feel myself getting better. It's starting to pay off.

"Right now, I'm very pleased with what I'm doing. I'm not satisfied, but I'm very happy I'm getting better. It's been a long time coming for me, but the light is finally on."

Brandon had a rookie DT (Marcus Tillman) next to him in the Georgia game, but Jenkins said Marcus didn't play like a first-timer.

"Going into the Georgia game, I thought I was going to have to help him a lot, but he was amazing. He knew what to do on just about every snap and he played well for his first time on the inside," Brandon assessed. "He did good, real good."

Jenkins and Tillman basically shut down the middle versus the Georgia running game, but Jenkins said there's more to come.

"I haven't reached my peak and Marcus isn't even close to his peak. We are both going to get better and better, I believe that," he said. "We needed the type of performance we had against Georgia, but we can't stop at one game and get any kind of staisfaction out of one good defensive showing.". . .

* Freshman SS Jamal Harvey was abruptly thrown into the fire against Georgia when both Jamarca Sanford and B. Brown went down to injury, but he believes he responded well and his performance will pay dividends.

"When you play against the number 10 team in the nation as a true freshman, you get some butterflies, but after I got out there I realized I belong in the SEC," said the soft-spoken Harvey. "It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, but I'm not getting ahead of myself. I've still got a long way to go, but I have to say that game helped my confidence a lot."

After watching himself on film, what did he see?

"I felt I did pretty good. I tried not to make any big mistakes and I didn't. I had a couple of busts, but they didn't hurt us," Jamal continued. "I played real conservatively for a while, but the older guys told me to loosen up and just play my game. They told me you have to forget about messing up and just play. I started getting more and more comfortable when I quit worrying about messing up."

Jamal said college football is a lot different from high school. In high school, he was able to freelance some and roam around for the ball. Not in college.

"Everything happens so fast on this level. If you don't fit in your gaps just right, you will get burned. And it seems like every time you have a bust, that's where the play was called. It's uncanny that way," he smiled. "You can't freelance. Every player on the field is just as big and just as athletic as you are. Twenty-two guys who are just like you. If you don't do your job and do it right, you will get beat. It's really that simple.

"Right now, I'm just trying to learn and do everything I can for the team. Strong safety is Jamarca's position - he's a great player. It will help the team for him to come back 100%, but in the meantime I want to help us win. I found out I belong here. I just have to be patient and work hard and help my team.". . .

* Quick Bits: Maurice Miller has been moved to right tackle and will start there this week in the absence of Darryl Harris and David Traxler. Last week, Andrew Wicker moved from LG to RT, but Wick was missed in the pulling game from his LG slot and was moved back "home" this week. Big Mo has been an OG most of his career. Can he handle the tackle slot? We'll see soon enough - tomorrow. . . DL Peria Jerry has missed the last two games after trying to play earlier in the season with a multitude of nagging injuries. It was thought he might try to get a medical redshirt, which is still a possibility, but he did try to come back this week with a couple of days of practice. Where will this deal go? No telling right now, but Coach O said yesterday he doesn't really expect Peria to play aginst Vanderbilt. . . Grapevine talk has Harris and Garrett ready to try for a comeback next week afte suffering knee injuries earlier in the year. We'll see.

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