Pratice Report: Wednesday

Ole Miss Coach Ed Orgeron likes what he has seen thus far this week as the Rebel football squad prepares for the challenge of Saturday's Southeastern Conference game against the Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa. Read about today's workout inside.

Walking up to the Ole Miss Inddor Practice Facility, one could hear the loud noises familiar with Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Alabama fight song, etc., were piped in for the Ole Miss Rebels to practice to and it was loud enough to hear on much of the campus.

"We had it cranked up pretty good," Coach Ed Orgeron smiled. "We were getting after it today a little bit and I think the crowd noise got their attention.

"We used crowd noise last year to try to simulate being in a hostile arena. I think it helps."

Yesterday, Coach O stated he had moved Will Linebacker Quentin Taylor to fullback. How did the move look in day two?

"He looked really good. He's physical and it seemed like he has picked up his plays easily," O continued. "He did a good job of catching the ball out of the backfield. He will play.

"Quentin was a real good high school fullback. We thought about playing him there when he first got here, but we needed linebackers. Hopefully he can contribute to the team at fullback."

Coach O was asked who is backing up starting WLB Rory Johnson now that Quentin has been moved to fullback.

"The move of Quentin puts us a little thin there, but most likely we would move Garry Pack from Sam LB to WLB and move Jonathan Cornell up to the number one Sam LB if anything happened to Rory," O explained. "If we had to, Quentin could always move back to Will."

O said NT Peria Jerry is practicing this week and is looking a little better. He also said DT Jeremy Garrett, who was injured early in the Missouri game, was back at practice.

"Peria looks a little better. Not much, but a little," Orgeron stated. "Jeremy practiced a little bit today. He showed a couple of flashes, but I'm not expecting much from him this weekend."

O said RT David Traxler, who has also been out, practiced today but didn't do much.

Orgeron noted yesterday that he thought WR Dexter McCluster, who had a concussion on the opening play of the Vandy game, would play against Bama. Today, he wasn't so sure.

"I don't know about Dexter. As the week goes by, I'm not sure now. I'd say right now he is doubtful," he said. "He has a couple of things wrong."

The Rebel offensive line seems to be doing better run blocking than in pass protection. Is there a reason for that?

"BenJarvus Green-Ellis makes everyone look good. I think we are run-blocking better, but we are adjusting a couple of things in our protection package that should help," he said.

Orgeron said there would be an emphasis on the passing game this week in practice.

"I see a couple of things that look good in practice, but it's hard for me to tell about the offense in practice. You have to see it in a game when it's live and people are blitzing them every down," Orgeron said. "In practice, everything looks good, but what we have to do is execute in a hostile environment. It will be a good test for us."

In interviews with a few players earlier in the day, it's apparent the special teams fever has hit the squad. Everyone wants to be involved because of the recent success.

"This is what Coach Chris Rippon has been preaching here for two years. Once it catches on fire, everyone wants to be on a special team of some sort," Orgeron assessed. "Those guys are realizing they have the ability to make big plays. It's hard work, but now everyone wants to do it. That's good.

"Coach Rippon knows I want to have the best punt block team we can have. I love that part of football and think it's fantastic our players are buying into it now. At first, they think 'I have to do this.' Now, when we start making some plays, it's become fun again and productive. Now everyone wants to be a part of it."

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