Practice Report: Thursday

A major challenge awaits the Rebels in Tuscaloosa Saturday when Ole Miss takes on Alabama at 2:30 p.m. in a nationally-televised (CBS) contest. How have the Rebels done this week in their preparations for the game? Coach Ed Orgeron believes his team is ready. Read about it inside.

The Ole Miss football team concluded their full-speed practices for the Alabama game - this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in Tuscaloosa on CBS - and got a thumbs up from Rebel Coach Ed Orgeron.

"We wrapped up a good week of work. The guys were highly spirited all week and I think they are ready for the challenge," said Coach O. "We worked on a lot of things this week, things I think we can do well, but we'll see in the game. Some things are new that we put in and it's hard to judge in practice, but I'm optimistic.

"I believe we are going to play well. I really do."

Last week, the coaches had planned to get backup QB Seth Adams some snaps regardless of the production from starter Brent Schaeffer.

"That's still the plan this week. That will always be there, but we'll have to see how the flow of the game goes," he stated.

There is nothing new on the availability of WR Dexter McCluster. Orgeron said yesterday he didn't expect Dexter to play against Bama and he stuck by that today.

"I don't think Dexter will play, but (DT) Jeremy Garrett could play some. We won't know what to do because we'll be two-deep on the DL," he laughed. "Also, I think Jamarca Sanford will play. I didn't think so at the beginning of the week, but I do now. There's still two days until kickoff and that's a lot of time for things to heal better with the treatment they get."

Coach O was asked about the progress of Quentin Taylor, the linebacker who was switched to fullback this week.

"He's definitely going to play. He may play the first play. He's ready - he may have to be," said O.

With starting TE Robert Lane out for the Alabama game, how are Lawrence Lilly and Robert Hough doing in his absence?

"They are doing fine. Lawrence played good against Vandy and Robert (Hough) has done some good things too," Orgeron stated.

Coach O maintained he is as excited today about the upcoming game as he was Monday, when he declared he'd get on the bus "now if I could."

"This is why you come to the SEC, to play against the Alabamas and LSUs and Auburns of the league. We are excited about going in that stadium and taking on the challenge," he said. "I have never been in that stadium before. I'm anticipating a great crowd, a great day, a beautiful day. It's college football in October on CBS. What's better? This is what you live for."

What does Orgeron believe the Rebels will have to do to win? The basics.

"We have to tackle well and we have to match up with their receivers. They are pretty good. We also have to get something going on offense," he said. "Our OL is the same as it was last week, so I hope we get some continuity going there."

That lineup will be LT Michael Oher, LG Andrew Wicker, C Corey Actis, RG John Jerry and RT Maurice Miller.

"Mo is solid there, in my mind. It didn't surprise me that he did well there last week," he continued. "We've been waiting on him to come. Kind of like Brandon Jenkins, you know? Last week helped him a bunch - it gave him a lot of confidence."

O assessed Alabama's defense.

"They have great speed. They are always fast at linebacker and good at DB. They cause turnovers. They are the best team we have faced so far in causing turnovers," he said. "Joe Kines has been around a long time and is an excellent defensive coordinator.

"They attack on defense. They zone blitz and cause havoc and when you do that you have an opportunity to get a lot of interceptions and turnovers."

The Rebels will have their normal Friday walk-through in the afternoon in Oxford and then head for Birmingham where they will spend tomorrow night.

There will be no practice report tomorrow.

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