Practice Report: Thursday

Ole Miss wrapped up their full-speed practices for the week in preparation for their showdown with SEC West-leading Arkansas Razorbacks by working out in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium under misty conditions. Read about it inside.

Ole Miss Coach Ed Orgeron kept his positive tone about practices this week as the Rebels wrapped up full-speed preparations for the matchup with Arkansas in Fayetteville Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

"We had a good week of work and are ready to go. The guys worked hard and had a great attitude this week," said Orgeron.

The Rebels went on the road last week and played a solid game against Alabama. Does O see his team getting more comfortable with road games?

"Well, that was one shot. That's the first time we played that way on the road and we didn't finish the job," he explained. "You have to win on the road consistently to say you are comfortable and we haven't done that yet.

"I think some of the young guys were a little more composed, maybe. We'll see."

Each day reporters have been asking Coach O about Hog TB Darren McPhadden. What about the "other" Razorback RBs - Felix Jones and Michael Smith? Jones is avering 9.6 yards a carry and Smith 10.9, although they don't get the rock as often as McPhadden.

"Jones makes big plays. A lot of them. He's powerful and fast. When he gets on the perimeter, he's tough," said O. "Smith is smaller, but they run draws and quick-hitting stuff with him and try to get him in the open field. He's very fast."

The talk this week has centered around the Arkansas offense, but what about Reggie Herring's defense?

"They zone blitz, thy are good up front and they are fast as a unit," Orgeron assessed. "They have great safeties. They play man coverage with their corners with two safeties back there. Their secondary gets in your mug every down with press coverage by their corners but with safeties to help.

"Their middle linebacker is quick and Coach Herring moves him around to blitz him from different angles. He makes a lot of plays."

Coach O said the style of defense Herring runs can be feast or famine, but the Hogs have been feasting more than starving this year.

"When they are hot and hitting the right gaps, it's hard to deal with, hard to stop," he said.

Coach O was asked if there was any unit he was expecting to put things together and have a breakout game.

"I'd like to see us play a lot better in the secondary. We've practiced really hard there trying to shore things up. I think the secondary could be a key to the game," he explained.

Last week, Quentin Taylor was moved from WLB to fullback. O said Quentin has made strides this week.

"He's looked really good this week. He's the type of fullback we've been looking for. Quentin is low, tough and physical," Orgeron noted.

As far as the injury list, O was asked if he'd get any players back he wasn't expecting. The answer was "no."

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