Practice Report: Tuesday

Oxford was washed down early this afternoon with a heavy rain, forcing the Ole Miss football team to move their full-pad practice to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Read Rebel Coach Ed Orgeron's comments about the workout inside.

"We had a very good Tuesday practice. The guys were spirited and running around well," said Ole Miss Coach Ed Orgeron after leading his team through the full-pad workout in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

Coach O said he's starting to see some improvement from some backups.

"Guys like (DT) Daverin Geralds are doing a lot better. Mico (McSwain) made some great plays today. We put (QB) Cliff Davis out there today to try to elevate his play and he made some excellent plays," said O. "I think down the road he is going to be a big-time quarterback for us. We took several young players and worked them in today and it was good to see their progress."

The Rebels are facing Northwestern State this weekend. Coach O was asked, with due respect to the Demons, if there was some hope in the back of his mind to be able to play the backups more in this upcoming game.

"We've played most of them already," O quipped. "I'd like to play some young guys more, but Northwestern has some key players at some key positions who can hurt you if you let them, so I don't know what will happen, but if we have the opportunity to play some backups more, yes, we will."

Coach O is glad to see McSwain coming on late in the season.

"It's beautiful. It's great to see him coming along. I always knew he could do it and I want to see him doing it more," O noted.

Last week against Auburn, the Rebel coaches played true frosh WR Shay Hodge more than RS frosh Michael Hicks. O was asked why.

"It all depends on what we are going to do on offense. We feel Shay can do some things better than Mike and Mike can do some things better than Shay. Against Auburn, Shay fit our plans better," Orgeron explained.

In the past weeks, Tight Ends Coach Hugh Freeze has been credited with several strategies and plays that have helped the Rebel cause, and more importantly, have worked. How important is he to the Reb staff?

"Coach Freeze is very creative. He's a champion and is running a good show. He's very valuable to us. I let him do a lot of things, and so does Dan (Werner). He has some great ideas," O said. "The more he has success, the more enjoyable it will be for him here.

"We like what he's doing and most everything seems to work. I haven't said no to him yet, we just have to be sure we are doing things at the right time that he wants to do."

The Rebel pass rush, or lack of same more accurately, according to O, has been somewhat of a sticking point with him lately.

"We are just not where we need to be on the defensive front. You have to have four guys who understand protections and run games and we just don't have the consistency we need there yet," O assessed. "You have to have four guys who play every down together and get a feel for each other. We're just not there yet, but we have made a commitment to stopping the run and are doing OK there.

"We're not perfect at it yet, but at least we are putting them in a position to make some plays or blitz them. We've called more blitzes, more than I want to, on first and second downs this year due to the DL not being as developed as we'd like."

Coach O mentioned Northwestern's offense.

"They do a lot of different things on offense. They can spread you out or whatever they want to do. They drop back, they run most everything - motions, shifts. They do a good job," he added.

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