The open week was apparently good to the Ole Mss football team, according to Rebl Coach Ed Orgeron, who worked out a fresher and healthier team this week in preparation for the annual battle with rival LSU.
"We had a good week of work. It was good to have some guys back to add some depth to our offensive and defensive lines," said Coach O. "We needed to get some guys healthy and refreshed. We also needed to practice with some energy and enthusiasm, which we did."
Coach O singled out two players today in his post-practice session with the media - freshman LB Jonathan Cornell and sophomore WR Mico McSwain.
"Jonathan Cornell had an excellent week of practice. He really came along and progressed this week," said Orgeron. "Mico also looked better out at wide receiver. He had some good catches and made plays."
The Rebels also saw the "return" of DTs Peria Jerry and Jeremy Garrett. Peria has been injured all year, and still is, but is "better" this week after a week off. Garrett missed some games, then came back for a week, then missed another, but obviously the open week went a long way in his healing process as well.
"Having those two at defensive tackle this week gives our defense some confidence. It also allows us to have a rotation at DT. We'll see what happens in the game, but it's good to have them," O stated.
LSU's defense presents a lot of problems. What do the Rebels have to do to counteract their prowess?
"We have to manage the offense effectively. We have to get the play in on time and not get rattled. We have to be cool and confident under fire," he said. "They may make a play or two on defense and it's important to put it behind you and keep on going.
"We also have to be able to throw the football on time and accurately. We have to take care of the ball. They will throw some wrinkles at us, and will sometimes show one thing and run another. Sometimes you can pick it up and sometimes you can't, but it's more a matter of managing their speed. They do the same things other people do, they just do them a little faster."
What are the Rebel keys on defense against a powerful LSU offense?
"We have to eliminate the big plays and we have to do a good job on their receivers. We have to tackle well on their big backs and their huge QB - the same stuff you always have to do, really," he said.
LSU's freshman RB Keiland Williams has apparently taken over a bigger role in the Tiger backfield, but Orgeron said there are plenty of other weapons to contend with too.
"All of a sudden, Keiland seems to be their guy. The last two or three games, they have gone to him heavily. At first it looked like they were going to redshirt him, but they haven't," O said. "But they have plenty of backs. They rotate a lot of guys, like Alley Broussard and Justin Vincent and Jacob Hester. They are loaded at running back.
"And then you have to tackle JaMarcus Russell, who is a 6-6, 260-pound QB and looked to be the biggest guy on the field when we played them last year. You have to have good technique and run through him or you will slide right off him. I never thought I'd see the day of QBs being that big."
DE Chris Bowers and WR Dexter McCluster will not play in the contest, but Orgeron said the Rebs are healthier than they have been "in a while."
The Rebs will ahve their normal walk-through practice in the morning in Oxford, then bus to Baton Rouge and have a walk-through there as well.
Kickoff is 7 p.m. Saturday.
Practice Report: Thursday
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