It may not sit well with defensive coaches and offensive coaches, but head coaches love a back-and-forth, give-and-take, both-sides-producing practice.
That's exactly what Ole Miss Coach Ed Orgeron said he got today from the Rebels, who practiced in full pads during their fourth day of spring training.
"We had a great day. The defense started off strong again and the offense ended up strong, just like I want it," said Coach O. "BenJarvus Green-Ellis ripped off some nice runs as well as Bruce (Hall). We had some nice catches made by Marshay Green and Mike Wallace. And a guy who is stepping up is David Traxler. We moved him to tight end and he's looking very good. He's making plays."
Coach O mentioned in his pre-spring press conference that one goal of the offense, and defense for that matter, was more big plays. Has he seen some of that surfacing?
"Yes, we have. We've had some big runs, big pass plays and I think we've had more interceptions out of the secondary than we usually have in practice. I credit that to (DC) John Thompson and the pressure he's putting on," O evaluated.
"We are blitzing more in practice than we have in the past and that's good. Overall, both sides of the ball are making big plays and it's pleasing to see."
Junior Jamarca Sanford played linebacker the last half of last year. He was moved back to strong safety this spring. Has he picked up where he left off before last year's switch?
"Jamarca is doing real good. He's having a good camp. He's focused and he's comfortable," Orgeron noted. "Outside LB and strong safety are kind of interchangeable in our system sometimes, so I don't think the transition back should be too difficult for him, especially since he has experience at SS."
O was asked about the progress of the Rebel special teams. He perked up with his answer.
"We've worked on everything and we are pleased with the results. Josh Shene has looked good, Justin Sparks has had some good kicks - we are way ahead of the game from last year in the kicking department," he commented. "Things are fine.
"Dexter McCluster and Marshay Green are doing well in the return game, but it's drill work, not full team live right now. Marshay had a great punt return. Our special teams guys have a lot of confidence now. I think we can even do more things this year than we did last year."
Coach O has always said he wants the special teams to be a weapon and that started surfacing some last year.
"Special teams were a big factor last year, but I think they can be even more of a weapon next year," he assessed. "I think we are getting to that level."
With 10 starters back on offense, is O starting to see familiarity, etc, in those troops?
"We're seeing leadership, continuity and they are really coming off the ball. I think the offensive line could be and should be the strength of our team next year. I think we have some tremendous players along the front and that's a credit to (OL Coach) Art Kehoe," Orgeron noted. "What a change. It's night and day from our first year here. I give it to Kehoe. He does a tremendous job with those guys."
Orgeron said he's seeing the experience the wide receivers got last year translating into more consistency this spring.
"The guys are catching the ball. There aren't as many drops as there were last year. They are running the routes right, blocking like they are supposed to," he added. "We've also got some good production from our QBs. Today, Brent Schaeffer, Seth Adams and Michael Herrick all made big plays and did some good things."
The Rebels will practice Friday and then take off a week for spring break. Friday's practice, O said, will have quite a bit of live scrimmaging.
"We won't have a full scrimmage, but we will do some scrimmaging," he closed. "So far, I like the way things are going. I like the team chemistry and the way the guys are competing and having fun. The coaches are running around and getting after it.
"This is the hardest-working staff that I have seen in spring ball. Guys are working late at night and keeping hours like we did during the season to get it right. Our preparation for practice is exact. There are no wasted minutes in practice. We have to do that - we have to be exact and productive in practice and in our preparation and planning for practice."
Spring practice report -
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