The following are comments by Ole Miss Coach Ed Orgeron following the third practice of the August camp Monday evening. The Rebels donned shoulder pads for the first time today.
Coach O: We put on the shoulder pads today and did a little one-on-one drill at the beginning of practice. Most of the new guys got some hitting in and it was fun. The team was fired up and it was good to see the guys competing. I thought Tony Fein had a big-time day today. He made some plays out there. You could see the difference in his attitude when he put on the shoulder pads. I will have to look at the films, but he had a great day today. Some of the new big guys got a little worn down today. I thought the offensive line won most of the battles today and won most of the battles in the run drills. Again, Bruce Hall and BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Reggie Hicks did a nice job at tailback. Cordera Eason had a minor injury and sat out today, but the other three played well. At wide receiver, Dexter McCluster caught a long ball. On defense, we made a little switch and put Terrell Jackson on first team at cornerback in front of Cassius Vaughn. Right now, I am urging depth chart changes from our coaches if they are warranted. I want competition and I want to reward the guys who are doing good, especially now that it's starting to get a little tough. I want to find out who the guys are who want to play in the fourth quarter.
Q: How much hitting can you do with just shoulder pads and helmets?
Coach O: We don't tackle, but we have good contact, especially up front. It's really better for the linemen because now their shoulders are protected. That physicality is what brought the best out in Tony. I think he was waiting for today. I am anxious to see him scrimmage. I think he will do well.
Q: How are the rest of the linebackers doing?
Coach O: Jonathan Cornell is having a good camp. Ashlee Palmer is very athletic but still has a way to go on an every-down basis. He gets a little banged up and has to sit down. Scottie Williams looks good. Lamar Brumfield is getting reps.
Q: Is your running back situation night and day from when you first got here?
Coach O: Yes. I like this a lot better. I like to be able to sit Ben when we need to. I like Bruce back there and we can put in Cordera or Reggie and even Dexter. Jeremy McGee also looks really good. He busted out on some big runs today.
Q: Is it overstating it to say Peria Jerry is the key to what you want to do on defense?
Coach O: No. He's a force. He's practicing with a great attitude. We aren't using him in all situations right now, but yes, he is a key for us and we expect an outstanding season from him. His quickness sets him apart. We have guys who are big and strong like him, but he has the quickness to go with it. He's one of the better DL I've been around.
Q: What did the DL look like with the pads on today?
Coach O: We had some get a little tired and we had to pull some of them out. We have to get in better football shape. We'll get therer, but today the offensive line dominated.
Q: Have you heard anything on any of the guys waiting to get cleared academically?
Coach O: No, but I'm hoiping to hear something on Chris Strong very soon. Have I been saying that every day? By hearing something, I mean for provisional practice, not the NCAA clearance yet.
Q: Are you saying anythin in the development of more depth at wide receiver?
Coach O: We are very thin there. I wish there was free agency so we could bring some guys in, but we can't. We are trying a bunch of people there, but we are really thin. We have to stay healthy. But when you play Marshay Green and Dexter out there, we are pretty good on the first team. Shay Hodge is not practicing, but we expect him back. Markeith Summers did a couple of things inside the 20 that were pretty good, but he's rusty there still. I think he will be fine. We are trying to figure out Greg Hardy's role there too. One day I feel like playing him at WR every down, then he gets some sacks at DE and I don't want him to leave defense. I think it will end up being a mix. Mike Wallace is also doing pretty good. He's fast, one of our fastest guys, and he's making some plays.
Q: Are you starting to see some leadership?
Coach O: You can tell the guys who have been around us the longest. They are performing and getting it done under tough circumstances. The guys who haven't been around us gave in a little today. You can tell Michael Oher, John Jerry, Corey Actis, Mo Miller, Reid Neely, BenJarvus, Jamarca Sanford, Cornell, Marcus Tillman. Those guys understand and perform. I haven't said much about Jamarca, but he's been excellent. Marcus too. I don't mention him much, but he does well every day without fail.
Q: Who is vocal?
Coach O: John Jerry, Jamarca, Peria, BenJarvus are all talking and motivating.
Q: How is Robert Lane doing?
Coach O: He's doing well. He's made some plays andis showing up fine.
Q: What about depth at corner?
Coach O: Thin, very thin. With Jamariey Atterberry and Lionel Breaux are young, but they will be good in time. Corner takes longer for coaches to trust them. Not as people, but as corners doing it time and time again. If they make a mistake, it's a TD and you can't have that on defense. The technique is tougher than it is in high school, plus they are playing against much faster guys. We also press a lot. It's a tough position.
Practice report, Day 3
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