Practice report, MTR scrimmage

The Meet The Rebels scrimmage Saturday afternoon just got started good when a needed rainstorm hit Oxford and forced the team inside to continue practice. Read Coach O's comments on preseason game III inside.

Coach O: It was really special today to have the great facilities we do. We were outside for a half hour or so and lightning struck. It took us about three minutes to go inside and continue without missing a beat. It is great to have a facility like the IPF. Yesterday in practice, the offense got the best of the defense. We showed the film last night and there was some jawing going back and forth between the offense and defense. Coach (John) Thompson met with the defense last night and those guys really came together last night in the meeting. That's why I hired him - he gets in the minds and souls of his players. He got to them last night and you could tell it today. They came out and played very well. The defensive front played the kind of game I expect from them. Having Jerrell Powe and Peria Jerry in there, Greg Hardy and Marcus Tillman on the ends - those guys were making plays, stopping the run, sacking the QB. I thought they played with tremendous fire. But I was just as pleased to see the offense get it together a little bit at halftime and play much better. Seth Adams moved the team down the field and scored. Dexter McCluster had a big day and Marshay Green had a great TD run on a reverse. Greg Hardy also caught two jump ball TDs - he was a force when in there. I liked the balance I got today. We were really missing Reid Neely, John Jerry, Corey Actis, Robert Lane and Shay Hodge on the offense today. I expect most of those guys to be back for the opener. The offense stalled some in their absence, but also the defense played a lot better.

Q: Talk more about Jerrell and his conditioning.

Coach O: He's getting better. We give him as much as he can handle. I think it helped him that moved inside into the air conditioning, but he's getting better. He's losing some weight and he played his best today. You could see that he can be a force.

Q: Has Adams looked like that most of camp?

Coach O: His second half was more like one of his better days and the first half was like some of the days we have seen out there. It's never been an every day, bam-bam-bam thing with our QBs this camp. We've had good days and bad days and we've been very inconsistent. I'm a little disappointed we are not a little further along with our QBs, but that's what we have and we will continue to get better.

Q: You let Dexter go full contact today and he got hit hard a few times and bounced up. Your thoughts?

Coach O: It was good to see and not good to see. Dexter asked me if he could go out there and take a couple of licks, he said he needed it. I said fine after clearing it with our trainer. It was good for him and he had a good day. He is really explosive.

Q: Camp progress thus far?

Coach O: I think we are having a great camp to this point. We are gelling. I like this staff a lot and these guys are working together. The guys understand what is required and are in tremendous condition. We have a tough, physical football team and I'm excited to watch them play.

Q: When do you start working on Memphis?

Coach O: We will start on them Wednesday. We will take Sunday and Monday off and get back in the swing of things Tuesday, but Memphis will be looked at and worked on Wednesday. In my two years here, we have beaten them both years, but both games have been real close. One year we played good defense, last year we did not. I expect a tough, hard-nosed battle as always. We will be excited.

Q: Talk about your running backs. All three looked good today.

Coach O: Our offense is going to be 2, 3, 2, 3 yards then pop, we break a big one. BenJarvus, Bruce and Cordera keep on pounding and then they hit a crease for something more. I think when we get our OL back we will be in synch better and we will start getting more big plays from our backs.

Q: What's it like without those three starting OL in there?

Coach O: Night and day. The biggest dropoff we have on this team is the difference in the first OL and the second OL. Athletically, there is a big difference.

Q: But that is not the case with your DL, is it?

Coach O: No. We have more depth there. Some of the guys who played for us last year are now second team. That's a good thing. They have played SEC ball and are good football players. I think we have a chance to have a tremendous DL if some of those guys are declared eligible.

Q: Ashlee Palmer showed up a lot today. Your thoughts?

Coach O: Big day. Big hits, used his speed, all over the field and was tenacious. This was by far his best day. He did himself some good today.

Q: What about not having Jonathan Cornell in there?

Coach O: We know Jonathan can play. It gave us an opportunity to see some other guys. Chris Strong helped himself today. Tony Fein did some good things against the run, but we need to shore up some things in the pass.

Q: Nate Banks made a couple of plays today as well.

Coach O: It was good to see him out there. He's an experienced player who will have to help us. We are very thin at corner. We have some concerns there and we need to fix it in two weeks.

Q: How is Daverin Geralds doing at DT?

Coach O: We could use a dozen Daverins on this team. Great young man. All he does is work hard and make plays. I like him a lot.

Q: What did you see from the other QBs?

Coach O: I did not think the QB play overall was very good. Seth did some good things in the second half, but other than that I didn't see anything that looked like the QB we should have back there.

Q: Did Seth get more of an edge today as the number one guy?

Coach O: We will have to look at the film, but we dug ourselves an early hole and we aren't a good enough team, with the schedule we have, to do that. There is a concern at QB.

Q: Overall, though, don't you think you have more to work with this year in terms of team talent?

Coach O: We have improved a lot with our backups. You can see the program advancing in terms of depth, talent and playmaking ability, definitely. It's a lot better, but we have to continue to grow overall to beat the teams we need to beat.

Q: Was there anything you couldn't do inside you wanted to do outside?

Coach O: Punt and field goals. We can't kick indoors and I wanted the circumstances to be a little tougher.

OM Spirit Top Stories