Practice report, Wednesday

The Rebels continued their preparations for the homecoming battle with Louisiana Tech this Saturday afternoon with a two-hour workout on the practice fields in shells. The emphasis was on fundamentals, "us" and the Bulldogs. Read about it inside.

Q: How are Dexter McCluster, Bruce Hall and Kentrell Lockett doing after missing some time due to injury and now coming back?

Coach O: They are doing well. They all played last week and did well. Those guys didn't lose a lot when they were out, but when Dexter was hurt, he was the guy, and now there are some guys ahead of him making plays. Obviously, he will be in the mix with them, but he's having to compete for playing time now with the other guys' improvement.

Q: Chris Strong was interviewed today and said he's lost 15 pounds is is now around 270. Can you tell a difference in his play?

Coach O: His progress has been slow. To play Mike, he's got to be about 240-245. He's not there yet. He can be a very good LB at that weight. He's strong and a good tackler. He just has to keep working on it.

Q: How is Tony Fein progressing?

Coach O: He's making some improvement and working hard. We are so used to having Patrick there that it is different. There was some pressure on him and there were a lot of demands from us to fill those shoes. This was a big adjustment for him because in junior college they never filmed a practice. He said here we are filming and watching every step he takes and that's just different. The demands of doing things correctly have been different and difficult for him,b ut he's getting there.

Q: What are you seeing in freshman FS Johnny Brown?

Coach O: He's athletic. He can make some plays and he's learned the defense pretty well for a freshman. He's still not there, but we think he's going to be a good one. He's a good kid too. He's aggressive by nature and was a real good running back in high school. He has a lot of confidence in himself.

Q: Talk about CB Nate Banks' progression this year?

Coach O: We are happy with him. Nate is more responsible and accountable this year than he was last year. He also knows his assignments better and has not been beaten deep this year.

Q: La Tech's secondary causes a lot of turnovers. Your impressions of them?

Coach O: They have done great. They play their safeties tight and they are very aggressive in what they do. This is the best team we have played in terms of forcing turnovers. They are plus 6 right now, which is good.

Q: Does anything else about them jump out at you?

Coach O: Not really. It's still about us. It's still about us getting better and doing the right things, no matter who we are playing.

Q: What about the tackling emphasis this week?

Coach O: We have done a whole lot of work on it, a whole lot. We still have work to do. I wish it was something we could fix overnight, but I don't think it is.

Q: What would a win do for the psyche of this team?

Coach O: It would really help us. We need it. It's homecoming and we want to have a good weekend for everyone.

Q: What is Greg Hardy's status today?

Coach O: He wasn't at practice. He had some classwork to do.

Q: What can you do to get more pass rush out of Marcus Tillman?

Coach O: Just work on it. Analyze his third-down rushes and see what he's doing. There are some things we think we have fixed this week on that. Hopefully we'll see some improvement.

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