Practice report, Tuesday

Three key players were missing from today's practice in the stadium - Michael Oher, Chris Strong and Seth Adams, but all are expected back for the Egg Bowl matchup Friday with MSU in Starkville. Read about them and more inside.

Coach O: We had a good, physical practice this morning. The guys came back ready to go after a walk-through yesterday. They are ready to go.

Q: Are you practicing in the morning to get a feel for the game time (11:30 a.m.)?

Coach O: Yes, that and to give the players some tim ein the afternoon to rest and relax. There is no school right now so there is no need to wait around until the afternoon to practice. This gives them some time off.

Q: Do they look at film of the practice tomorrow morning?

Coach O: The players do, yes. The coaches will watch practice film this afternoon, gameplan some more and make tomorrow's practice schedule before we go home tonight. It's a long day for us, but a short day for them.

Q: We didn't see Michael Oher or Chris Strong at practice today. Comments?

Coach O: Michael was in a minor motorcycle accident. His face got skinned up a little but he should be OK for the game. It was a little scary, but he's fine. It happened Monday afternoon. Chris had an accident over the weekend. A bottle or glass was dropped, broke and it popped up and hit him in the eye. He will play Friday as well.

Q: Brent Schaeffer has a new role int eh starter's green jersey at practice. How is he adjusting?

Coach O: Not everything is perfect. He still has work to do, but there are things he can do very well. I see a little bit more pep in his step and he's more vocal, but he's been a good leader all year.

Q: We also noticed Seth Adams did not practice.

Coach O: He got hit in the elbow while making a throw yesterday. It's sprained a little, but he'll be ready to play Friday.

Q: What else are you seeing on State as the week progresses?

Coach O: We have been watching more of their run game and they are very technical. They do a good job of blocking despite having a couple of young guys up there. Anthony Dixon runs hard and is a smart runner too. They hit the tight end very well in their passing game. Defensively, they play very hard. On offense, they pack it in, forcing you to pack it in. If they beat you in one gap, he's out and off to the races. A lot of their offense is to make everything bounce to the cornerbacks and when you put Dixon at 240 one-on-one with a corner, he's going to win a lot of those battles. You have to fit your gaps and be able to tackle in the open field.

Q: What has it been like with the wide receivers this year?

Coach O: It's been fun to watch them develop confidence in themselves. Last year they were so young. Now, they are confident and you can feel it. They are having fun out there and I like to see that. People perform at their best when they can have some fun, but still do their jobs and be comfortable with what they are doing.

Q: Marshay Green returned a big punt against MSU last year and had his first this year against LSU last week. You feel good something big can happen again this year against State?

Coach O: We are certainly going to try. I'm sure they are working to prevent that, but we are working hard to get our best people on the field and make something happen in the punt return game.

Q: Marshay hasn't caught a lot of balls this year at WR. What's happening there?

Coach O: Competition. All the wideouts are fighting for balls. Dexter has stepped up and early on he wasn't getting a lot of balls. Maybe it is Marshay's turn this week. Who knows?

Q: Talk about what senior DT Jeremy Garrett brings to the lineup. He played well against LSU, didn't he?

Coach O: He plays low. He's flexible and he has quickness. He is also good with his hands. He knows how to fit his gaps correctly.

Q: Would winning this game be a little bigger because it's the last game of the year?

Coach O: Sure. It's about finishing and this is the one that sticks with you. You remember the last game of the year for a long time.

Q: What is your confidence level goin into this game?

Coach O: We feel we can win the game but we know we have to play very well. But it's not like we are taking on the number one team in the country. I think we match up well and if we play a good game we should win.

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