Practice Report: Wednesday

The Rebels began fine-tuning their preparations for Steve Spurrier's South Carolina Gamecocks as Homecoming loomed one day closer. Read about Wednesday's Rebel practice inside.

The Rebels worked out in helmets and shoulder pads on the practice fields on a perfect day for football.

Coach Houston Nutt was pleased with the workout Wednesday.

"We had some good work today. I like the way everyone is concentrating. We had a good practice. We were focused," he said.

Nutt, being on the offensive side of the ball most of the time, hasn't talked about USC's offense much this week, but he's well aware of Coach Steve Spurrier and the Gamecock players.

"Start with their tailback, Davis. He's a very tough, experienced runner. Then the TE, Cook, is a weapon. (Steve) Spurrier uses him a lot like a wide receiver. He'll flex him or put him out wide sometimes. He can be a huge mismatch if you don't watch out. They have dangerous wide receivers too. We all know how good McKinley is, if he plays. They have some weapons. We just have to do a good job of stopping the run first and then have all hands on deck for trick plays and different looks," Houston continued.

Houston has a world of respect for Spurrier, the mastermind of many successful offenses through the years.

"He has a lot of imagination and is not afraid to do anything at any time. He'll run any formation and mix things up. He'll run screens, draws, delays, double reverses, throw it deep, whatever. I've always admired and watched him and I think a lot of coaches have drawn from him through the years. He's just a good coach," Nutt closed.

Random Notes:

* Junior Cordera Eason and true frosh Brandon Bolden are getting the bulk of the tailback snaps right now. Houston said their roles are somewhat defined in regard to what the Rebels want to do offensively. "In the flow of a game, it all depends on how things are going and what we are doing offensively as to how we use them. When the game is tight, we have very important blocking responsibilities and screens are important too and Cordera is the best at those two phases right now. Brandon has been running very hard and doing a good job with the Wild Rebel."

* Nickel Back Marcus Temple was still in a walking boot Wednesday. CB Coach Chris Vaughn said Tuesday Temple might be back Wednesday, but he was not. Nutt said it does not look good that Temple will play. The Rebel coaches are working with CBs Dustin Mouzon and Jeremy McGee as options to fill his spot in case he cannot play against South Carolina. Terrell Jackson is also in the mix in certain calls.

* WLB Patrick Trahan, who started ahead of Ashlee Palmer in the Florida game, was still working ahead of the senior with the number one defense Wednesday. Tony Fein, who started the Florida game at MLB, was splitting time with Jonathan Cornell, who started the first four games.

* It appears Maurice Miller and Reid Neely are still splitting reps at number one right guard on the OL. Reid started against Florida when Miller overslept Friday and missed part of a team meeting. Apparently Reid, who was a starter at left guard in 2007 but lost his position to senior Darryl Harris when he injured his Achilles tendon in summer camp, did a good job against the Gators and is getting a stronger look at more playing time and possibly starting.

* Coach Nutt was asked why he felt the Rebels have remained as healthy as they have through five games. He responded on Tuesday that players who play with a lot of intensity are less likely to get hurt. He also mentioned the offseason program under S&C Coach Don Decker. We'll elaborate a bit. In the spring and summer, Decker noticed the flexibility of the team was not where he thought it should be. The Rebels concentrated a lot on flexibility, which helps prevent a lot of different types of injuries. To a man in the summer months leading up to the season, they talked about being more flexible and how they felt that would help their performance and ability to stay healthy. But that's not the end of the story. Before every practice, the Rebels go through a stretching routine that is longer than any we have seen under any head coach in our nearly 30 years of covering the Rebel workouts. When practice starts, their muscles are warmed up, flexible and stretched out - ready to go. While we have nothing scientific to back this up, it stands to reason that a more flexible, stretched athlete is also less likely to get injured. Food for thought.

* Senior Defensive Tackle Peria Jerry is doing his best to downplay the win over Florida and the reason is simple. He knows if the Rebs are looking back instead of ahead, it would be a dangerous view in regard to the upcoming South Carolina game. "Florida was great, but it's just a win in the books - that's the way we have to look at it. Nothing more, nothing less," he said. "Fans can celebrate that win all week long. We can't do that. We better turn our attention to South Carolina. I put the Florida game behind me when we got on the plane to come home from Gainesville and I have been encouraging all my teammates to do the same. As one of the senior leaders, it is important for me to relay the message that we have to stay focused. We can beat anyone if we are tuned in and we can lose to anyone if we are not." Jerry said he's seen the right focus through Wednesday's practice. "Nobody around me has carried over the Florida game. Nobody on the team has made a big deal out of it and that's the way it should be," he continued. "We are not where we could be yet. We didn't play our best ball at Florida and we all realize that. There were a lot of things we could have done better and that is what we intend to do."

* Ohio State transfer James Scott, a cornerback who will have to sit out this year, practiced for the first time today. We didn't get to see much of him, but it's apparent he has good speed and quickness. He has a slight build, similar to Mouzon. Maybe Decker can pack some pounds on him during his redshirt year. He will be a sophomore next season.


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