Practice Report: Full pads!

CB Terrell Jackson

The Rebel football team practiced in full pads for the first time this afternoon and had yet another good workout. The only drawback, if you could call it that, was having to move the workout into the IPF after threatening weather surrounded Oxford. Read about it inside.

The first day of full pads drew a larger media contingent and after the workout was over, Coach Ed Orgeron was bombed with questions.

"This team is working very hard and is coming together. I think they are loving what we are doing," he began. "The offensive line did a really good job today. OL Coach George DeLeone and Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone have put together a good scheme and they looked good today despite an injury or two. It was good today, with Darryl Harris out at center, to have a guy like Ben Boyce come through. He's a plus for us - a guy who's been in the program and just does his job.

"The quarterbacks are battling. Both showed out some today. This is exactly the competition we were hoping for. Micheal (Spurlock)has had a fantastic camp. Today, he was 15-16 in one period. We have installed some plays that suit his athletic ability. Robert (Lane) has had good days and inconsistent days. On his good days, the competition is very close. We still ahve a lot to put in and we still have some progressing to do, but we are happy right now. We will not make a decision on a starting QB, most likely, until game week. We will not rotate QBs either. Whoever wins the job will be given a fair chance to run the offense. We will not have a quick hook, but if someone isn't performing, we will put the next guy in, just like every position on the team. We don't think any of that will happen, though, because we believe that whoever wins the job is going to be prepared to succeed and will succeed.

"Nobody has stood out yet at running back. Jamal (Pittman) was a little dinged up today. Alan Abrams did some good things today as did freshman Antonio Turner. Turner and freshman Kendrick Perry will play this year. Brandon Jacobs has been hurt the last couple of days and it's hurting him. He's falling behind in the installation of plays. We need a running back to step up and take that position over.

"We have been rotating players in and out of the defensive line. Nobody has taken that bull by the horns either and we want to show them that those positions are up for grabs. We are giving everybody an opportunity to step up. We will create an atmosphere of competition at every position.

"Overall, I believe the players have adjusted to us, the coaches have worked very hard around the clock and as a consequence we are ahead of schedule a little. Our installation is ongoing, but it's going well. As for being in full pads, nothing has changed much in terms of contact. In fact, I think the players like having full pads on to have a little more protection. Our practices are rough, but we are careful with our hitting. Most of it is controlled contact, except goalline stuff and during scrimmages."

Random notes:

* Some readers were asking about DE Reterio Brown today. Ooops, we fumbled that one. I thought Reterio had been at practice, but just wasn't showing up. Turns out he's in the same boat as WR Taye Biddle - he's taking a class in intersession to gain his academic eligibility. Sorry for the blooper.

* Players who did not participate today due to injury were: C Darryl Harris, PK Justin Sparks, S Mico McSwain, LB Quentin Taylor, DB Tyson Andrus, CB Dustin Mouzon, TB Brandon Jacobs, LB Rogers Loche, LB Robert Russell, OL Reid Neely. . . Some are expected back tomorrow and none of the injuries are of the "serious" nature.

* Players who returned to practice today after missing yesterday were: LB Keith Houston, LB Dontae Reed and LB Marquis McBeath.

* Yesterday, we reported that David Traxler was working with the number one OL at LG. He was still there today. Must have done something right yesterday. . . In Harris' absence, Ben Boyce and Tony Bonds did all the snapping. Most of the day, Boyce was running with the number one offense.

* We also reported yesterday that frosh Lamark Armour and Michael Hicks had been moved to tight end. Armour remained there today. Hicks went back to defense today.

* Dedrick Clark played with the number one defense yesterday at DE in front of Jayme Mitchell and Brandon Jenkins. Corvelli Haynes was ahead of Chris Bowers at the LEO end yesterday as well. . . Today, Jayme was number one with Brandon number two. Dedrick worked mostly at DT and Chris was number one at LEO.

* The coaches worked fundamentals really hard today, especially special teams fundamentals such as getting off blocks, tackling and fumble drills.

* After moving inside, the Rebel OL and LBs had a heavy duty hitting drill. The OL lined up with no DL in front of them and the linebackers five yards off the line. The linebackers slanted to a gap and were hit full speed by the OL. Some real leather was popping on that drill.

* The number two OL today was: LT Ryan Jones, LG Andrew Wicker, C Tony Bonds, RG Michael Oher and RT Marcus Cohen. . . Orgeron said after practice that Oher is "physically ready to play college football, but he's got to learn his assignments better."

* The number two DL was LEO Corvelli Haynes, DT Peria Jerry, DT Jeremy Garrett and DE Brandon Jenkins. . . Clark worked in and out with the ones and the twos.

* It appears as if OLB Garry Pack has gained an edge on Dontae Reed due to Reed missing work yesterday in the too-close-to-call compeition. Pack made the last play of the day in a goalline situation, nailing TB Alan Abrams for a four-yard loss on a fourth-and-goal from the four situation.

* In the running game drills, neither the one or two offense had much daylight in their first series, but on the second series the one offense did a better job, with Abrams gaining 15 yards, Spurlock keeping for 7, Mike Espy gaining 18 on a reverse and Abrams ending the series with a five-yard run. The two offense didn't fare as well - no gain, no gain, QB sack by Jerry - until Turner ripped off a 12-yard run.

* In team drills with the defense defnding a short field, Spurlock hit Espy for 32 yards, Abrams gained 5 off tackle, Spurlock hit a swing pass to Abrams for 8 yards and Jayme Mitchell sacked Spurlock for a 2-yard loss. Spurlock followed with a keeper for 10 yards and a pass to WR Mario Hill for 20. . . When the twos took the field, Lane found Carlos Suggs for 15, Turner gained 3 before Jerry nailed him, Lane connectede with TE Lawrence Lilly for 10 and Lane was sacked by Brandon Jenkins. DE Viciente DeLoach also registered a sack and CB Terrell Jackson had a pick and long return for the two defense. . . . When the ones came back on the field, Spurlock ripped off a 55-yard run and was then sacked by LB Patrick Willis for a 6-yard loss. . . Lots of give and take all day in team situations.

* In field goal drills, PK Matt Hinkle was 3-5 with a long of 41 yards. Will Moseley was 3-6 with a long of 48.

* Big plays during the situational scrimmage. * Spurlock to Hill for 12 yards. * CB Nate Banks - pick and good return. * Lane to Milton Collins for 8. * Lilly a one-handed grab for 30 yards from Lane. * Spurlock to Hill for 10. * Surlock to TE Robert Hough for 8. * Spurlock to Abrams for 8. * Willis dropped Abrams for no gain. * CB Terrell Jackson good play on Larry Kendrick to break up a reception. * Spurlock to L.K. on a screen for 25 yards. * Spurlock to WR Burnell Wallace for 8. * Jayme Mitchell sack. * Lane to Collins for 8 yards.

* WR Milton Collins has created a buzz the past two days, catching everything thrown his way - short, long and in-between. Great hands.

* In goalline drills to end the day, the one offense scored on a Spurlock to FB Jason Cook pass; two four-yard runs by Abrams. They were stopped when Willis hit Abrams for a 1-yard gain. The offense was 3-4 in conversions from the four. "The offensive line was excellent in that drill," said Orgeron. "Big man on big man and the OL won.". . . The twos scored on 2-of-4 attempts. Turner bulled over from four yards out twice. Lane was stopped by a host of defenders once and fumbled the center snap once.

* WR Larry Kendrick is making his presence known with some really solid, and sometimes spectacular, playmaking. "I feel pretty good," said the softspoken L.K. "I'm more mentally sharp than I was in spring. I understand the offense now. That means I'm more relaxed executing - catching the ball and making something happen with it."

* The Rebels will practice tomorrow morning at 8:45. Media Day begins tomorrow at 1 p.m.

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