Today was the first day any of the non-media got to see the Rebels actually hit somebody. Was nice to here the crack of pads. And when they were hitting, they were hitting ANYONE! The non-contact jerseys seemed to lose their power beyond the pocket, because some of the QB's, especially Mackey and Brunetti, took some shots at practice. Some of the guys are absolutely flying to the ball, Bryant & Marry were in on a lot of plays.
Brishen Mathews wasn't dressed and Uriah Grant was in a walking boot. Mark Dodson was there I know (only knew by the Whitehaven shirt) and another running back (might have been Kailo Moore) was at scrimmage.
In coaching Nike apparel to buy this year, we all remember how Hootie Dale loved him some pullovers. Well, Hugh Freeze is a firm member of Team Lesbian Golf Hat, so plan your Ole Miss Nike purchases for this season accordingly. Both sidelines kept barking all day, but hard to tell exactly what they said from the stands.
In the now (in)famous Rebel Drill, they had three "lanes" set up and just rotated between them. The offense beat the defense 16-15 on the drills (from what I counted). Jeff Scott and Devin Thomas looked good in finding the holes, but most of those were to the left side. Nick Parker didn't have the burst or the moves of the other two, but he was the hardest to bring down, no matter which way he ran. They gave the two little private school, walk-on running backs (Eric Dietz from University School of Jackson (TN) and Houston Keyes from JA) 2 reps a piece, but went mostly with the other three. I'll be interested to see how I'Tavius Mathers (or as my friends in Murfreesboro have told me "I-Train") will do in it. Most of the success we had was to the left side of the formation.
Offensively, in the passing skeleton, Hugh is using the tight ends more, including fullbacks moving over to tight end. Also, there looks like a lot of motion, wide receivers sweep triple options. In the actual scrimmage, the offense actually started out kind of slow. Each quarterback got at least one drive: Brunetti -5, Wallace - 5, Mackey - 4, Stoudt -2, Ingram - 1, Ratliff - 1, and Miller - 1. The offensive speed with the top 3 sped up as practice went along. While it was slower early, Brunetti and Mackey looked to be a little bit better than the rest. Once the pace picked up though, Wallace had the best control of the offense and recovered from a really poor start (2-9, 29 yards). The faster they moved, they more defensive penalties they forced and the more they scored. The best way for this team to score this year will be to keep going later and later into the games. The interior offensive line looks better than the edge, but neither looked particularly great. The receivers were alright today. Donte didn't get any targets that I saw, and I'm not sure why. Philander Moore had another good day, but the rest of the slot receivers were sub-par. Majority of targets today went to Mosley, Philander, Ja-Mes, or the running backs out of the backfield. The running backs weren't able to shake as well as I had seen them. Jeff Scott was trying to get around the edge a lot, but just couldn't with our tackles on the edge. Devin Thomas tried to go between the tackles more and did better, especially when coming off guard, but he can't get up to the speed we've seen out of him as quickly with pads, as of right now. Nick Parker is a beast to bring down, but doesn't have a great burst through the line. HR Greer was used a lot with the reserve QB's and didn't look terrible. He is willing to lower his shoulder and get a good pop to get extra yardage. He doesn't have the burst, but might be a valuable commodity inside the 10.
Defensively, they are hitting and hitting hard. Impressive today was Chief Brown. He kept good position on who he was defending and tried to get at least a hand on it. D line wasn't getting blown off the ball, but didn't have a tremendous amount of great pushes into the backfield. I will say they are better at getting up and getting a hand on the ball if they can't get the sack. The linebacking corps is moving around and Wommack has no problem dialing up a little heat. Sedarius Bryant is still a mad little dude who had some good hits, and a few hits on the QB's that if he does to some of the new QB's in the conference this year, will mess their day up. Tyriek Gracia (not Garcia according to the mothership's roster) and Abdul Bangura may join Philander Moore on the SEC all-goofy name team. Bangura picked off a terrible pass by Stoudt (a terrible pass by Stoudt, certainly not. Next you'll tell me Mike Bianco mismanages pitchers) and Cody Prewitt picked off a bad overthrow by Brunetti. Denzel Nkemdiche had a rough day after a good overall first week. He's still looking for his jock after a move Randall made on an option keeper. The biggest issue was playing out of control and dumb penalties. A couple late hit penalties and a few offside penalties when the offense sped up that infuriated Wommack.
This was the first day we got to see a lot of special teams practice. Bryson Rose missed one field goal from 50 yards just barely right, and made his 1 PAT attempt. Andrew Ritter made his one field goal attempt from 38 yards out and made his 2 PAT attempts. Tyler Campbell is continuing his Heisman campaign. He had a good day, kicking 50-70 yarders on a regular basis. The three guys we had back fielding punts were Jeff Scott, Korvic Neat and Frank Crawford. Each of them had their share of bad jumps, of which Neat and Scott were able to recover from better than Crawford on. Terrell Brown is getting run out as on field goal block unit up the middle.
Overall, the team was a little slower in the scrimmage than the past two open practices the previous weekend and there are some growing pains, but a lot of the offense still needs to be put in. The defense looks like they will rotate schemes dependent on the offense we are facing that week. We'll just have to wait and see how much of each side of the ball is in by the Grove Bowl.
Here are the stats (might be off 1 or 2 on attempts, catches or carries) from the practice. I'll put up a drive chart from what I saw in another fanpost.
Brunetti: 6-10, 76 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT. 2 rushes for -14 yards
Wallace: 8-17, 60 yards. 3 rushes for 19 yards
Mackey: 2-3, 10 yards. 6 rushes, 64 yards, 2 rush TDs
Stoudt: 2-3, 18 yards, 1 INT. 1 rush for 4 yards
Ingram: 1-2, 0 yards
Miller: No pass attempts. 2 rushes for 2 yards
Ratliff: 3-5, 37 yards, 1 TD. 1 rush for 4 yards
Scott: 16 rushes, 36 yards, 2.25 ypc. 2 TDs.
Thomas: 8 rushes, 29 yards, 3.625 ypc. 1 drop on swing pass attempt
Greer: 5 rushes, 14 yards, 2.8 ypc.
Parker: 4 rushes, 7 yards, 1.75 ypc.
Logan: 6 catches, 80 yards, 2 TDs, 1 drop
P. Moore: 6 catches, 47 yards
Neat: 3 catches, 13 yards
T. Grant: 2 catches, 18 yards, 1 TD
Singleton: 2 catches, 7 yards
Sanders: 1 catch, 13 yards
Busch: 1 catch, 7 yards
Mosley: 1 catch, 0 yards
Allen: 1 drop
NOTABLE DEFENSIVE STATS:
Prewitt – 1 INT (off Brunetti)
Bangura – 1 INT (off Stoudt)
R.Williams – 1 sack
S. Bryant – 1 sack
Garbutt – 1 sack
Gracia – 1 sack