Rebels Wrap Up 12th Practice of Fall Camp
Aug. 15, 2017

By Brian Scott Rippee, OleMissSports.com 

Ole Miss completed its 12th practice of fall camp on Tuesday, one Matt Luke described as "the hottest day by far."

Here are some news and notes from practice as the Rebels inch closer to their season opener against South Alabama on Sept 2.

  • The Rebels are managing a host of minor injuries that kept a number of guys out of action:
  • Benito Jones is going through a concussion-like protocol after an overnight hospital visit this weekend due to taking a hit to the neck in the Rebels’ first scrimmage. Luke said Jones will likely go through testing on Friday and hopefully get back on the field next week.
  • Dawson Knox is dealing with a foot injury that Luke noted was the most serious of all of them. The staff hopes to get a better idea of the severity of the injury over the next day or so. Knox injured his ankle at the beginning of his senior year of high school, costing him the majority of the year, but Luke said this was unrelated to that.
  • The secondary took a bit of a hit with D.D. Bowie being held out with a concussion and and Myles Hartsfield sitting with a leg injury. Luke said both were relatively minor.

Luke noted that Jordan Wilkins could potentially return to the field at the end of this week or early next week. The senior running back suffered a minor injury to his knee in practice last week.

  • Ole Miss scrimmaged Saturday for the first time in camp. Luke seemed particularly pleased with the running game, citing that the offense averaged 5.5 yards per carry.

 

 

“I think it’s just being consistent,” Luke said. “I think with the receivers we have, there are going to be some opportunities to run the football because they’re going to have to play coverage some to respect those guys. When we have those opportunities, you’ve got to be able to execute.”

As many as five backs have been getting time with the first and second team offenses, and D’Vaughn Pennamon stood out at the scrimmage at running back.

“I feel like I am  getting the plays and learning them better,” Pennamon said. “I am now able to read my keys and get downhill.”

Pennamon took the majority of the first-team reps Tuesday.

Defensively, Ole Miss did not stray far from its base defense in the scrimmage which Luke said put the unit in a tough spot at times, but gave them a chance to see some guys go out and compete.

“I was pleased to see everyone run around and compete,” Luke said. “I thought the defense tackled pretty well. It was really just a couple of situational things to clean up. We want to be a good situational football team, understand down and distance and where you are at on the field.”

  • Marquis Haynes and Qaadir Sheppard have both had productive fall camps at defensive end and will anchor what is seen as the strength of the Ole Miss defense on the defensive line. Sheppard sat out last year after transferring from Syracuse. He says he has learned a lot in that year and is looking forward to playing SEC football.

“It’s my technique and getting off blocks in play action,” Sheppard said. “I’m always in Marquis’ book. I’m always taking moves from him and I am always watching him. He makes me better.”

Luke likes the depth they’re building on the defensive line and is hoping Sheppard emerges as a secondary pass rusher behind Haynes.

“I am really pleased with his effort. He runs to the ball,” Luke said. “I think he will be a huge asset for us.”

  • With Knox being out, Jason Pellerin and Gabe Angel saw the bulk of the reps at tight end. If Knox is out for an extended period of time, Pellerin could see a great deal of game action at tight end.

“I think we know he can play outside in a game,” Luke said. “But for him to be able to mix it up in the box being a quarterback this time last year, I think that is important.  We need a guy who can do both. You need a guy that can flex out and go in the box. We’ve got to train him there, and Gabe Angel is also a guy we will look for to step up.”

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