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Ole Miss Fall Camp Update: Werner and Wommack pleased with Rebels’ progress in first two weeks

Ole Miss Fall Camp Update: Werner and Wommack pleased with Rebels’ progress in first two weeks

OXFORD, MS – During Saturday’s practice, the Ole Miss offense had some new faces in the backfield behind senior quarterback Chad Kelly as they began to adjust to life without junior running back Jordan Wilkins.

On Thursday, the university issued a statement saying Wilkins must sit out the 2016 regular season because of an administrative error that resulted in the running back falling short of NCAA standards for progress towards his degree. The university filed an appeal with the NCAA for Jordan’s reinstatement but was denied.

Wilkins is still allowed to practice with the team as his teammates on offense are working to find a way to replace his presence in the backfield. During the Rebels’ scrimmage Saturday, senior running back Akeem Judd broke loose through the middle for an easy rushing touchdown—and Wilkins was there in the end zone to greet Judd after his explosive TD run.

Dan Werner impressed with Rebels’ offense

Co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Dan Werner is looking for the next man up and has been impressed with every running back who has hit the field.

“We are going to put the next guy in,” Werner said, when asked what steps he’s taking to replace Wilkins in the lineup.

We’ve got a lot of talent at that position, so the next guy knows he has to come up and compete. They are battling. We tell them all of the time when you have that much depth, a lot of players’ mindset is ‘I’m not going to compete here so I need to go somewhere else.’ But our guys stuck it out, battled and now they are going to get their chance.

Dan Werner on running backs

Before Judd touched the field Saturday, junior tailback Eugene Brazley received a number of reps with the the first team, sharing the remainder of the reps with sophomore running back D.K. Buford.

Offensive line update

As for the offensive line, Werner admitted he’s still moving guys around to find the right mix for a line that is replacing the five starters it lost from a season ago. Rod Taylor (left tackle), Javon Patterson (left guard), Robert Conyers (center), Jordan Sims (right guard), and Sean Rawlings (right tackle) received first team reps Saturday.

Freshman Greg Little (left tackle), sophomore Tyler Putman (left guard), senior Jacob Feeley (center), junior Daronte Bouldin (right guard), and redshirt freshman Alex Givens (right tackle) were part of the second team offensive line.

“It’s coming together,” Werner said. “But we have to come up with about eight to 10 guys that we feel like can go through a game and right now guys are really battling.”

Wommack reports the defense is making progress

After the conclusion of Saturday’s practice, defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Dave Wommack spoke on the progression of the defense, explaining that his questions about the linebacker and safety positions no longer exist.

Wommack said middle linebacker DeMarquis Gates and stinger Terry Caldwell have stood out thus far in fall camp, as have Tayler Polk and Willie Hibbler.

Wommack also noted that transfer linebackers Detric Bing-Dukes (Iowa Western Community College) and Rommel Mageo (Oregon State graduate transfer) are having to learn a new defensive scheme in a short period of time, but Wommack added, “they have come a long way.”

Ole Miss will have a scrimmage Sunday, which will be closed to the media and public, and Wommack will continue to look closely at which players can fill each position. “We will make some decisions after that,” Wommack said.

Injury update

  • Senior defensive end Fadol Brown has yet to be a full go in fall camp as the Ole Miss staff is being cautious, allowing the defensive end to gradually get back into the groove of things following foot surgery at the end of the 2015 season.
  • Junior wide receiver Markell Pack did not participate in practice after recently undergoing hand surgery. It is possible, however, Pack may be back as early as next week.
  • Senior defensive tackle D.J. Jones did not practice Saturday as he is going through the concussion protocol, according to Ole Miss staff.

Season-opener

No. 12 Ole Miss faces off against No. 4 Florida State at 7:00 p.m. (CT) on Monday, September 5 in Orlando at Camping World Stadium. The game will be televised by ESPN.

About The Author

Courtney Smith

Courtney is from Memphis and received his Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis in May of 2014. He began his journalism career covering the Memphis Tigers Men's basketball team, which landed him an intern position on 730 Yahoo Sports Radio and a position with Rivals.com. A freelance writer for the Associated Press, Courtney is also a member of The Rebel Walk team and reports regularly on Ole Miss football and basketball. Courtney, the father of a six-year old girl named Soniyah, prefers to cover NCAA basketball and football, but is happy to report on any other sport that comes his way.

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