Jordan Ta’amu was dressed out and present at practice on Tuesday, but did not participate in the team offensive session during the portion of practice open to media. Matt Corral took the reps with the first and second teams during that period.
Head coach Matt Luke said on Monday that Ta’amu would be limited in practice this week, but did not think he will be in question for Saturday’s game against Texas A&M in College Station. Ta’amu resting for most of a Tuesday practice this late in the season is most likely just a precautionary measure.
Corral is 11-for-14 for 174 yards and no interceptions on the season. The bulk of that action came in the win over Louisiana-Monroe.
Battle taking reps at wideout:
Miles battled took reps with both the first and second team offenses at wideout on Tuesday. Braylon Sanders, D.K. Metcalf’s replacement on the outside, injured his ankle in the loss and is thought to be a game time decision on Saturday. Sanders did not practice on Tuesday.
Elijah Moore discusses big performance:
If there was a silver lining for Ole Miss in its loss to South Carolina, it was the play of freshman slot receiver Elijah Moore, who was thrust into the spotlight when the team elected to play A.J. Brown on the outside in place of Metcalf, instead of keeping Brown in the slot. The freshman had 11 catches for 129 yards on the day. He has 23 receptions for 295 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the season.
“I knew I had to step up,” Moore said. “In times like that when people go down, guys have to step up. I knew what I had to do.”
Moore was a Georgia commit for the majority of his recruitment, but joined the Rebels late in the process. It turned out to be one of the more important signings in the 2018 class as Moore has made an impact right away.
“Everybody attacks the ball,” Moore said. “Everyone follows and trails the ball. You can’t make too many cuts because the speed is much faster at this level.”
It also helps having two potential first round draft picks on the outside to take some of the attention off of Moore.
“They are both big time guys that take the pressure off me,” Moore said. “Teams are going to try to take them out and hopefully it opens me up.”
Defensive line hoping to improve on tackling woes:
Ole Miss had done fairly well against South Carolina’s rushing attack — or at least better than it is has been for most of this season — until Mon Denson broke a 69-yard run late in the fourth quarter to set up a go-ahead score for the Gamecocks. The run also put Denson over the century mark for the day.
The defense continues to struggle with tackling and gap discipline, and things won’t get any easier facing Texas A&M’s Trayveon Williams this weekend — one of the better backs in the Southeastern Conference.
Defensive line coach Freddie Roach doesn’t want to simply accept the struggles as an unchangeable reality.
“I don’t think you ever stop trying to fix issues,” Roach said. “You’ve got to understand, on defense if you mess up one fit here or there, it is six points. That is the tough part of being on this side of the ball. We have a job to do and we have to go get it done. There is no quit in these guys and this staff. We are going to continue to work until we get it done.”
Some of it is a lack of communication. The defense isn’t vocal enough at times, which breeds dysfunction.
“We are just trying to focus on the little things,” defensive end Qaadir Sheppard said. “Sometimes dudes are out of position and miss calls. We are trying to focus on that with everyone communicating and get this thing rolling.”