Tuesday Practice Report

The Rebels returned to practice Tuesday after a difficult couple of days of healing from the loss to Vanderbilt last Saturday in their SEC opener. Read about the workout inside.

Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt hit the practice fields Tuesday with a message for his team.

"We're going to stay positive, we're going to work hard and we're going to get this turned around," was the loud-and-clear battle cry from Nutt. "I've been in this situation before. Anyone can get down on them - that's easy to do, but I think the positive route is the only route to go.

"We believe in these young men and they know we do. The only way to get them better is to show them you have confidence in them and get back after it. The ball is going to start bouncing our way and we are going to start making some breaks and getting some breaks. We have had very few bounces go our way so far, but we have to go out there and make it happen."

Nutt said the Rebels displayed a high level of intensity in practice.

"A very high level of intensity, real good," he said. "We went good-on-good and that was good work."

D.T. Shackelford

Despite the positive posture Nutt is putting out front, the Rebs got some potentially bad news with two injuries in practice. MLB/DE D.T. Shackelford injured his ankle and WR Korvic Neat pulled his hamstring.

"We'll know more tomorrow on the severity," Nutt stated. "We'll have to see how they respond in the next day or two."

On the defensive side of the ball, Nutt was asked about JUCO transfers Wayne Dorsey and Damien jackson.

"They are doing good, but we expect a lot more from them. Both need to make more plays. They are both thinking a lot right now, but they are getting better," Nutt stated.

From his comments after practice Tuesday, it's obvious Nutt has a lot of respect for Fresno State.

"They have good speed, a QB who is a veteran and can handle just about anything, their receivers are very good and they are physical running the ball," said Houston. "We are hitting all the routes they run and so forth, but then you have to be aware of their physical nature and prepare for that as well.

"Fresno does not play fast-break football like most WAC teams. They are more like the SEC. They are hard-nosed. They run the ball, they chase the ball and they will hit you in the mouth. Their special teams are also electric. We have to do a great job of covering kicks and punts. You have to stay in your lanes and be sound."

Random Notes:

* Football Trainer Tim Mullins was asked about Shackelford and Neat. "D.T. has an ankle sprain. The X-ray was negative which is good. We will work on it tonight and tomorrow and see where he stands. He's had this before so he knows what to expect. We're anxious to see how much swelling he has in the morning. We do know it's not a grade three, blown up ankle, but we don't know much else right now," said Mullins. "Korvic has a hamstring strain and the next 24 hours will tell us more with him." * Nutt was sketchy in Monday's press conference about changes on the offensive line, but he sounded serious about making some, or at least investigating it to the max. In practice, it appeared freshman Patrick Junen was splitting time at left guard with Alex Washington, the starter the first three games. Junen, a 6-8, 307-pounder who looks bigger than that, has been impressing the coaches since the first day of practice, at least as much as a true freshman OL can. Now, it looks like he will get his shot for, at the very least, some duty. Obviously, the middle of the OL needs a spark. Can Junen help provide it? Looks like we will see. More with him and OL Coach Mike Markuson tomorrow.

* At right guard, junior Logan Clair, who came in for Mike Brown in the second quarter of the Vanderbilt game, is currently working with the first team OL. If that holds, Clair will be the fourth different starter at RG this year in just four games. Rishaw Johnson, now gone, started the opener.

Mike Markuson

Josh Tatum (injured ankle) started against Tulame. Brown started against Vandy. OL Coach Mike Markuson felt Clair gave the forward wall more "push" during his time against Vanderbilt, thus he's getting the early nod as the starter. "Logan had to leave practice early for a late class, but we got good work out of Junen, Washington and Brown," Nutt said. "Logan graded out 82% in the Vandy game and was pretty physical at times. He's a 400-pound bench presser so we are excited about his strength. He just has to get everything down pat."

* There was some talk of freshman Jared Duke and redshirt freshman Emmanuel McCray being in the guard mix this week, but today they were both playing tackle mostly - Duke behind Bobby Massie and McCray at his usual spot behind Bradley Sowell. It's early in the week, but as of Tuesday, that's how things stood.

* Last week against the Commodores, senior DT Ted Laurent started in place of Lawon Scott alongside Jerrell Powe. Ted and Powe had been alternating at nosetackle previously. This week, it appears the Rebs will go with the same look - Ted and Jerrell starting with Scott backing Powe and LaMark Armour backing Laurent.

* Freshman DE Cameron Whigham hurt his ankle against Tulane and missed the Vanderbilt game. He was back at practice Tuesday and was backing up starter Wayne Dorsey in practice reps.

* Josh Tatum is dressed out for practice now, but is still favoring his injured ankle from the Tulane game. It's doubtful he figures into the rotation this week.

* OLB Mike Marry, who missed a lot of work in August due to a hamstring pull and missed most of last week and the Vandy game due to the death of his Grandmother, was back in the fold Tuesday. He's backing up Allen Walker at SLB.

* TB Brandon Bolden has a slightly pulled hamstring, but he dressed out and practiced Tuesday with a light wrap on the hammy. All indications are he will be near 100% Wednesday or Thursday.

* Freshman TB Jeff Scott got a lot of work at practice Tuesday. Jeff missed a lot of practice last week with a foot injury and did not play against Vandy. He is expected to be full speed for Fresno.


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