Two Weeks 'Til Tuscaloosa

Ole Miss claimed its first conference win of the season Saturday. Now, following a bye-week, the Rebels turn their attention to top-ranked Alabama.

Meeting with the media via teleconference Sunday afternoon, Nutt described Alabama as "an unbelievable football team," pointing to the Crimson Tide's depth and wealth of talent. Alabama trounced No. 7 Florida en route to its fifth win of the season.

"Whenever Florida can't even score, as fast and explosive as they are, it tells you a whole lot," Nutt said. "Offensively, you have to give it to McElroy. He is outstanding, then you have Ingram and Richardson, two of the best RBs in the country, and Jones on the outside.

"They're an incredible team."

Ole Miss has two weeks to prepare for its trip to Tuscaloosa, before hitting the road again to Fayetteville to meet Arkansas. Nutt believes the SEC West is the toughest division in the country, though he might be biased having coached at both Arkansas and Ole Miss.

Charles Sawyer

"It's a gauntlet. I'm partial, but it's the toughest division in the country," he said. "If you talk to (Florida head coach) Urban Meyer, he would say the same. Most of his losses have come from the West, not the East. Again, I'm partial, but top to bottom, the West is the toughest."

While his team is riding a two-game win streak, a bye-week couldn't come at a better time, according to Nutt. Three members of the defensive secondary – Brishen Mathews, Charles Sawyer and Marcus Temple – suffered concussions in a 42-35 win over Kentucky.

"The three guys with the concussions are still dizzy and have headaches," Nutt said. "Brishen spent the night in the hospital. We'll have a better feel for it in the next few days. Marcus Temple and Charles Sawyer are being watched closely. It's been a rash."

And to preventing concussions:

"The best thing the players can do is keep their head and eyes up," he said. "A couple of them ducked their head to get under a blocker and their fullback was built low to the ground. He (Moncell Adams) was the main cause. He was coming after our ankles and we were trying to get lower than him and it was hard for us to do that. The main thing, though, is to keep your head and eyes up."

Fill-ins Tony Grimes and Frank Crawford saw extended time in the secondary with the trio out. Nutt said the freshmen were OK, though he'd prefer to see fewer missed assignments.

"We're having some growing pains, but for the most part, we competed really hard," Nutt said. "The biggest thing you saw on film is that we were hitting. We were very physical and raised our level in that area. Damien Jackson, Brishen - they were very physical.

A.J. Hawkins

"We'll get things right, but we had to burn a timeout because Grimes was out there in a certain package and wasn't supposed to be. Little things that we have to sharpen up - growing pains we have to get corrected."

Center A.J. Hawkins was also injured in the game with a stinger. The redshirt sophomore was unable to raise his arm Sunday, meaning reserve Evan Swindall, who replaced Hawkins against Kentucky, was moved to the first-team offensive line in Hawkins' place.

Outside of injuries, practice carried on as usual.

"We'll get the soreness out today and hit the basics of Alabama," Nutt said. "We'll take Monday off as usual. Tuesday-Thursday, we'll have good work days. We probably will not scrimmage. We'll be as physical as we can be without tackling to the ground.

"Each day we'll do something on Alabama to get a head start. We'll take off Friday and Saturday and come back Sunday with a harder practice than normal for a Sunday, kind of like a Tuesday practice, to get ahead of the curve. Hopefully, we'll get a jump on things for the next game and hopefully we'll heal up some."

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