Wednesday Practice Report

The Rebels continued preparations for the Auburn Tigers Wednesday with a full-pad practice in the stadium. Read about it inside.

Wednesday is known as hump day to the working masses.

It means the weekend, and a little leisure time for most, is on the way.

For the Ole Miss Rebels, who will take on the BCS' number one ranked team in Auburn Saturday, Wednesday means the next game is bearing down on them quickly.

Hence, it's important to have a good practice, normally the last one of most game weeks with heavy contact.

"We had a good practice with good focus," said Coach Houston Nutt.

As hard as he tried to stay on the subject of his team, Nutt - like everyone else this week in the Rebel camp - drifted his thoughts back to Auburn's #2 - Cam Newton.

Coach Mike Markuson

"Man, he's a different kind of quarterback," Nutt continued. "Different than we've ever faced. He put a lot of yards on LSU and a lot of yards on everybody, but there's a difference in the last three or four games with how they are using him.

"They have really turned him loose lately. We have to do a good job on him, but they also have big, tall wide receivers and fast backs. We will have to cover all the bases. It's run and pass, they do both well, but we have to stop the run first and be good tacklers. We have put in a lot of time on that. We missed way too many tackles last week and we have to shore that up."

Getting ready for Newton is not an easy task. Who can simulate him in practice?

"There aren't too many 6-6, 256-pound, 4.4 guys on our team," Nutt deadpanned.

Random Notes:

* Safety Damien Jackson remained sidelined Wednesday with a knee contusion (bruise). There is still hope the hard-hitting junior can get ready for Saturday's outing, but he has had no practice, other than mental reps, this week so far. "It's a shame he hasn't gotten any work this year, but it's been that kind of year for us," Nutt stated. "I'm hoping maybe he can get some spot play or play on special teams. When you miss all week, it's hard, especially with all the things Auburn does on offense. Hopefully he'll be well enough to add some depth, but it looks like Brishen (Mathews) will have to play more."

A.J. Hawkins

* The stadium ribbon boards and main video board will have a new feature unveiled this week. In each corner of the East and West ribbon boards, there will be rotating scoreboard of the Top 25 games throughout the country. That info will also be displayed at the bottom of the big video board at the end of each quarter and at halftime. A new software program was acquired and installed this week. The old method that was in place did not allow for frequent enough updates of other games. Problem solved.

* TE Ferbia Allen missed Tuesday's practice with a sickness. He was back in the fold Wednesday.

* From the early looks of practice Wednesday, it appears OL Coach Mike Markuson is leaning toward A.J. Hawkins taking back over at center and giving true frosh Patrick Junen, who seems to be fine after an ankle injury against Arkansas, and Jared Duke, who got his first real action against the Hogs when Junen left the game, the nod at the guard slots. Junen will remain at left guard and Duke at right guard. So, for the sixth time in eight games, if our calculations are right, the Rebs will be starting a different lineup. This one consists of a junior (Bradley Sowell), two sophomores (Hawkins and Bobby Massie) and two true freshmen (Junen and Duke).

* Nutt stated Monday in his weekly press conference he was not pleased with punt coverage. Any personnel changes? "No, not really. We have worked a few more gunners because Lionel (Breaux) has been banged up, but we just have to take the personnel we have and do a better job," Nutt closed. "We have to do a better job in every spot and that has been our emphasis this week."

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