Preparing to Play

Ole Miss senior quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, still dealing with the effects of a concussion, wasn't made available to the media Tuesday. But Nathan Stanley was.

Stanley, who subbed in for Masoli in the second quarter of the team's 43-21 win over Louisiana-Lafayette, could see significant playing time Saturday against Tennessee. Masoli was dressed, but limited in practice Tuesday, increasing Stanley's repetitions with the first team offense.

"Got to get back in the swing of things and ready to play," Stanley said. "I've got to be ready to play."

Jeremiah Masoli

With Masoli on the sideline Saturday, Stanley was 6 of 14 for 108 yards and no touchdowns or turnovers. Masoli was injured on his six-yard scoring run midway through the second quarter.

"You could tell he took a pretty good hit," Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt said. "Had some pretty bad headaches on Sunday. Threw up a little bit. Again, you just like his attitude, because he wants to be out here. But we've got to go by what the doctors say. We can't put him out there until he's 100 percent."

But the offensive style was drastically different with Stanley, a traditional pocket-passer, under center, shifting more to play-action and the ground game. Running backs Brandon Bolden and Enrique Davis were the beneficiaries of the change in style, each surpassing the 100-yard mark.

"I feel like I could've been a lot better," Stanley said of his performance. "I felt real rusty. I've been out of it a while; haven't really played since the Jacksonville (State) game. But it felt good to get back out there. It's felt good to be more involved in practice now."

Masoli, meanwhile, calls for an option-oriented offense. He works primarily in the shotgun, with running plays engineered mostly by his ability to create with his feet. His passes are generally quick – 10 yards and in – unless, of course, Nutt calls for a shot or two downfield.

Nathan Stanley

"It's like the other night," Nutt said of the offensive differences between the two. "You went from a pretty fast-paced game to pretty much what we had with (former quarterback) Jevan (Snead). More play-action, more run game, up and under the center a little bit more.

"It's a little bit different type pace. You're trying to incorporate a few things where you have a little bit of carry-over for the offensive line (this week)."

However, Stanley said the offense is generally the same no matter the quarterback.

"People are pretty used to how I do," Stanley said. "Jeremiah's more of the option guy. He runs better than I do. He brings different things to the table than I can. But as far as our offense, our offense is still the same as far as when he's in the game and when I'm in the game."

Stanley opened the year as Ole Miss' starting quarterback in a double-overtime loss to Jacksonville State. Since then, though, he's rarely, if ever, seen the field. The following week at Tulane, Nutt turned the offense over to Masoli.

And Masoli has responded. He needs 97 yards rushing to break Norris Weese's single-season Ole Miss record for rushing yards by a quarterback (542). Masoli is one of only five players in the nation averaging at least 45 rushing yards and 165 passing yards.

Saturday was Stanley's most extensive action to date. But he could very well see his playing time drastically increase with Masoli's status day-to-day.

"I haven't really talked to him about his headaches, but as far as (Masoli's status) he's gotten limited reps," Stanley said of Masoli. "There's something there. I'm not sure what his diagnosis is at the moment.

"But as far as him being limited at reps and me getting more and more, I think it's kind of up in the air of who's going to play on Saturday."

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