Tuesday Practice Report

With steady rain in the Oxford area, the Rebel football team took to the Indoor Practice Facility for a normal full-pad Tuesday practice. Read about it inside.

It's that time of year in North Mississippi when the value of an indoor practice field can't be measured, but you know it's high.

Due to rain in the Oxford area, Coach Houston Nutt was forced to use the IPF for Tuesday's practice. Obviously, all involved would prefer being outside in the elements, but the IPF is definitely a nice ace up the sleeve when the outdoor option is not feasible.

Houston Nutt

"The guys had an excellent attitude today. They attacked practice the right way," said Nutt. "We had a good second day on LSU."

After Nutt's passionate talk to the media on Monday, he was asked what message he has given to his team.

"I told them I don't want their head down. I want it up. Anybody can get down and feel sorry for yourself," he said. "I told them to quit believing things from the outside. We still have two important ball games left, starting with LSU, and it's time to get up, attack practice and have a good attitude. This is why football is one of the greatest teachers there is. You find out about your character and attitude more now.

"They have responded very well. I'm proud of them. A lot of the players came up to me and told me they appreciated my message - the seniors, D.T., even Kentrell Lockett. It means so much to Kentrell - he had tears in his eyes before we left for UT last week. That just tears you up to see that."

But on a rainy day outside, a little rain fell inside.

"I've had to suspend two freshmen indefinitely for making bad freshmen mistakes. Tony Grimes and Delvin Jones will miss the last two games," said Nutt. "Will they be back in January? I am going to see how it goes. They have to show me some effort.

"Without Grimes, we will have to elevate Frank Crawford into the CB rotation, it looks like."

Random Notes:

* Grimes and Jones join freshman LB Clarence Jackson on the indefinitely suspended list for this year's freshmen. "Clarence is still with the program and is doing much better. He's doing better in class and he's getting some counseling," said Nutt. "He's having to lift on his own and things like that, but he's doing well."

* Nutt feels the Rebs are in good shape to get Lockett back for his sixth year. "I haven't had a lot of experience with getting guys a sixth year, but I think we've got a case with him that's close to being a rubber stamp deal," Nutt commented.

* DE Gerald Rivers has been unavailable for duty the past two games due to an ankle injury. Based on Tuesday's practice, he appears to be back in the defensive end rotation and closer to normal on the ankle. "He's closer," said DC Tyrone Nix. "He should get some spot duty this weekend."

Gerald Rivers

Due to his absence and Jason Jones' emergence, however, it appears Rivers will be backing Jones this weekend against LSU. It also appears, based on early practice observations, that D.T. Shackelford will get the starting nod over Wayne Dorsey and Cameron Whigham at the other DE slot. "Whigham will get more time, for sure. Time for him to step up," Nix stated.

* WR Ja-Mes Logan strained his Achilles tendon in the UT game, but he was back at practice Tuesday. We're not sure if he can be classified as full speed yet, but he was dressed and going, which is always a good sign. "He's still a little gimpy, but he was out there trying today," Nutt said.

* We bumped into senior DT Lawon Scott trying to get himself into his car with crutches and a big cast on his ankle/leg. Lawon suffered a broken ankle in the Tennessee game, as you are aware, and will be out for the season. In his absence, it looks as if junior Justin Smith, who has gotten more and more reps each week the last three games or so, will move up to the 4th DT slot and be in the rotation with Jerrell Powe, Ted Laurent and LaMark Armour. "Justin is a solid guy with great character and a good attitude," noted Nutt. "We're glad we have him."

* CB Charles Sawyer twisted his knee in the UT game, but, like Logan, was at practice Tuesday with a knee brace on. Again, it's a good sign he was practicing in terms of his availability for Saturday. "Sawyer is not full speed, but he practiced today," said Nutt.

Charles Sawyer

* Ditto on WR Jesse Grandy. Jesse tweaked a shoulder - twice - in the game against the Vols, but he was also practicing in full gear Tuesday. "Jesse didn't go all the way, but he's better," Houston assessed.

* Freshman OG Patrick Junen, who injured his ankle after earning a starting job at left guard a few weeks back, is still not 100%, but OL Coach Mike Markuson said "he's close." In the meantime, Alex Washington, who was the starter to open the season and has taken back over in Junen's absence, remains number one at LG.

* Markuson also noted, with a minor disclaimer, how pleased he has been with true freshman RG Jared Duke, who has started the last couple of games. "Look, it's a process and he's not a finished product, but he's help his own. He's won some battles and lost some battles, which we expected, but he keeps improving weekly, he's bright and he's a hard worker. I could not be happier considering his age and experience," Mike stated.

* Another true frosh who Markuson has been keeping a close eye on and likes what he sees, even though he's redshirting, is Terrence Hackney. "Terrence has lost from 320 pounds down to 300, which he needed, and he's hit the weights hard. He's doing a lot of squats and cleans and that has helped his explosion and movement. He's shown some good signs this year and I am anxious to coach him in spring training," Mike added.

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