Wednesday Practice Report

The Rebels continued preparations for LSU Wednesday on the practice fields in shorts and shoulder pads. Read about it inside.

After what Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt called "a fantastic" practice Tuesday, could/did the Rebels make it two in a row as they reached hump day of LSU week on the practice fields?

"We sure did. We had a real good day. And that's important that they do things with passion, enthusiasm and the right attitude," said Nutt. "It's been good so far."

For the second day in a row, and slightly out of character for Nutt, who prefers to back off from practice contact later in the season, the Rebels went through a bull-in-the-ring session to get things going and to gain the team's full attention.

"Nothing gets your attention like some early contact in crisp, fall weather," Nutt smiled, believing he had gotten his point across with the maneuver. "It's just a reminder of how physical this game will be and how physical we will have to be."

LSU will not present the Rebel offense with a lot of trickery in Defensive Coordinator John Chavis' scheme.

"There's no mystery where they line up. You'll know where they are. The only question is can you block them and that's a huge one," Houston said. "Very talented and very good.

Houston Nutt

"I've always had an awesome respect for Coach Chavis, when he was at UT and now. He's very sound and a fundamental coach. What you see is what you get with him."

Houston is aware of LSU Coach Les Miles' propensity and knack for trick plays and taking chances.

"You have to give him a lot of credit. It's about timing and being calculated and being prepared," Nutt noted. "It's strange to me that a man who has won as many games as he has seems to be on the hot seat a lot. I guess that's just the way it is now.

"You can never take anything for granted. It may not be a field goal or an extra point or a punt. It could always be a fake with him. We will also try to talk them out of some. By that, we'll have our players saying 'watch the fake" and let them know we know that we are prepared and expect the unexpected."

Nutt said he understands the importance of the Ole Miss-LSU game.

"When I took this job, one of the first things said to me was 'beat LSU.' I get it," he said.

This Saturday will be the first time to visit Death Valley for a lot of Rebel players, but one in particular who will be a focal point of the game is senior QB Jeremiah Masoli.

"I put that horrible game from last Saturday behind me and am looking for a chance for us to redeem ourselves," said Masoli, who threw three picks against Tennessee and missed several open receivers. "I am fine now and I was fine in that game. There were no side effects from the concussion. It was just a bad game. You have to have amnesia as a QB and I'm alright now. We are pushing through the last game and have put it behind us.

Jeremiah Masoli

"I have heard some crazy stories about Death Valley, that it's no joke and pretty hostile. That kind of environment fires you up if you are any kind of competitor. We are not only facing a great team, but a great atmosphere."

Masoli has a lot of respect for the Tiger defense, nationally ranked in the country and near the top in total defense in the SEC.

"They look real good on film, but I guess we'll find out more when we strap it on Saturday," he stated. "They have a good front, their safety and the corner (Patrick) Peterson are really good.

"The bottom line is that they don't have too many weaknesses. There's not much you can zero in on and attack which means we will have to execute really well."

Random Notes:

* The wounded looked better today than they did yesterday, for the most part. WR Ja-Mes Logan (Achilles tendon strain) looked to be almost full speed; WR Jesse Grandy (shoulder bruise) was involved in a bigger portion of practice than he was Tuesday; CB Charles Sawyer (knee) still has his brace on but also seemed to be moving around better than he was Tuesday; and DE Gerald Rivers (ankle) was able to get more reps Wednesday than he was Tuesday. "They were better today, which is good," Nutt noted.

* As was noted yesterday, with freshman CB Tony Grimes' suspension, Frank Crawford has been elevated into the cornerback rotation behind starter Jeremy McGee. Crawford was thrust directly into the spotlight in Wednesday's practice because McGee missed a portion of the workout due to his class conflict. Crawford got needed reps for what awaits him.

* Several positions have been hampered by injury at times during the season, but probably none as much as the safeties. Fon Ingram went through scope surgery early in the year; Johnny Brown has had knee issues since the third game; Damien Jackson has been slowed recently by knee and foot issues; and Brishen Mathews had a concussion earlier in the year and was sick part of last week heading into the UT game. "I don't know if I have ever had this many guys banged up before at my positions, but these guys are out here playing through the pain and giving me all they've got. I can't ask for anything more," said Safety Coach Kim Dameron. "Injury, and playing through it, is part of college football and football in general, but I haven't had a rash of them like this in my career. Hey, you still have to get the job done though. They don't ask how, they ask how many."

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