Spring Practice, Day IV

Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt put his Rebel squad through a "mental day" Friday, that included several long periods of fundamentals, on the practice fields in preparation for Saturday morning's 10:45 a.m. scrimmage. Read about it inside.

During spring football, different days mean different areas of attention.

Friday afternoon, in full pads, the Rebs worked extensively on fundamental drills and then capped off the practice on full-speed mental/light scrimmage work in preparation for Saturday's scrimmage in the stadium.

"We tried to get some things corrected from the first three days. We worked fundamentals and situations and getting things right," said Coach Houston Nutt. "We were getting them ready for tomorrow's scrimmage that will be over 100 plays.

"It will be long, but everyone will get plenty of work. We are looking forward to it. We are going to do 10-play segments starting at different places on the field."

Nutt mentioned two players who stood out after the coaches graded Thursday's film.

"(RS frosh DT) Carlton Martin was outstanding Thursday. He really stood out. He is the kind of player who doesn't really impress you in gym class, in shorts, but you put the pads on and he can be very disruptive. He's a ball player," Nutt stated. "Also, (TE) Alex Williams also stood out. he made a beautiful catch and he's blocking much better than we anticipated. He's added a little weight and it's helped him with the move to tight end. He's a good route runner as well.

"I feel like both of them can help us if they keep coming."

Quarterback Randall Mackey
Chuck Rounsaville
Nutt said the quarterbacks were not as sharp Friday, but there was a reason.

"We threw a lot of blitzes at them for the first time and they were getting adjusted," he said. "Tomorrow, all four will get all they want. We will get at least one series each with the number one offense and at least one series each with the number two offense. Sometimes you can tell more when they are with the twos. Everyone will get their share.

"Also, everyone will be live Saturday, including quarterbacks."

Random Notes:

* Nutt backtracked at the end of practice in his meeting with the media to thank the people instrumental in helping DE Kentrell Lockett gain his sixth year of eligibility. "I don't think people realize how much work that entails. There is a world of documentation that is required," said Nutt. "Dr. Ed Field, who treated Kentrell his first year, had excellent records and documentation and without that, it would not have been granted. Also (Compliance Director) David Wells did an excellent job and, of course, all our medical staff on board. It has to be extremely thorough and I appreciate the efforts of everyone, especially Dr. Field."

* It's a light coincidence Nutt mentioned Alex Williams because our first note of Friday's practice was watching the tight ends, who came out early to work on their assignments for some new plays. Ferbia Allen and Alex Williams are both gifted athletes. They can both run, they can catch and they are tough young men willing to mix it up in the trenches. Ferbia also has a lot of experience and is the beneficiary of being the starter in 2010. The issue? Both are 230-235-pounders in a day and age of 260-270-pound tight ends.

As Nutt said, though, and is noticeable even to the untrained eye, both have some toughness to them and both have no problem with the physical side of football. Can they hold up at that weight in the SEC? It looks like we are going to find out.

Tight end Ferbia Allen
Chuck Rounsaville
* OLB Will Martin (groin pull) and OLB Tyriek Gracia (broken arm) are the only casualties thus far. Tyriek was injured prior to spring and will miss all of spring. No word on how long Martin will be out.

* As Nutt said, Carlton Martin is making an early impression in spring training, but today, in bull-in-the-ring, he got taught a lesson by Center A.J. Hawkins, who got under Martin's pads and pretty much mauled him. That happens to young guys every once in a while, even those who squat over 500 pounds and clean over 300. A.J., by the way, has looked very, very solid and it's showing he "bought in" to the offseason program despite having some lower back issues for a couple of weeks. He's obviously the stereotypical "bigger, stronger" from the offseason and now he has a bit of a nasty attitude on the football field.

* JUCO transfer Safety Ivan Nicholas showed what the coaches were wanting to see today. On one play, he closed a gap near the line of scrimmage and met bruising TB Nick Parker square in the hole, stopping the 230-pounder in his tracks. Not many defenders on the team can do that to Parker, a bullish runner. Welcome aboard, Ivan.

* Another player who "bought in" during the offseason that is translating to the practice field is RT Bobby Massie. He's a veteran now and he's bigger and stronger than the first year and a half he was a starter. With Bradley Sowell on one side and Bobby on the other, the OL should be anchored very well.

* Do we sometimes take TB Brandon Bolden for granted? We certainly don't write about him very often, or as often as a player of his stature should probably get, but the answer is a definite "no." We have grown to expect excellence, versatility and production from B.B. and that's what the coaches, his peers and the media who observe daily get day-in and day-out. It's almost become ho-hum, but his value is not lost on anyone associated with the football team. He has star power and practices like he is still trying to earn a job. Pretty special Rebel.

* It's good to see DE Wayne Dorsey putting himself in position to make more plays. Today, he dropped in coverage as a "spy" and picked off a Barry Brunetti dump pass. He also had a sack and a couple of nice plays on runs. The Rebs need the senior to come alive and today, he did. Now the task at hand is to keep it up.

* TB Jeff Scott was very impressive his freshman year. The young speed merchant showed electricity from tailback and later in the year in returning kickoffs. You haven't seen anything yet. Scott is now 10 pounds heavier, stronger and, he says, faster and shiftier. He's also playing with a noticeable level of confidence that was missing while he was learning last year. More on him in a feature story soon.

* Saturday's scrimmage/practice will start at 10:45 a.m. It is open to the public and will be in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

OM Spirit Top Stories