Spring Practice, Day IX

Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt could find nothing good about Friday's practice, calling it a "wasted opportunity." Read about it inside.

Not today.

Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt left the Ole Miss practice fields perturbed Friday.

The Rebels - donned in shorts and shoulder pads - had what he called a "terrible" practice. For whatever reason, they just didn't have "it."

It was so bad, Nutt cut the workout about 25 minutes short. He'd seen enough.

"Horrible, horrible day. They just wanted to go on campus or anywhere but here. I don't know if something is going on tonight, but nothing was going on out here," noted Nutt. "You had to waste that day. You hate to waste an opportunity. It was a bad day - the only one this spring, but bad nonetheless.

"Bad body language. Bad focus. Bad everything. I got tired of watching it and cut it short."

Nutt was so upset about the effort he could not answer questions relating to progress at positions.

"After today, nothing is really worth talking about. We had balls on the ground, missed assignments, bad reads - everything," he explained. "It's a bad day to ask me about the progress of the quarterbacks or any position.

"We need more consistency from our QBs. Take care of the ball, make good decisions. We understand you can't complete every pass, but throw it to your grandmother in the stands or one of our guys. Hand the ball to our tailbacks and don't create disaster. It's really simple. I understand we are learning and the defense is bringing a lot of blitzes, but we can't panic."

Houston is anxious to see how the Rebels will respond in Saturday's scrimmage coming off a poor day and a pretty good lecture from him and OLB D.T. Shackelford.

"D.T.'s high school coach told me he was the best player he had ever had - on the practice field, in the community, in the classroom. A lot of coaches say that, but it's true with him," said Nutt. "He proves it every day. I am really proud of him, especially with several seniors out with injury. He's taken over the leadership role."

D.T. was straight to the point in what he had told his teammates after practice.

"We can't have a day like that. Every other team in the nation is practicing hard and we can't come out and lay an egg like that," said Shackelford. "You can't waste days. We don't have enough days to take one off and go through the motions. We play in the toughest conference in the country - they aren't taking days off, whether we are in shorts or in full pads.

"We have to pick it up. I sort of felt it about midway through. We got lazy. If you are not preparing to win, you are preparing to get beat. We can't have that."

Shackelford feels the Rebs will respond in Saturday's scrimmage.

"We'll come back fast and hard - there's no other choice. We will put this behind us and get after it tomorrow," he stated."

Random Notes:

* OLB Joel Kight (knee), DE Gerald Rivers (knee), OL Josh Tatum (concussion), DE Wayne Dorsey (concussion), DT Carlton Martin (concussion), SS Damien Jackson (shoulder stinger) and WR Derrick Herman (hamstring) will not scrimmage.

* We've been asked a lot about Herman not showing up in practice much and not getting many reps. We found out why today. The first day of practice, he tore his hamstring, but the confusion came because he's still dressing out. Herman is able to do some half-speed work, but nothing full-speed, thus the lack of reps.

* With C. Martin out, senior DT Justin Smith teammed up with Bryon Bennett on the inside of the DL. . . Cameron Whigham took Dorsey's slot at DE. . . Frank Crawford replaced Jackson at SS. . . Jason Jones has taken over Rivers' duties at Bandit End. . . Clarence Jackson is handling Kight's slot at OLB.

* OL Jake Meador, one of the Rebs' top prospects, from Indianapolis, IN, was on campus for an unofficial visit Friday. Jake looks to be about 6-6, 320 pounds. Big, thick kid. He was leaving Ole Miss today to head to Tennessee on his next stop.

* Matt Hall and Logan Clair split reps at right guard with the number one offense Friday. . . On the number two OL, Patrick Junen played left tackle and Emmanuel McCray played left guard. They started the spring just the opposite.

* Practice was mostly a two-minute drill exercise and as shabby as it was, there were a couple of highlights. . . Mackey handed the ball off to Bodlen who flipped it back to Mackey who found Vincent Sanders for a 40-yard TD after the defense sucked in for the run fake. . . Clarence Jackson picked off a pass and strolled in the end zone from 25 yards out. . . Nathan Stanley found Ja-Mes Logan on a long sideline pattern for a 70-yard TD. . . Backup MLB Ralph Williams had two sacks on the day and is getting more and more comfortable calling the defensive signals.

* Mackey was asked post-practice how he felt about his game nine practices into spring training. "I'm feeling good, but we've got a lot more to do. We are still trying to get the offense on the same page, all 11 at once, but we're working on it," said Mackey. "A lot of the offense has been installed and it's been a lot to absorb, but we're staring to sort it all out. We are all number ones right now and I don't feel I have separated myself yet."

* The Rebs will scrimmage in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Saturday. Practice will start about 10:15 a.m. with the actual scrimmage starting around 11. Practice is open to the public.

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