Meet The Press

Houston Nutt stood before the media at the familiar podium in the IPF team meeting room. His message was also the same, at least the one we've heard since a 4-8 season went into the record books.

There was no bowl game after the 2010 season. As soon as bowl season was over in January, the Rebels had a bold, new approach.

"We're taking what we did back in January. The sacrifice, the commitment, the investment our guys made. Now you carry it on," said Nutt, with two bowl teams his first two seasons in Oxford. "I'm excited about the way we're going about things."

Nutt said August is an important month in the development of a team. But this goes farther back than that.

"This is a great time of year. It's eat, sleep, and football. Summer school is out of the way. Again it all started back in January, back to basics, back to square one, back to fundamentals, back to holding everybody accountable. That goes all the way back to me and the (assistant) coaches and the players. It wasn't fun last year. So the mindset has to change. We have to believe to achieve. That's been our mindset."

Random questions for Nutt during the session -

On if Coach Gunter Brewer is like a mad scientist out there?: "He's probably got a little bit of that in him. Some of those formulas and equations. You can tell he's been around an offense that's very fast-paced, a team that can score points. You look back at Dez Bryant and Justin Blackmon and Randy Moss, guys that he's coached, he's an excellent teacher at the receiver position. What he also brings on top of that is just outstanding."

On what Coach Brewer brings for this group of receivers?: "The receivers we signed, and the tight ends we signed, it's very evident if you came to one of the first two practices, we're different. We're much different. Last year we played with one hand tied behind our back at that position. (Jeremiah) Masoli didn't get enough credit. He did a lot of great things, when people wanted to badmouth him. He changed his life around and was a very good man in the locker room. Did a lot of good things. You can really take this group and showcase their talent. These guys are athletic. They go get it. I'm excited to see how this development keeps going."

On the influence of the other two new coaches – David Lee and Keith Burns: "David Lee, this is about my fourth time to work with him, there's not a better quarterback coach. He brings tremendous organization skills and knowledge from college and the pro level. He's done a lot to take (some of the responsibility) off of me, where I can do a better job of managing everything else. Glad he's here and couldn't come at a better time because of the three quarterbacks. Keith Burns is another guy I've worked with before. He brings a lot of knowledge and experience in the back end of the defense. You can tell by the first practices we've changed a little bit. The players have a lot of energy, and that's a direct connection to your coach. Keith coaches one of the most difficult positions in football, and that's the corner, because there's no one else behind you. He does an excellent job with that."

On how Barry Brunetti has done since arriving: "The thing that hasn't surprised me is his character, the way he's been raised. He's always where he's supposed to be. Good leader. He's a better runner than I anticipated. He's had command of the huddle the first two days, and he's throwing much better. He knows he has competition. Barry's done everything we've asked him to do and more. I'm glad he's a part of the Ole Miss family."

On what he's looking for in the next three weeks as far as who will start at quarterback: "That's a tough one. That's David Lee's biggest chore, making sure that guy is going to get enough reps to take control of this team. We can't put a timetable in stone. We have to decide it when we know that's the right guy. It may take two or three scrimmages. It's going to be interesting."

Barry Brunetti
Bruce Newman
On Nicholas Brassell: "I really haven't seen that speed since Mike Wallace. He knows how to separate. To add to that, I've never seen a guy flip it (to defense) and go play corner. Intercepts balls, deflects balls, breaks on the ball and acts like he's been there. It's like it's natural. Then he can help in the return game. He's going to play a lot of football for us. He's a special, special guy. He competes, and that's the first thing that jumps out at you. We'll have to see how everybody else does (to figure out if he can spend some time on defense). It's a little premature on that yet."

On defensive hope: "I'm hanging my hat on a few things. One, coaching. Two, speed to the ball, chasing the ball. I didn't think last year we played with the passion and the energy we did the first two years. That's what it came down to – we missed too many tackles and gave up too many big plays. Even with an experienced front, we didn't play like an experienced front, and that was disappointing. Some young guys we haven't heard from before (will help). We hope with their passion and their attitude, and with Kentrell Lockett back and an improved Wayne Dorsey and Jason Jones...I just love the chemistry, the hunger. It's coaching and the ability to run to the football with passion and hunger, and tackling much better."

On Bobby Massie's improvements: "He's put on weight, up to 325 pounds. He's worked so hard. He's always been a good run blocker. We're trying to get him to be a better pass blocker. He has experience now that you have to have. I look for him to take the next step, being physical, being consistent. Being a better pass blocker, playing every play, not looking around."

Other quick hitters from today -

On Jamal Mosley: "This guy is 270, soft hands, good blocker, runs good routes. That's really exciting."

On what areas of the team have improved the most with an influx of new players: "Tight ends, receivers, corners. Those areas."

On Marcus Temple and Joel Kight returning after missing the spring: "Unbelievable having them back. Put them, along with Lockett, in the locker room, your team is so much different. Positive influences. They've stepped everything up. There's nothing like experience in this league."

On D.T. Shackelford: "He's a part of the 105 (total). We want the Chucky Mullins Award winner in every meeting and with us in every drill. He was coaching (those new players) yesterday. He's so valuable and so important to us. You want him around your guys."

On the defense and any potential changes: "We're looking at a lot of things. We have to be prepared for any situations like injuries. We're a 4-3 team. We like the two safeties. We like the three linebackers. We're thin at some positions. We have to keep players on the field."

On Jeff Scott's improvement: "He's put on 12 pounds. He's been very tough and very committed. Much more dependable. He's grown up a little bit. He'll have a tremendous role. He's taken a step forward. He's a game-changer."

On Enrique Davis: "He's confident and not guessing. He's a physical runner. We need that one-two punch from him and Brandon Bolden. Then you have that fast guy in Jeff Scott. We'll need all three of them."

On Nick Parker: "Very tough, durable. Anxious to see him in the first scrimmage. He looks pretty good for the first two days. He could play fullback or tailback."

On the defensive tackles: "We don't have the experience of last year but we have hunger, attitude, and work ethic. We need the five guys (involved) in the middle to play their best football. Justin Smith, Carlton Martin, Bryon Bennett, Uriah Grant, Gilbert Pena. That's the group."

On the offensive line: "They look good. But you can't just talk your way into it. You'd better be physical, coming off the football, ready to block. Bradley Sowell has done a good job leading. Bobby Massie has been good. Matt Hall had an excellent summer. A.J. Hawkins' snaps have been perfect. Patrick Junen has been in there. But I'd keep my eye on Aaron Morris and Justin Bell."

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