'O' Time

The Ole Miss offense found another level in Thursday's practice, with all three quarterbacks completing a high percentage of their passes, a new offensive lineman emerging some and some freshmen receivers showing out. Read about it inside.

Wednesday, the Ole Miss offense looked like they had never seen a playbook.

Thursday, they looked like they wrote it.

Behind solid passing by all three quarterbacks, an install that fits two of the QBs to a tee, a fresh look at a new offensive lineman and a pair of freshmen wideouts strutting their stuff, it was an offensive kind of day.

"We had a better day today," said Offensive Coordinator David Lee. "We have been hot and cold so far in camp. Good one day and not so good the next. This was a good one."

Lee said there are reasons for that inconsistency.

"We are working a lot of young players and we are installing new stuff every day. This is our sixth install. We'll have eight total - one tomorrow and another one Monday," he continued. "We are working in these young players as quickly as we can. Our fans need to know we have a really good recruiting class and we are giving them everything as quickly as possible.

David Lee
File Photo
"I was here with Steve Sloan and we never brought in a class like this one. Congratulations to Coach (Houston) Nutt and his staff for the recruiting job they did. Phenomenal. You can see it at flanker, wide receiver, on the offensive line with Aaron Morris, at quarterback with Barry Brunetti, at tight end with (Jamal) Mosley. It has changed the complexion of our football team in my opinion."

Lee said the accuracy chart on the quarterbacks was impressive, their best day yet this fall camp.

"If we hit them in the hands, we give the QBs a completion. Today, Brunetti was 13-16 with a rushing TD, (Randall) Mackey was 11-17 with three TD passes and (Zack) Stoudt was 4-5 with a TD."

Is there any separation at QB yet?

"I really believe all three can play. Two of them are similar with Mackey and Brunetti with their escapability and the potential to run the option and the QB draw. Stoudt is more your pure dropback guy who can see over our big OL and has a big arm," Lee noted. "Today, Barry and Randall both looked like starters. To be honest, right now, I trust Barry a little more on and off the field. He's a trustworthy guy, but the other two are earning that as well and are really coming. I am pleased with their progress."

Nutt appreciated the cloud cover and little "cooler" temperatures, if low 90s can be considered cooler.

"The guys responded today. They loved the cloud cover. We competed hard today," noted Nutt. "On defense, (DT) Uriah Grant really caught my eye. On offense, (OL) Aaron Morris made an impact with me. He doesn't know everything yet, but he's really, really physical. He caves the line. He's powerful.

"The first-team OL was good most of the time. Our tight ends, Jamal Mosley and Ferbia Allen, were very efficient. They blocked, caught and ran good routes. I also thought Enrique Davis looked good and had his best day at tailback."

Nutt also had praise for some of the wideoouts.

"Donte Moncrief was special. He made some great catches. Philander Moore in the slot stepped it up and competed hard. He was good in the passing game and had a good gain for 15 on a sweep," Nutt stated. "Barry and Randall threw it really well. We are not there yet, but we are pushing hard to get there."

Nutt said Morris is talented and things could move in his direction sooner than anticipated.

"I tell you what, he could end up being the guy. He's so talented. He has a long way to go mentally, but his feet and his physical style are excellent. He has it," noted Nutt. "We knew he was good, but he is surprising us right now. He has not let the speed of the game hinder him. He keeps turning my head in one-on-one drills, middle drill, and so on. He does not give in when he gets a little tired. He keeps pushing. He can be a special guy."

Tobias Singleton
File Photo
Random Notes:

* On the injury front, MLB Mike Marry, as we reported yesterday, is struggling with a hamstring issue. Nutt's hope is he will be ready for Saturday night's scrimmage. In the meantime, Ralph Williams is running with the first team and freshman C.J. Johnson with the second team at MLB.

* FBs H.R. Greer (ankle) and E.J. Epperson (concussion) are still out.

* Speaking of wanting it, Uriah Grant had a persistent nose bleed through the early stages of practice, but he kept practicing. When the trainers finally got it stopped, he went through the latter stages of practice and, as Nutt said, impressed.

* The first-team DTs continue to be Grant and senior Justin Smith with Carlton Martin and Gilbert Pena as their backups.

* Nick Brassell got promoted to number one WR today in front of Ja-Mes Logan. Ja-Mes responded to the challenge with a good day of his own, but Nick had electric moments as well.

* The wideout who stole the show, however, was Moncrief on this day. He caught two TD passes and had one over the opposite shoulder catch for 35 yards that had his teammates in a frenzy. Big day for #12.

* In one-on-one passing drills, CB Charles Sawyer was thrown at four times and knocked down all four passes. He came to play.

* The block of the day went to Mosley. The big tight end motioned to his left and cleared a path for Davis to pick up 25 yards on a pitch sweep. Mosley on a corner is a mismatch.

* Aaron Morris got quite a few first-team reps with the number one offensive line at right guard, a position that has been held down by Matt Hall until today. Morris also played some second-team right tackle.

* The Rebs installed some of some of their read option offense Thursday and Mackey and Brunetti were like kids in a toy store. They found something they wanted to play with and they rolled. "That's what Randall and I have done our whole careers so it was like second nature to us today," said Brunetti. . . Both had good runs out of the formation and handled their option reads like it was natural to them.

* Today, the DL depth chart is DE Kentrell Lockett, Gerald Rivers and Carlos Thompson; DT Smith, Martin and Bryon Bennett; DT Grant, Pena and Gaines; DE Jason Jones, Wayne Dorsey and Cameron Whigham.

* PK Bryson Rose was a machine on field goal attempts today, going 100% from mostly short to medium range.

* A couple of players who got some first-team looks as well today were S Aaron Garbutt and OLB Keith Lewis.

* S Denzel Nkemdiche was in shoulder pads today and will be again tomorrow, but he will be able to practice in full pads in the scrimmage, we were told.

* The Rebs will practice in full pads Friday, but Nutt said it will be a little shorter than Thursday's marathon. Then they will have a 6 p.m. scrimmage Saturday in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Both practices are open to the public.

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