Stay or Go?

The Ole Miss Rebels spent most of Friday's practice getting ready for Saturday's 100-plus-play full scrimmage, the first of the year. It will be at 6 p.m. in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and it is open to the public.

Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt cut back - a little - on Friday's practice, putting his squad through a two-hour workout in shoulder pads and helmets with the focus on fundamentals and assignments.

The Rebels will hold their first full scrimmage Saturday at 6 p.m. in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Nutt will have his eyes on some specific areas and players in the critical workout as the season barrels toward his team.

It was not the kind of pre-scrimmage practice Houston was looking for.

"We have to have better focus. We had periods where things looked good and then we'd lose focus. We'd get a little hot and a little tired and lose focus," he explained. "We can't do that, not in our league or against anyone we play.

"You have to be fundamentally right, you have to stay in tune, you have to protect the ball - it's all about concentration and focus and we lacked some of that today. I was disappointed in that today. We have to be more consistent."

Houston will look for the basics Saturday but he also has a laundry list of individuals who he wants to see when they get quality reps in a game-like setting.

"I want to see who is physical, who is going to make plays and who wants to play," he stated. "We'll have over 100 plays tomorrow night," he noted.

Beyond that, the coaches want to get a bunch of tape to evaluate on a lot of players, some of whom Nutt named.

"The list is long. Keith Lewis, Serderius Bryant, C.J. Johnson, Senquez Golson, Chief Brown, Aaron Garbutt, Cody Prewitt, Tobias Singleton, Donte Moncrief, Collins Moore, T.J. Worthy, Alex Williams, Vincent Moss, Philander Moore - a bunch of guys," he said. "We will look at all of them, really."

Aaron Morris
File Photo
Nutt said DE Kentrell Lockett, S Denzel Nkemdiche (hamstring) and LB Mike Marry (hamstring) will most likely not scrimmage tomorrow, but he is hoping to get back Fullbacks H.R. Greer (ankle) and E.J. Epperson (concussion) (Greer practiced Friday.)

Freshman Nickolas Brassell will play on both sides of the ball, but how will his distribution of snaps be determined?

"Right now, we'll be a little heavier on offense with him but he'll get a defensive series or two. The majority will be on offense tomorrow," he stated.

A big talking point today, as August 15th approaches, is what Golson will do in regard to staying put at Ole Miss or signing a pro baseball contract with the Boston Red Soz. Monday - the 15th - is the deadline.

"It's a big decision," said Senquez. "I have made my decision, basically. I've had contact with Boston just about every day, but I'd rather not say what the offer is. They have upped it a good bit, but I'd rather not say.

"I'm just going to sit down with my parents and make a decision. Do I want to stay here for three years and try to make something of myself or sign now and take care of my family? My family is not pushing me - they have just said whatever I want to do is fine with them."

It's hard to decipher that interview in regard to where he is leaning right now, but the one thing in Ole Miss' favor is that he is still here practicing and is doing well.

Beyond that, he's keeping things close to the vest and it's just a guessing game.

Monday is the deadline, one way or the other.

Random Notes:

Wesley Pendleton
File Photo
* Special Teams Coordinator James Shibest is looking for more speed on his coverage units. He thinks there are a lot of candidates, but he's got to sort it all out. "We've added a lot of speed to our team with some of those freshmen and JUCOs and they will be a part of our coverage teams - the ones that can handle it and learn it," said Shibest. "We face the best return people in the country so we have to do a good job of punting and kicking off to help the coverage people out and we have to put some fast, hungry guys out there to cover." Shibest gave a list, off the top of his head, of players who have caught his eye for the various roles on coverage teams. "All our safeties - young and old - could be key guys. Brishen Mathews, Damien Jackson, Frank Crawford, Cody Prewitt, Aaron Garbutt, Denzel Nkemdiche could figure in the picture. Charles Sawyer, Marcus Temple, Wesley Pendleton all factor in. Brandon Bolden we'd like to use because he was so good at it last year but to take your starting tailback like that, we have to get permission from the head coach. The linebackers are important to us - Mike Marry, Keith Lewis, Serderius Bryant. The wideouts, who are great athletes, are guys we'll look at hard," he explained. "We feel better about the athleticism and the numbers we have, we just have to get them some experience and be kind of basic with them until they have it down pat."

* DE Kentrell Lockett, as will probably be the case for a while, sat out today's practice after practicing two days in a row. Nutt said he will not scrimmage Saturday.

* MLB Mike Marry is still struggling with a pulled hamstring. In his absence, Ralph Williams is making a case to be the Rebs'MLB.

* It sounds as if there is a three-man race going on for the two guard slots, with Matt Hall, Patrick Junen and true frosh Aaron Morris in the battle. OL Coach Mike Markuson will stick with his "best five" philosophy regardless of position, so the two that show up the most for the next three scrimmages will most likely get the nod. Today, Junen and Hall got most of the first-team reps.

* Backup QB Evan Ingram is out with a right shoulder issue. The extent of the injury is not known at this time.

* Nickolas Brassell and Vincent Sanders, for the second day in a row, took the first snaps at wideout. Donte Moncrief, Ja-Mes Logan, Melvin Harris and Tobias Singleton also appear to be in the mix. . . At the slot, it seems to be Derrick Herman, Philander Moore and Collins Moore getting most of the work.

* Former Rebel QB John Fourcade was at practice Friday as well as former Rebs John Darnell, Todd Sandroni, Rob Park, Billy Tapp and J.D. Lawhorn, who ware all in town for the big M-Club weekend and golf tournament.

* Again, the big scrimmage Saturday is at 6 p.m. in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and will be open to the public.

OM Spirit Top Stories