'I've had better days'

For months now, Ole Miss' ongoing quarterback competition has consisted of three principal players: Randall Mackey, Barry Brunetti and Zack Stoudt. Tuesday, that number was narrowed to two.

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Mackey was arrested by Oxford Police late Monday night for disorderly conduct, his arrest stemming from his involvement in a fight inside the Lyric Bar. Mackey is ordered to appear in Oxford Municipal Court Sept. 14 at 10 a.m.

"I've had better days," Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt said.

Ole Miss opens its season Sept. 3 against BYU. Nutt said Mackey will be held out of the game. Brunetti will start, though Stoudt will play. After a strong showing in practices last week, Mackey started Saturday's full-contact scrimmage. And, for at least a week, he appeared the frontrunner to earn the starting job.

Mackey completed 4 of 9 passes for 69 yards, a touchdown and an interception in the scrimmage.

"Obviously he made a bad decision. It got back to me when one of my players got arrested, the statement was made that Coach Nutt will take care of this. If you do research on me for the last 20-something years, yeah, I'll take care of it the right way. Always have. Always will," Nutt said.

"Randall Mackey will not play the first game. I'm still looking at everything, but the bottom line is he got in a fight. Like I tell them, even though there's maybe 50 other arrests, your arrests is headlines. Walk away. Turn the other cheek. It's tough to do, but we try to preach that all the time. I have tremendous respect for authority. But when you have that big of a get-together party coming back when school opens, all in one place, with that many people – and especially when people come from out of town -- it's not a good scenario. You have to use good judgment. You have to think. And the bottom line is, not a good decision made. Was he drunk and obnoxious? No. I'm not going to get into the details of it, but the bottom line is you have to make a good decision. You know what time you're supposed to be in at night. I'm just disappointed in that. We had a great camp, an excellent camp. But that's not how you end camp. That's not how you celebrate camp."

Randall Mackey
Chuck Rounsaville

Mackey, a redshirt junior, didn't participate in practice Tuesday afternoon due to class, Nutt said. In his absence, Brunetti, a sophomore who has been the chief competition to Mackey in fall practices, split reps with Stoudt, a junior college transfer.

Brunetti transferred from West Virginia in January and joined the team for spring drills. Brunetti saw action in four games as a true freshman for the Mountaineers. He was 4 for 8 for 73 yards and a touchdown in Saturday's scrimmage.

"That's why we couldn't pick one, because they were all even. Barry Brunetti, Zack Stoudt, Randall Mackey, they were all right there," Nutt said. "They all have strengths. We're not afraid to put any one of them in a game. Right now, first game, Barry's going to start, Zack Stoudt's going to play. We're going to go from there."

The timing of Mackey's arrest is unfortunate. Ole Miss is less than two weeks away from its season opener. However, Nutt said the team will move on. Mackey will receive fewer reps when he returns to practice, and could spend some time on the scout team.

"We'll take it one day at a time," Nutt said. "He's got to get back and, again, he's such a good person. You got to get back in a hurry, go back to work, take care of your business and work your way back up."

Mackey was out past the team's curfew Monday night. Nutt indicated other players could have been out past curfew, as well, but that discipline had already been handed down. Tight end Jamal Mosley, who was arrested for public drunk over the weekend, was one of the players to have already received discipline, according to Nutt.

Nutt said he wished he had known there was a "Monday night school party downtown." Had he known, he said, such an incident wouldn't have happened.

"The last thing on my mind is them going to a party downtown on Monday night. I didn't know," he said. "We've already disciplined the ones that were supposed to be disciplined. Jamal Mosley, same thing. Disciplined, done, finished."

Nutt doesn't believe Mackey's arrest will be a distraction for the team as it pushes toward BYU.

"I don't look at it that way," he said. "Look across the country, now. Look across the country. Are we the only ones getting into a fight? It's a different world now. It's a different world. That's why you've got to stay on them.

Zack Stoudt
Bruce Newman

"That's why I miss my (athletics) dorm, though. I really miss the athletic dorm, where we were all under one roof. We eat together, sleep together, cry together, laugh together. It's hard checking every night -- duplexes, apartments, who moved in. That's what makes it hard. That's what gives coaches grey hair."

Random Notes:

* The list of walking wounded was trimmed considerably Tuesday. Linebacker Joel Kight (groin), defensive tackle Uriah Grant (groin), linebacker Ralph Williams (ankle) and wide receiver Melvin Harris (back) returned to practice in full. Defensive tackle Gilbert Pena was still sporting a heavily wrapped club on his broken right hand but practiced with the team. Defensive end Jason Jones, however, wasn't dressed. Jones has been out of action since suffering a knee injury in the team's first full-contact scrimmage earlier this month.

* Walk-on wide receiver Josh Pinkston enrolled in classes Monday. A former three-star recruit out of Forest, Miss., he is expected to join the team as early as tomorrow. Pinkston can't practice with the team until the results of his physical are cleared, but according to sources, he arrived in peak physical condition and is viewed as a scholarship player. One source said Pinkston is every bit as impressive as the other highly-touted freshmen wide receivers -- Nick Brassell, Tobias Singleton, Donte Moncrief, Collins Moore and T.J. Worthy.

* Freshman linebacker/safety Denzel Nkemdiche is battling a slight hamstring pull, but was a full participant in practice.

* Senior running back Enrique Davis missed practice due to class. Nutt said a few players' schedules have to be worked out. "We have a lot of guys going to school at 4 o'clock, 5 o'clock. We got to get this schedule thing worked out," he said.

* The Ole Miss coaching staff is mixing and matching in an attempt to field the best 11 players on defense, hence the move of sophomore Charles Sawyer to safety. Sawyer was again with the first team defense at safety Tuesday, with senior Damien Jackson and junior college transfer Aaron Garbutt one and two, respectively, at linebacker/swing safety, depending on defensive alignment. True freshman Cody Prewitt is the backup to Sawyer. Junior college transfer Wesley Pendleton and senior Marcus Temple are the starting cornerbacks.

* With preparation for BYU well underway, quarterbacks Brunetti and Stoudt again went to work in the designated red, non-contact jerseys. The second scrimmage not included, quarterbacks were allowed to be hit throughout August practices, albeit with limitations. For example, before donning red jerseys, players weren't allowed to tackle quarterbacks to the ground. You know you're close to the season when the quarterbacks pull out the red jerseys.

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