'Liked the way we practiced'

Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt said, for obvious reasons, the SIU game is "the most important game of the year" for his squad and he liked the way they prepared for the Salukis in practice this week. Read about it inside.

It goes without saying, but needs repeating.

The Ole Miss Rebels need a win Saturday and Southern Illinois provides them with that opportunity.

"We need to learn how to win," said Coach Houston Nutt. "We hate not getting that victory last weekend, but there's nothing we can do about that but put our effort and energy in the game this weekend.

"I saw some very good things on that BYU film, but we have to learn how to finish and make plays when you have a chance to make them. We get 12 opportunities and this is the next game and the most important game of the year."

Houston was very pleased with this week's practices.

"We had an excellent mental day today. We had a good week. I liked the way we moved around and concentrated. We had good energy all week," he noted. "I think our attitude is really, really good right now. They are ready to play and can't wait to get back on the field."

Nutt said QB Zack Stoudt, who draws the start this week, had a good week of practice.

"He threw the ball very well and got a lot of reps. Randall (Mackey) got some snaps and you could tell he had not practiced much the week before," said Nutt. "We are going to play that by ear and see how it goes."

With the shortage of running backs, the Rebels moved Korvic Neat and Chief Brown to tailback. Jeff Scott and Devin Thomas have gotten a big chunk of the reps this week.

"Jeff and Devin are our first options, but Korvic has done some good things. Chief has also done a nice job, but it's hard when you have to rush things like we did with him. He's available for a few plays if we need him. He can't do it all, but there are some things he can do," Nutt explained.

Surprisingly, Nutt said TB Brandon Bolden (foot) and WR Melvin Harris (back) are the only players definitely out for the SIU game.

"I actually liked the way (DE) Jason Jones (knee) moved around today and we are going to dress out Enrique (Davis) and see if he can go," noted Nutt. "We'll see how he feels pregame.

Jason Jones
File Photo
"On Jason, he's not 100% but he moved around pretty good. It's good to see him out there. He brings knowledge to the table."

Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix also praised the effort by the players this week.

"I think they understand we let one slip away and they understand we had work to do coming out of that opener," said Nix. "It's important to improve between week one and week two and they have given the effort to do that.

"We need to eliminate some mistakes from the opener, especially on third downs. We broke down a few times and allowed them to keep some drives alive. We were not putting our eyes in the right places at times. We worked hard on that this week and feel we have those things corrected."

Nix is anticipating several different players to get more opportunity this week against SIU based on how they practiced this week.

"(MLB) Keith Lewis and (MLB) C.J. Johnson both had good weeks. They are starting to show more flashes," Nix continued. "The way Keith has practiced, he will play.

"Also, I think we will see more of (DE) Carlos THompson, who has also had a good week. (DT) Gilbert Pena is more effective now with the cast off his hand. He'll get more snaps, most likely. We are also going to try to get (CB) Senquez Golson in the game more. We have been pleased with the way these guys have worked this week."

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