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The "turmoil" of the last 72 was briefly broken when the Ole Miss Rebels - thank goodness - returned to the practice fields. We can still talk about the team, right?

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If we can, we'd like to take time off from the Pete Boone debate, the Houston Nutt talk and the other influences that have the Rebel nation in an uproar to out the focus back on the football team.

You know, the guys we'll actually be watching and cheering for Saturday when they line up to play Georgia in a home SEC match.

After Monday's mandatory day off, the Rebs hit the practice fields in full pads Tuesday.

Their demeanor was what you would expect - a team trying to regroup after a humbling defeat at the hands of Vanderbilt Saturday in Nashville.

As Houston Nutt approached the media gathering after the workout, it was obvious he has something on his mind he had to get off his chest.

Houston Nutt
Chuck Rounsaville

"The first thing I want to say is this is my football team and I take full responsibility for last Saturday's performance, first and foremost," said Nutt. "We have coaches and players that care. They care, and they want to please, especially our fans. Chancellor (Dan) Jones is not the football coach. Pete Boone is not the football coach. Hey, I'm the football coach.

"It's my responsibility to get 'em right, to get 'em going. That's what I appreciate about today, and that's what I appreciate about this game. It's the toughest game in the world, it's a man's, man's game, and you're going to get knocked down. You're going to get knocked down. I've been in this league long enough to know it's about how you respond, how you get back up. That's why this game is the greatest teacher in life. We learned things that will benefit us 20 years down the line.

"The bottom line is that we have guys out here who are competing out here and wanting to get it done."

Nutt and company face a tough task in Georgia, who will throw a 3-4 look on defense at them - the third time in four games they've seen that look.

"Georgia has outstanding athletes, the quickest we have seen at some spots. The ends safeties and corners can move and they will hit you," he said. "Our offense has to be sharp. We have simplified and we are working on making less mistakes. Let's quit stopping ourselves. You can't have that. I saw good concentration today, so we have to come back out here and do it again tomorrow."

Nutt was reminded this game is being called "The Hot Seat Bowl" with him and Mark Richt, also under fire, squaring off.

"I can't worry about that," he said laughing. "I understand. Mark and I are pretty close. He's a good guy and he's won a lot of games there. We talked during the summer. He's a great competitor."

Random Notes:

Uriah Grant
Chuck Rounsaville

* Based on the early portions of practice, it appears Offensive Line Coach Mike Markuson has opted to promote freshman OL Aaron Morris to the first team at left guard, the position that has been manned for three games by Patrick Junen. The rest of the starters remain the same. It also appears there has been a little movement on the second team with Emmanuel McCray at right tackle, Jared Duke at right guard, Evan Swindall at center, Tank Washington at left guard behind Morris and Junen at left tackle behind Bradley Sowell.

We'll see if that move with Morris "holds" all week. "Aaron did good. There is a learning curve there, but he did good," said Nutt. "We also have Alex working in there too. I also want to say we have not given up on Patrick, we are just trying to find that right group and right chemistry. Aaron will have to study. He's got the physical part - he just has to learn his assignments. I'll think he'll jump right in. The speed of the game may get him early, but he's an outstanding athlete and very mature physically for his age."

* There have been hundreds of rumors floating around the last couple of days, but one involved three Rebel players - DT Uriah Grant, LB Serderius Bryant and S Denzel Nkemdiche. The rumor concerned the three of those newcomers, two frosh and one JUCO, having left the team. Not true. All three were buckled up and practicing Tuesday. Grant was with the number one defense, Bryant is backing up Joel Kight at OLB and Nkemdiche is most likely going to redshirt.

* Spur Brishen Mathews is still out of action with a lower back ailment that doesn't seem to be getting any better.

* QB Randall Mackey missed Sunday's practice with a thigh contusion but he was dressed for practice Tuesday. The media is not allowed to stay at practice long enough to see how much action he got, but he was dressed out. Based on what little we saw, Zack Stoudt is still number one, Mackey number two and Barry Brunetti number three on the totem pole.

* TB Brandon Bolden came back from a foot injury against Vanderbilt Saturday and seems to be almost back in full swing now. He's practicing full speed now. He doesn't look 100%, but close enough.

* WR Melvin Harris has missed the first three games. Some say for injury, others for suspension. We are not getting an answer on those questions, but what we do know is that he is back in the fold and is eligible for this week's game against Georgia.

* C.J. Johnson was switched to defensive end last week, but in the Vandy game he played some LB and some DE. Tuesday, he was working out with the linebackers and the defensive ends. We assume that means he will have a role at both positions for now.

Gerald Rivers
Chuck Rounsaville

* For now, Nick Brassell remains with the defense in practice. After knocking down a couple of passes and making his presence known against Vandy in limited action, look for his role to expand game-by-game. The coaches are also saying he will still play on offense, but we did not see him on that side of the ball against the Dores.

* MLB Mike Marry, who played admirably against Vanderbilt despite noticeable struggling with a foot injury, was back in a walking boot Tuesday. The thought is Mike will not practice a whole lot during the week in order to rest the foot, but he should be available for games, just like last week when the same scenario unfolded. "He'll probably be in a boot each week for a few weeks from Sunday through Tuesday and then hope to get him back out here on Wednesdays for limited work," said Nutt.

* Last week, Gerald Rivers got his first start of the year in front of Kentrell Lockett at DE. Based on the early part of practice, Gerald is still holding that top spot.

* The Rebels started practice with a longer-than-normal session of bull in the ring to get the juices going. They seemed into it.

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