Maybe Mackey

Junior quarterback Randall Mackey received additional repetitions with the first team offense this week in practice. This much we know.

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But could Mackey be in line for the first start of his career? Mackey was noncommittal following practice Wednesday. Ole Miss (1-3, 0-2 SEC) travels to Fresno State (2-2, 1-1 WAC) Saturday. The game is set for broadcast at 8:15 CT.

"Well, I don't know. Maybe," Mackey said of earning the start. "I've just been going with the first team a lot. That's good."

Mackey has appeared in each of the Rebels' last three games after serving a one-game suspension in the season-opening loss to BYU. On the year, he has completed six of 12 passes for 106 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also has 54 yards to his credit on 17 carries.

"Randall's been looking all right," junior tight end Jamal Mosley said of Mackey. "We got to get somebody to get it going with the offense, and we've been rotating guys. Hopefully we can get Randall confident and get him going. You know how he was in (junior college). He had a little confidence and had a couple of starts under his belt and had his offense rolling. We're trying to get him like that."

Mackey believes he has played "all right" through four games.

Randall Mackey
Bruce Newman

"Playing against Georgia and Vanderbilt, two teams in the SEC, that was a real good experience," Mackey said. "I kind of got knocked out a couple of times. But it was all right. So far I'm doing OK with the team. As a whole unit, we're trying to get the offense together as one."

Ole Miss ran away from Fresno State last season in Oxford, winning 55-38. Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, a dual-threat quarterback similar to Mackey, had 212 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns.

"You can say it's similar. It's almost like the same stuff that they ran last year," Mackey said of Fresno. "It's kind of going to be almost the same game. I ain't trying to say it's going to be the same score or nothing like that, but almost the same game."

Mackey said he has focused this week on staying in the pocket and going through his progressions. In each of his three game appearances, he has shown a tendency to run.

"Most of the time, no, I don't need to scramble, ‘cause I got trust in the line that they're going to make the right blocks and just hold up so I ain't got to scramble and take all them hits," he said. "Just trying to get the ball out (of) my hands."

Lockett feeling more like himself:

Senior defensive end Kentrell Lockett hasn't been himself in the opening month of the 2011 season. Far from it, actually.

Lockett has just five tackles in four games and no sacks. By comparison, Lockett entered the season with 23.5 tackles for loss in his career, and was sixth in the SEC in sacks with nine.

Lockett suffered a devastating, season-ending ACL injury last season against Fresno State. Ole Miss meets Fresno State for the second time in school history Saturday. Lockett, who said he has begun to feel more like himself over the last week or so, said the game is an important step for him mentally.

Kentrell Lockett
Chuck Rounsaville

"I feel good, man. I was tweeting (Wednesday) and I said ‘I feel like OleForty is back.' I don't know if it's because we're playing Fresno, kind of like a redemption deal," he said.

"My wife and I've been saying (this game) is the last step I need to make to actually put everything behind me, you know? It happened against Fresno, now overcome that Fresno game. You have another opportunity. Once that's done, I feel like I'm going to be great again."

Head coach Houston Nutt said Wednesday Lockett is "getting better."

Lockett was overtaken on the depth chart by junior Gerald Rivers against Vanderbilt. Rivers hasn't relinquished the starting job. However, Lockett has rotated in, and Nutt said Lockett should receive more snaps going forward.

"When you have four surgeries and the last one very major, it's hard to come back from. It's tough," Nutt said. "There's a lot of work to get your total strength back, your quickness and suddenness, but he's worked extremely hard. It's just very difficult.

"I think he's getting better, and I think he'll get more plays. I know this about Kentrell, he has tremendous experience and tremendous want-to. I just think he'll be there."

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