Bama Week Begins

The Rebels had three physical days of practice last week and then took a couple of days off for a needed rest and time to heal some old bumps and bruises. Tuesday, it was back to the practice fields.

From the way the Ole Miss Rebels hit the practice fields Tuesday, after a couple of days off for healing and rest, you would have barely known their biggest challenge of the year - number 2 Alabama - was just around the corner.

The Rebs seemed relaxed, rejuvenated and chomping at the bit, and Coach Houston Nutt obliged them with a short period of one-on-one to continue the "physical" theme from last week.

"We came out to practice today with fresh legs. I could tell the difference in the way we were moving around," said Nutt. "The break was good for the guys. They came back ready to go to work and tackle the task of taking on one of the best, if not the best, teams in the country.

"When you are going against a team like Alabama, all phases of your game have to be right. You can't help a team like that - that's what they wait on. We were loose today. I want them that way right now, but when the whistle blows, I want them ready to go. The only time I was fooled this year was that Vandy week because we had a good week of practice, but I think coming off the win against Fresno has helped us. You just want to build on that and get better."

Nutt and company have had two weeks to work on the game with the Tide.

"It gives you a chance to rest and heal those who are beat up. Then, you get to watch a little more film, get a little more time to gameplan and get a little more time to prepare," explained Nutt. "Those things can make a difference because you are not rushed and can be more thorough."

Random Notes:

Carlton Martin
File Photo

* Last week, we reported sophomore OL Patrick Junen was getting substantial reps with the first team offense at left guard. He was lined up with the first unit again Tuesday, ahead of senior Tank Washington. Junen started the first couple of games and then was replaced by Washington in one game and freshman Aaron Morris in the other. Now, it appears Patrick has worked his way back up the ladder.

* Bama has been pretty hard on quarterbacks of late, knocking out two or three in the last couple of games. So who is the Rebs' number two now? Nutt would not say. "It really depends on how the game is going and what we think we can do against them, if it came to that," said Nutt. "Right now, both of them (Zack Stoudt and Barry Brunetti) are number two. They both are working hard and getting themselves ready."

* Also last week, sophomore Evan Swindall was getting equal reps at center along with A.J. Hawkins, who has started all five games this year thus far, with the first offense. Tuesday, A.J. looked to have the edge, but Swindall was being worked in the mix as well, the same as last week.

* Redshirt freshman Defensive Tackle Carlton Martin must have had some good sessions during the open week. Tuesday, he was lined up with the first team defense alongside fellow redshirt frosh Bryon Bennett, who has started the last two games. Martin may be getting his first starting nod of the year against the Tide. Senior Justin Smith has started the first five games this season.

Ralph Williams
File Photo

* Also on defense, it looks like the coaches are looking at starting Ralph Williams at the linebacker slot that has been occupied by Joel Kight. Ralph has been heavily in the mix most of the year, but there seems to be a strong possibility he will get a start next to MLB Mike Marry, who was dressed out for practice Tuesday after sitting out all of last week to help heal a hobbled foot.

* Marry and the Rebel defense are facing one of the most potent running backs in the nation in the Tide's Trent Richardson. "The key with Trent, who is a great back, is to gang tackle him and swarm to the ball," said Marry. "One man can bring him down, but not often. Everyone has to get a piece of him in order to get him on the ground consistently." . . . Mike knows what will be required for the Rebels to have success against Bama. "With a great team like them, you have to play your best ball, play focused, play smart and be physical," he explained. "If we do those things, we will do OK, but if you don't, they are the kind of team that will take advantage of any physical or mental letdown very quickly."

* Backup Linebacker Rudy Wilson, a special teams contributor, was still sidelined Tuesday after suffering a concussion last week.

* Spur Brishen Mathews remains sidelined with a back issue. Last week, Brishen tried to stretch and do some light running but apparently he still can't go.

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