All Systems Go

The Rebels were driven inside by area rain for Thursday's practice, but Coach Houston Nutt believes his squad finished off the week's preparations for Kentucky in good fashion.

In waiting for any game to be played, coaches and analysts always have "keys to victory."

For Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt it is no different.

The 2-6 Rebels will be facing Kentucky in Lexington Saturday afternoon and there are specific things Nutt's team must do in order to pick up its first SEC win of the year.

"We've got to have tremendous road focus," said Nutt. "I thought we did that at Auburn for a half, but we didn't do it for 60 minutes. That has to be our number one objective.

"We also have to take care of the football. Again, some turnovers cost us dearly at Auburn last week. You just can't turn it over in this league, at home or on the road. We also cannot give up the big play that has plagued us this year, especially in that last three games. To go along with that, we have to be able to keep Kentucky's top back under 100 yards rushing, also something we have not done in the last three outings. If we will do those things, we will have a great chance."

Kentucky will probably go with freshman Quarterback Maxwell Smith, who replaced junior Morgan Newton last week after Newton got injured against MSU. Smith responded by going 26-33 for 174 against the Bulldogs.

"He's a big kid who can spin it. He can really throw it, from what I have seen on film," said Nutt.

Kentucky's main weapons on defense are Middle Linebacker Danny Trevathan and hybrid LB/S Winston Guy.

"Trevathan seems to make every tackle. Guy can fly - he looks the part and plays the part," noted Nutt. "Guy played free safety for them last year, but he's been moved to that OLB/Safety type of position like the Spur.

"They play hard on defense and everything rotates around those two and their playmaking ability."

It is likely the Rebels will line up with eight true or redshirt freshmen in their top 22.

Bobby Massie
File Photo

Look for Nickolas Brassell to get a start along with WR Donte Moncrief, LG Aaron Morris, DTs Carlton Martin and Bryon Bennett - both redshirt frosh, Spur Keith Lewis, Safety Cody Prewitt, and LB Serderius Bryant.

Bryant, Prewitt and Lewis are slated, if nothing changes before Saturday, for their first collegiate starts.

"Like I explained earlier this week, we will still rely heavily on some of the older guys who have been playing those positions, but these young kids have earned starts or substantial playing time," said Nutt. "That's how you get on the field - you earn it in practice and in game results.

"They ahve played with enthusiasm and they have been productive in practice and in games. They finally understand our concepts and systems and we are ready to throw them in there."

Random Notes:

* Nutt said the Rebels are healthy for the Kentucky game. The only ones missing due to injury are those who are out for the year: D.T. Shackelford, Marcus Temple, Brishen Mathews and Wayne Dorsey. "Everyone else seems to be in good shape," he stated.

* OL Coach Mike Markuson has been pleased with the progress of his group in the last two games. "I think we finally have the right five out there," Markuson said. "Finally being able to insert Evan Swindall and Aaron Morris into the lineup has given us something extra. Evan is a fighter and Aaron is an excellent athlete who gets better every week. Bobby Massie has also come on strong in the last few weeks and is playing much better."

* Offensive Coordinator David Lee has had a strong message for his group this week. "I've told them, we better be ready to play because that bunch at Kentucky believe they can beat Ole Miss," said Lee. "We don't want the scenario that happened at Vanderbilt to happen again. You can't just show up and expect to win. You have to play hard and effectively. Kentucky has several guys on defense who can start for anyone in this league. We have to be tuned in and turned on.". . . . Lee is excited to have TB Brandon Bolden back in the swing of things after the senior played well the past two games. "To have him healthy means so much to us," said David. "We have so many things tagged for him, so many plays where he is the focal point. He is so versatile. We have really missed him, but now he's back and we look for him to finish the year with a big bang."

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