Thirty-three "new" Rebels - freshmen, JUCOs and a few walkons - reported Saturday with no surprises, according to Rebel Coach Houston Nutt.
The following is a transcript of the media briefing with Nutt. (A list of who reported Saturday will be available to the media today after the vets report.)
Nutt: They all showed. Everyone that was supposed to be here is here.
Q: You had five guys off your signing class that aren't here, but you expected most of it. Did you get them placed?
Nutt: Chris Wilkes went to pro baseball. Horatio Williams did not make it academically and I'm not sure where he is going. He might go JUCO or go to Hargrave, I am not sure yet. I think Andre Sterling is going to Hargrave. Coach Kim Dameron has been working with Randall Mackey and Hunter Miller is walking on at Arkansas.
Q: Talk about Patrick Trahan and Demareo Marr getting cleared yesterday.
Nutt: That's really good. I'm very proud of them. They put forth a lot of effort. Summer school is constant and requires work every day. They did a great job and I'm proud of them.
Q: How is Jerrell Powe's conditioning?
Nutt: We will find out soon enough. I really don't know a lot. I just know it's better than when we first met him. He was able to work out with Strength Coach Don Decker and his staff, but none of the assistant coaches, so we just know what Coach Decker is telling us and he said Jerrell has come a long way. We'll see when he hits the field.
Q: Where does Patrick Trahan fit in?
Nutt: We'll put him out there with the linebackers and let Coach (Tyrone) Nix figure that out. It's just good to have that type of athleticism, speed, quickness and strikability he has shown all the way since high school. We're excited about him and expect him to play outside LB - Will or Sam.
Q: How is RB Devin Thomas' ankle coming along?
Nutt: (Football Trainer) Tim Mullins told me Devin is coming along fine. Maybe not quite full speed, but Coach Decker said he is cutting, turning and moving well. He's almost 100%.
Q: Is he a redshirt candidate?
Nutt: We don't approach it that way. We tell them all to come ready to play. We'll figure it out from there. It's not the time for them to worry about redshirt or not. We won't redshirt anyone today. Today, find your locker, listen to the right people and get ready to start the best days of your life. There's nothing to get uptight about, just have great listening skills and we'll sort everything else out down the road. That's the attitude we'll take as coaches. How much are they grasping in the system and terminology? Then, how quickly can they handle what they have learned with the combination of putting on those pads?
Q: At running back, how quickly do you need one or two of your young backs to come around?
Nutt: We need those guys to come on. Those three we signed (Enrique Davis, Thomas, Brandon Bolden) will get all the opportunity they want and need to push for playing time. We will need three RBs ready and there is a great opportunity for those freshmen.
Q: Do you divide the freshmen from the vets in practice?
Nutt: We will put them all together in the meeting room and we'll test them at the end of the week. Then we will evaluate what they do on the field and go from there. It's a faster process than it used to be when freshmen and newcomers got three days of practice before the vets got here, but we've got plenty of time to get everything organized and to teach these new guys what they need to know. We have 29 opportunities before now and the opener.
Q: So you won't have any practices with just the newcomers?
Nutt: No. We will start Monday with everyone out there at practice together.
Q: Is it this hot and humid in Fayetteville in August? If not, do you have any special plans for dealing with this type of heat?
Nutt: It is not this humid in Fayetteville, but we started a couple of years back getting away from traditional two-a-days. We do a full run through that lasts about 50 minutes in the morning inside out of the heat. Then we will have a real good, full, 2 hour, 15 minute practice outside in the afternoon. If we do the right things in hydrating them, which we plan to do, we think we can keep them off the IVs and things like that. It does not do you any good to have a bunch of two-a-days and having a lot of your team missing practice. We will take precautions to make sure everyone is available for every practice, especially in this type of heat.
Q: Will you always practice once inside and once outside during two-a-days?
Nutt: Unless it rains or storms, yes. We will use this IPF to our advantage, but we understand we have to work in the heat too.
Q: Is the heat the reason you are starting afternoon outdoor practices at 5:30 p.m.?
Nutt: No, we are gearing everything around our kickoff time of 6 p.m. for the games. We are going to be playing at 6, so I like to time up practices to correlate with game times if we can.
Q: Is Allen Walker off indefinite suspension?
Nutt: Yes. He's done everything we have asked and has done well academically. I'm proud of the change in his life, for the better. I'm also proud we only have one player in intersession. That's really good for us.
Q: Does Allen have anything facing him legally?
Nutt: I am not sure. He may have a court date late September or early October, but I'm not sure to be honest.
Q: You have to be happy not to be waiting on any decisions for academics on any players.
Nutt: Yes, I am. Usually we have two or three we are waiting on but I have to commend Mike Beaumont, Clifton Ealy and Danny (Nutt) for staying on top of those things like transcripts and progress reports and the clearinghouse and making sure these kids were on top of what they had to do. Great job by those administrative assistants and the academic folks.
Q: When you first started out in coaching, did you do the standard two-a-days?
Nutt: Yes. We'd practice two three-hour sessions, just like I was taught by the guys I played under. But I think our way is a perfect way to get things done and not lose their attention and get everything done you need to get done. And you are helping keep them strong for the season. There is no need to wear them out before the season even starts.
Q: Do you find if you keep them out there longer you lose their attention?
Nutt: I have never dealt with this type of heat, but any two-a-days you start to lose them a little about midway through. The grind sets in, but we are going to try to keep them fresh and playing fast so we can have a good camp.
Q: How had Greg Hardy done in the offseason?
Nutt: He has improved everything. We were wondering when we first got here if he would make all the 5:30 a.m. practices and things like that and he has made every one of them. He has developed some consistency and Coach (Tracy) Rocker will know exactly the right time to put him with the first group if he keeps doing what he's done in the offseason. Coach Rocker does a great job of developing depth and having a rotation that is fresh. He does a good job of having eight ready to go on the DL. Getting back to your question, we have a lot of respect for Greg and how far he has come, but change is hard and we asked him to change a lot of things, which he has done.
Q: Is game performance the only thing you have not been able to evaluate with QB Jevan Snead and what are your expectations for him?
Nutt: I have a lot of confidence in Jevan and his decision-making under fire. We have to start right back where we left off in spring. We will go best against best a lot and have Hardy, Emmanuel Stephens and Marcus Tillman getting after him pretty good. We won't hit him, but we will put him under a lot of game-type pressure.
Q: Any further word on Ted Laurent's knee?
Nutt: No, not really. He's in that 3-5 week circle. I hated it for him because he had a great summer, a really great summer. I'm glad it wasn't any more than it was. He's the only one who will miss practice that I am aware of today when it starts Monday.
Q: How is John Jerry?
Nutt: Much better. He should be ready to go. We're looking forward to him practicing every day.
Q: Did you have several non-scholly players report today?
Nutt: Yes. CB Aaron Nicholls, from Little Rock Central. Marquis Jenkins, a LB from Hargrave. Marcus Temple, a DB from Hargrave. Bryson Rose, a placekicker. Bobby Peterson, an OL. There were a couple more, but I will get that list for you for tomorrow when we meet again at 2.
Newcomers report -
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