Practice Report: Wednesday

If there ever was a year when the Indoor Practice Facility not only looked like a wise investment, but a necessity, this preseason football camp has been it. Coach Houston Nutt and the Rebels have, it seems, been inside practicing as much as they have been outside. Read about today's practice inside.

How many practices during two-a-days have the Rebels been driven inside due to rain? Seems like a lot. . . .

. . . but even if our memory is poor and it's only been three or four times, the IPF has been worth its weight in gold for Coach Houston Nutt and his squad as they prepare for the season opener August 30th versus Memphis.

"The thing is you don't have to miss anything. You don't have to alter anything. You don't have to cut anything short," Nutt said. "That's invaluable when you are limited to 30 days of practice before the season starts."

Once again, rains swept through Oxford and the Rebs high-stepped it into the safe, functional haven of the IPF.

The Rebels were in full pads in the afternoon after a light walk-through - also in the IPF - this morning.

Inside or out, however, today was not a practice session Nutt was elated over.

"Little bit sloppy today. When you hit that 20-21st practice of fall practice, you are tired of banging on each other and you are looking forward to turning the corner and pointing toward game week," Nutt said. "But we still have some things to get done and some areas to get better in, so we have to practice better than we did today. We didn't do a very good job out there."

Nutt's disappointment with the practice was heightened some when Middle Linebacker Jonathan Cornell went down with a calf injury.

"I don't think it's too bad. We were in a punt drill that was just thud work, staying off the ground, and someone rolled him up. When we say stay off the ground, we mean stay off the ground or that kind of silly stuff happens," he continued. "I don't know if it's pulled or strained or cramping right now. Whatever it is, I know I'm tired of these injuries."

DT Ted Laurent did a little bit more today as he makes his comeback from knee surgery nearly a month ago.

"It's good to see him out there. There are things that Ted does naturally, he has good instincts, and it's good to have him back. It's also good to have (DE) Chris Bowers back - that helps," Nutt noted.

One player who did get the head man's praise was WR Dexter McCluster.

"He is so valuable to us. He's got to stay on the field. He does so much for this offense and he had a very good day today," Nutt allowed.

Nutt said Peria Jerry's surgery went well, but he did not want to put a timetable on his return yet.

"All I know is that it wasn't as bad or extensive as Ted's injury and surgery. That makes me feel OK, but I don't know when he'll be back, for sure before conference play starts, maybe, hopefully, before," he said.

Yesterday, Nutt said SLB Allen Walker had moved back into the number one position after missing a few days to a knee injury. Today, he said he informed the media incorrectly.

"Lamar Brumfield is still number one. I told ya'll wrong yesterday," he said. "Brumfield is reacting quicker right now because of the time Allen missed. Lamar is a little ahead right now."

Back to injuries, unfortunately, freshman LB Lakenwic Haynes has missed two days with a hamstring injury.

"He was trying to fight through a slight pull and he didn't tell anyone about it. That made it worse. We have to teach these freshmen the difference between pain and injury and to let us know if something is wrong," said Houston.

PK Josh Shene has been on target all fall camp. Nutt is pleased with the junior's production.

"All you can ask of a kicker is to be consistent and Josh has been that and more," Houston added. "We try to be smart with them and not kick them every day. The emphasis on all those kickers is that we want them to be ready, whatever that takes, that when we need them, we will count on them to perform. We can be flexible with them and let them prepare the way they are comfortable. We have them all day, but they can't kick all day. So we make sure we don't wear them down. We try to be smart and just keep them sharp and keep in their minds that we expect them to produce when their number is called."

The Rebels coaches are in the process of honing down what they are going to use of their offensive and defensive systems against Memphis.

"We are starting to put everyting we want to do on the board and getting our gameplan in their minds," Nutt closed. "When we get to the point where we have the whole gameplan in, then we should start to see much sharper and smoother execution and operation. Today was not an indication of that, but it should be in the next few days."

Random Notes:

* Injury Report: Greg Hardy (foot surgery), Peria Jerry (knee surgery), Bobby Peterson (ankle), Justin Sanders (ankle), Dan Hoffman (knee), Jason Cook (ankle), Don Mosley (foot), Melvin Harris (foot), Lakenwic Haynes (hamstring), Jonathan Cornell (calf pull).

* Injury update: Several injured players returned to practice yesterday. They all dressed out and practiced again today. DT Ted Laurent (knee), CB Jeremy McGee (concussion), DE Chris Bowers (knee), WR Mike Wallace (hamstring), LG Reid Neely (Achilles strain), RG Maurice Miller (returned from his uncle's funeral), S Brandon Sanders (shoulder) were all at practice. Laurent, Neely, B. Sanders and Bowers were still limited with how much they could do, but progress was evident with all. We were told Cook could practice if he needed to, but he's being held for precatuionary reasons.

* Freshman CB Derrick Herman, for the time being, will help the scout team out by playing some running back until some more decisions are made on the "active" RBs. Apparently, he's going to redshirt, but no official word on that yet.

* The last time Peria Jerry was injured, freshman DT Justin Smith slid right into his place with the number one defense. Apparently that lit a fire under sophomore Lawon Scott and he took it personally. This time, when Peria went down with another knee issue that required scope surgery Monday, Lawon was promoted to the top NT slot.

* The number two D-Line in practice today consisted of DEs Chris Bowers and LaDerrick Vaughn, NT Jerrell Powe and DT Justin Smith. DL Coach Tracy Rocker said Powe had his best, by far, practice of the year yesterday.

* Even though Neely has returned, the number one OL has not changed with LT Michael Oher, LG Darryl Harris, C Daverin Geralds, RG Maurice Miller and RT John Jerry. . . The twos? LT Bradley Sowell, LG Reid Neely, C Brandon Green, RG Rishaw Johnson and RT Alex Washington.

* The coaches seem to be settling in on special teams personnel as well. The number one FG unit remained the same since last week, with one change - on the left wing, Ben Benedetto was working in place of Jason Cook, out with an ankle issue. From left to right, the FG unit is made up of Benedetto (Cook), Sowell, Oher, J. Jerry, DS Preston Powers, Miller, Washington, D. Harris and Gerald Harris. The holder is Rob Park and Josh Shene, perfect in both scrimmages, is the PK.

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