While the Indoor Practice Facility is a blessing when needed during bad weather, all coaches prefer practicing outside, where the game of football is played. Mid-afternoon it appeared the Rebels might again be inside, but a short storm passed through Oxford a couple of hours before practice time and things were clear for outside work.
Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt has expressed several times his appreciation of the IPF, but he was glad to get a little sunshine for Thursday's practice.
"We had a really good practice outside today," Nutt said. "The guys came back after yesterday's practice and had much better concentration, much better focus. You can tell it's getting closer and closer. Guys are getting anxious. They're ready to hit somebody else rather than their own teammate. I'm excited about how we came back and responded today. That's the biggest thing."
Nutt admitted things are headed toward Memphis, if not full speed ahead already, then it's close to that.
"Everything's on go for Memphis," he said. "We've got scout teams and the whole bit now."
Speaking of Memphis, Nutt was asked what he knew about the Tigers. He said he knew, for one thing, that they have been winning.
"And we've watched the film from last year," he said. "They've got a new defensive coordinator, and we've watched some of that film as well. They've got good athletes. I'm familiar with a lot of the players. We recruited some of them. I know their receivers are excellent. We don't know that much about the quarterback. And they've been winning lately."
Nutt was also asked how he felt about his first game at Ole Miss since it is getting close.
"Looking forward to it. Excited about it," he said. "You just want to make sure you're hitting all the bases. Since about 1980 I've been getting this same feeling (as a coach). Along about July it starts getting close to practice time. That alarm goes off. It's practice time. Then another alarm and it's game time and time to go to war."
Injury Report along with some other personnel updates:
Greg Hardy (foot surgery) out; Peria Jerry (knee surgery) out; LaMark Armour (knee) out; Jonathan Cornell (calf pull) not dressed out today, should be back soon; Justin Sanders (ankle) boot, out; Chris Bowers (knee) full gear and practicing; Dan Hoffman (knee) practiced; Jason Cook (ankle) practiced; Lekenwic Haynes (hamstring) practiced; Don Mosley (foot) out; Melvin Harris (foot) practiced; Jamarca Sanford (very mild stinger, no-contact jersey today); Brandon Sanders (shoulder, no-contact jersey today); Ted Laurent (knee) practiced; Bobby Peterson (ankle) out; Mike Wallace (hamstring) practiced; Reid Neely (Achilles strain) practiced.
Nutt on Jonathan Cornell's situation:
"He ought to be back out here tomorrow. A strained calf."
Nutt said Jason Cook is back "full go" and he is pleased the play of backup Andy Hartmann.
"He's been tough. He's been awfully physical. You know what you're going to get from Andy on every play."
Nutt on Lawon Scott emerging to first team in a battle along the defensive front:
"Really proud of Lawon. He did a really good job of losing weight this summer. It's paid off for him. It kind of started in the weight room with Coach Decker. He was overweight. That was the first motivation. Once the news came on Teddy Laurent, that's where (Scott) really came on."
Nutt on Justin Smith along the defensive front:
"You don't expect linemen to come in and compete (for a starting spot) this early at this level because it's so hard. He's physical. He's smart. He lines up and chases the ball. Fundamentally a little ahead of where we anticipated him being. And Coach Rocker's done an excellent job with him."
Nutt on pass protection from the running back situation:
"When you use four or five wideouts, you've got to be able to protect. We always work on protection every day. The backs are part of that protection and they've got to be physical. That's one of the things for a freshman that's hard to adjust, to the speed of the linebackers or safeties blitzing. We did some live work on that part of it to make sure we've got all our hots and blitzes picked up."
Nutt on Patrick Trahan:
"That's another guy we're expecting a great deal from. For not being here all summer, he's really come on and we're proud of his progress. Coach Nix has brought him a long way. Hopefully he'll be ready to roll. He looks good."
Practice Report: Thursday
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