Practice Report: Wednesday

While nobody is overlooking the next opponent, Samford, this is a get better week for the Ole Miss fotoball team, but Coach Houston Nutt said the Rebs need a better workout tomorrow than they gave him today. Read about it inside.

Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix talks about making plays, trusting teammates and learning the system better.

Offensive Coordinator Kent Austin and OL Coach Mike Markuson want more production out of the run game.

Coach Houston Nutt is asking for more consistency across the board and for the return games to improve.

While a victory over Samford Saturday is the main goal, the other objective is for the Rebels to keep improving on a daily and weekly basis, regardless of the competition.

With that theme in mind, the Rebels hit the practice fields today in full pads, but did not deliver what Nutt wanted - overall.

"We had some heat today and had a pretty good practice. The players got a little hot and a little tired on us, but we had to jump start them some," he said. "We got into Samford's plays real well, but we have to have a better practice tomorrow."

The emphasis this week on offense has been on the run game.

"We've focused on the run game a lot and I think we are getting better, but I am anxious to see it live," Nutt noted. "It's 11 men. Anything on offense is 11 men who have to do their jobs. Let's block better, let's see the hole quicker, let's downfield block better and so on. It's a combination of things that didn't go well at Wake Forest in the run game - not just one person or one unit.

"We had eight guys doing things right and the other three weren't. We are averaging eight and we need 11. Eight is not good enough. But it's not the same eight every time. We've all been right some and all been wrong some. That's what I am talking about when I talk about consistency. Let's all be right - all 11."

Nutt has said he likes running backs by the stable. He's not opposed to continuing to spread the ball around to different backs, but he'd like to see something else start to develop now.

"I'd like to see one guy separate himself from the pack. I don't mind three guys, but someone will evenutally take control. When he does, he's going to have to know how to block, protect, work in the passing game - the whole ball of wax," Houston continued. "Right now, one blocks better, one runs the draw better, one runs the screen better, one runs inside better and so on."

This week, Marshay Green has moved in front of Dustin Mouzon at the field cornerback slot. Why?

"His attitude has been great. Who wants to do it?I'll go do it, he said. What a tremendous team attitude and unselfishness and he will be rewarded for that this week with a start," Hosuton stated. "We want to see how he responds. He made some good plays at Wake Forest and deserves a chance.

"Also, the other changes we have made on defense have stuck as of today."

For his part, Marshay is excited about his chance, but he never thought about going back to offense when he lost the starting CB job in August.

"It was something I was doing wrong that got me demoted. It was my fault, nobody else, so I was not going to quit. I was not going to let Coach (Chris) Vaughn, Coach (Tyrone) Nix and Coach Nutt down," Green explained. "I wasn't doing my job. I was not watching the wide receiver - I was watching what was happening in the backfield and you can't do that. I just kept working at it and now I'm getting my shot.

"There was some frustration, I have to admit, but if I had gone back to offense that would have gone against what I am. I am a competitor and competitors compete whether things are going good or not."

Random Notes:

* Several NFL scouts were in attendance at practice today. One, who we have seen at Ole Miss workouts before, shared some thoughts about some of the Rebel seniors. Obviously, this is just the perspective from one NFL team. . . LT Michael Oher: First round athletic ability, questions about his physicality, but have seen signs of improvement there in two game films from this season. RG Maurice Miller: Like his size and strength. Could very well be a late rounder in the draft. OLB Ashlee Palmer: Likes the way he runs. Could also be a late rounder. WR Mike Wallace: Can't coach speed and good size for a guy who runs in 4.2s. Not sure where he'll be drafted because drafts are usually loaded with wideouts, but feels he can go in top 5 rounds if he finishes this season strong. FB Jason Cook: The low demand for fullbacks could hurt him, but physical enough and athletic enough to be a late pick. DT Peria Jerry: If he can stay healthy the rest of the way, very easily could be a first day pick.

* When the offense was running plays against air, Reid Neely was worked in some with the first team at left guard for the first time since his Achilles injury. He was splitting time with Darryl Harris.

* WR Mike Wallace has been working some on kickoff returns now that he is 100% from his hamstring pull he suffered in mid-August.

* The defensive changes from yesterday - Marcus Tillman from DT to DE, Ted Laurent and Peria Jerry moved up to first team DT slots, and Marshay Green at CB in front of Dustin Mouzon - appear to be sticking for now.

* We talked to a member of the S&C staff about how the redshirt candidates are doing in workouts. They lift weights and work agility drills four times a week. He is very high on LB Jason Jones, calling him "a beast." He also said all the "bigger bodies" are extremely hard-working and have already made "substantial" gains in strength. DE Gerald Rivers, LB Lakenwic haynes, FB H.R. Greeg, and TEs E.J. Epperson and Ferbia Allen drew his praise for their progress and work ethic. WR Melvin Harris and DB Demareo Marr have both gained 10 pounds of needed body weight already. The biggest gains, he noted, will be after October 1st because workouts will be "ramped up" then.

Ole Miss Athletics Director Pete Boone announced Wednesday a three-game football series with Fresno State University, which will mark the first gridiron meetings between the two schools. The first game is scheduled for Oxford on Sept. 25, 2010, while Ole Miss will then return the game to Fresno, Calif., on Oct. 1, 2011. The final game of the series will be in Oxford in 2015, with the date yet to be determined. "We are excited about adding Fresno State to our non-conference schedule," Boone said. "Fresno State has a great tradition in football and Coach Pat Hill continues to keep the Bulldogs competitive on the national scene. I anticipate three hard-fought games, and the 2011 season will also provide a great trip to the West Coast for our fans." Currently a member of the Western Athletic Conference, Fresno State has won a total of 23 league titles, including three WAC crowns, and participated in 21 bowl games.

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