Practice Report: Tuesday

Coming down off the high from the win over Florida and focusing on the task at hand is paramount in the Rebs' preparations for South Carolina, who invades Oxford Saturday. How did they do Tuesday in their quest to come back to earth? Read about it inside.

Houston Nutt's most critical job this week is to get the Rebels to put the Florida win behind them.

"My antenna is up to make sure we put that game behind us. That is the most critical thing we will do this week, just as it was last week when we put the loss to Vandy behind us," Nutt said. "Today, they did OK. We had our first full day of preparations and I thought they handled it well. It was a blue collar day and they worked hard.

"Every week, there has to be a purpose of getting better, win or lose the week before. To do that, you have to put the last game in your rearview mirror and turn all your focus on the next opponent."

Houston was pleased to get out of the hard-hitting Florida game without any major injuries. He attributed that to a great offseason program and a mindset in the game.

"We tell them if you play hard the chances of injuries are much smaller. If you play at a very high intensity level, the odds of injury go way down," Nutt explained. "The last 30 minutes of that game, we were playing extremely hard with a bend in our knee. You can't always reach that intensity level, but we did that day and I think that's why we didn't have any noticeable injuries."

Nutt was asked how Nix, who coached at SC last year, would handle taking on his former players.

"You can't help but be emotional. It's hard. It will be hard for him because he spent part of his life there, but he's a pro and he will concentrate on the task at hand," Nutt stated. "He knows all their players, but I don't think that is any kind of big advantage. They are a well-schooled defense that is not giving up much. They are right up there statisitically with the Floridas and Georgia and Alabamas.

"They are near the top in all kinds of defensive stats. I have gone against Ellis Johnson defenses before. They are very sound, they don't give up big plays, they are disciplined, they stay at home and they play hard."

Random Notes:

* Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix said all the top six linebackers will play but MLB Tony Fein and WLB Patrick Trahan started ahead of Jonathan Cornell and Ashlee Palmer at Florida "because they practiced better last week." In the early part of today's practice, it appeared Trahan was working ahead of Palmer again and Fein and Cornell were splitting reps with the top defense. "We'll see how they all practice as to who gets the starting nod," Nix noted.

* Freshman Safety Marcus Temple, who made the first hit on Florida QB Tim Tebow on the game-winning fourth-and-one stop, was in a walking boot today and did not practice. The top part of his foot is injured, but we do not know the severity of the injury at this point. "He was just starting to really get it and play good too," said Houston Nutt. "We are not sure if he will play Saturday or not. Give it another couple of days and we'll know more." . . In Temple's absence, who will the Rebels turn to as their nickel back? The most likely candidates are senior S Terrell Jackson and CB Jeremy McGee, but Nutt said the coaching staff is exploring all options.

* Nutt indicated in his press conference yesterday that senior RG Maurice Miller, who overslept Friday and did not start against Florida only to come in at RT when starter John Jerry had to leave the game with a bruised shoulder, may not start against South Carolina. His fill-in, Reid Neely, did a good job against the Gators and Nutt "likes the competition." Today, Nutt said, Neely was still with the ones and Miller was backing him up for now.

* John Jerry, who did come back and finish the game against Florida, has a bruised shoulder, but he did practice in full pads today and he was with the first OL.

* WR Jacarious Lucas was back at practice today, but he will have to sit out this year due to academic reasons and redshirt. He missed some of last week due to an ankle injury, but says he is fine now.

* A late note from the Florida game. Rebel Defensive Line Coach Tracy Rocker used 10 DL in the contest - five defensive ends and five defensive tackles. The DEs were Kentrell Lockett, Marcus Tillman, Chris Bowers, Greg Hardy and Emmanuel Stephens. The DTs were Peria Jerry, Ted Laurent, Jerrell Powe, Lawon Scott and Justin Smith. Nutt said the rotation kept everyone fresh and was a factor in the Rebs getting a great line surge on the Gators' 4th-and-one failed attempt. When is the last time any Rebel coach has been able to play 10 defensive linemen comfortably in a big SEC matchup? We can't recall. But it did not surprise Nix to see that many DL play. "We talk about personnel every day and all 10 of those guys had earned some playing time in practice," Tyrone noted. "Coach Rocker did a good job running them in and out and keeping them all fresh. Hopefully, we can continue that depending on how practices go."


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