After the South Carolina game, Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt was not pleased with the intensity level of the squad.
He and his staff challenged the Rebs during the open week to get the Florida week/game energy level back. Nutt said they succeeded in doing that last week, but has it carried over to this week in practice as well?
"We had a really good practice today," said Nutt. "Their energy level carried over from last week. I'm very proud of their response, but we have to come back and have another good one tomorrow and finish out the week focused and concentrating. The game will be here before you know it."
Nutt is asking the team to do four things at Tuscaloosa against the undefeated and number 2-ranked Tide.
"I want them to compete hard, stop the run, take care of the ball and not have any foolish penalties," he said. "We have proven if we do that we can play with anyone in the country. But we can't do what we did against Vandy or South Carolina and expect good things to happen."
Nutt has won in Tuscaloosa before, but he knows it's a hard environment to play in.
"There are a lot of tough venues in the SEC, but that's one of the top three, I'd say," Nutt noted. "We have to play like we did the second half of Florida - 100%, absolute, total focus and concentration on everything. The noise level there can be daunting. The first five minutes of the game they will have a tide of emotions that is at a high level. They are ranked number 2 and thinking they should be number 1. They have a lot of confidence. We have to match all that with intensity and focus and energy."
Nutt believes the Rebels are learning from the hard lessons they have had to endure this season.
"I feel real good when I talk to my guys collectively and individually that they are gaining confidence and are learning," he added. "This game will be meat and potatoes football. There are no tricks, no gimmicks, just get physical and play real football. It's going to be rock-em, sock-em all the way and we have to be ready for that, draw from the things we did well in the past and not repeat the things we did poorly before."
DE Kentrell Lockett said he doesn't expect a repeat of the Carolina game.
"We came out flat and didn't play ball the way we are supposed to play," said Lockett. "Coming off the Florida game, I was surprised the way we responded. I don't know if we got bigheaded or what, but we just didn't do what we are coached to do.
"We just weren't focused the way we were supposed to be. That was a hard lesson to learn, but it will just make us better in the future."
Lockett is looking forward to the matchup against the physical Crimson Tide.
"These games are why you play. This will be hard-nosed football, SEC football at its best," he continued. "Grinding, smash mouth - it's what we like and what they like. We aren't really concerned too much with their ranking or anything. We just know it's going to be hard, tough football and we better be ready for it."
* Rebel Coach Houston Nutt celebrated his 51st birthday Tuesday. He said he feels like a "young pup." Happy Birthday, Houston!
* Last week, starting Cornerback Cassius Vaughn missed Thursday's practice after having his ankle rolled in Wednesday's workout. He returned to practice today with his left ankle taped. He participated in all drills. This is the same ankle Vaughn injured earlier in the year. He will play against the Tide.
* Transfer CB James Scott appears to have finally gotten all his ducks in a row. He came to practice for a day or two a week or so ago, but missed some practices last week trying to get his class schedule and other issues settled. He was back at practice today.
* Nickel Back Marcus Temple missed the South Carolina game with a foot injury but is back in action now. He practiced today at full speed.
* If you watched the South Carolina game closely, you saw DT Peria Jerry with a wrap of some sort on his right arm. He has some type of elbow issue. He is wearing a wrap on the elbow in practice but is working out full speed.
* In the past two games, MLBs Jonathan Cornell and Tony Fein and Will LBs Ashlee Palmer and Patrick Trahan have been splitting time at their respective positions. In practice, it appears that will be the case again against Bama. . . It also appears frosh DT Justin Smith is working out with the second team ahead of frosh Jerrell Powe, but Powe is still in the five-man DT rotation being employed by DL Coach Tracy Rocker.
Practice Report: Tuesday
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