Practice Report: Wednesday

Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt put the Rebels through a shoulder pads and helmets practice Wednesday that covered all the bases on the upcoming game with number 2 Alabama. Read about it inside.

Early in the year, more specifically in August preseason practice and then a couple of times since, Ole Miss Houston Nutt was not pleased with the results of his team's practice efforts.

But in the past three weeks or so, Nutt has had nothing to beef about. Wednesday, it was more of the same - a good workout as the Rebs prepare or Saturday's match with Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

"We had another real good practice. The kids are really bouncing around and concentrating well. We got through early today because they covered all the bases and we didn't have to repeat a lot of things," Nutt said.

Midway through the workout, Nutt moved to team from the practice fields to the indoor field for the remainder of the practice.

"We set up our speakers and created some noise because this will probably be the loudest environment, besides LSU, we will play in this year," he explained. "We seemed to handle the noise well today, going on a silent count like we tried to do at Florida without any problems."

Nutt has discussed the Alabama defense in detail. Today, he was asked about the Tide's offense.

"They are very powerful and they try to enforce their will on you by being physical. It's straight-at-you football," he said. "They run, run, run and then play-action. Run, run, play-action. They try to lull you into thinking run all the time and then go over the top to some excellent wideouts.

"In the meantime, they run some good backs in the line looking for some creases and if you don't have good gap discipline, they can break a long one on you. We have to be very assignment sound and physical."

Nutt also respect Bama QB John Parker Wilson.

"He's a guy who just does his job without making many mistakes. He distributes the ball without a lot of fanfare, but he always seems to throw it to the right people and on time," Houston closed. "He's experienced, a good leader, someone they believe in and the thing he does that most don't recognize is that he checks them out of bad plays very effectively. He's not flashy, but he's very effective."

Random Notes:

* Senior Tight End David Traxler sat out practice with a nagging back injury he says has been "bothering him for a while." Houston Nutt said he's "not counting on David for the Alabama game." Junior Gerald Harris and sophomore Reggie Hicks will handle most of the tight end duties against the Crimson Tide. Nutt said he was "tempted" to take the redshirt off either E.J. Epperson or Ferbia Allen, both true freshman, but he won't. "They could handle it, but I'm not going to take their redshirt off," Nutt said. Nutt also indicated senior FB Jason Cook could take some of the tight end snaps in a pinch.

* Junior WR Shay Hodge doesn't have fond memories of last year's Alabama game, but he said that's water under the bridge now. All Rebels will recall what he's talking about. In a controversial overturn by the replay booth, on what was called a long completion to Hodge by the officials on the field, a crucial drive was killed in the tight contest. "I thought the call should have gone the other way," said Hodge, "but that's over. You can't let the game come down to an official's call. We should have won the game regardless." Shay said the memory of playing Alabama so closely last year will give the team confidence despite the fact Alabama is ranked number 2 in the nation. "We will not be intimidated by them. We should have beaten them last year. They are probably better than they were last year, but so are we," he stated. "We know they are going to be good and we feel we are good too." Shay respects Alabama's secondary. "They use their hands well and the safeties come up aggressively and hit hard. They have good athletes in their secondary. We will have to play well to win," he closed.

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