Practice Report: Tuesday

The Ole Miss Rebels resumed practice Tuesday after Monday's day off in helmets and shoulder pads. Three key players were not practicing due to injury. Read about it inside.

Usually, on Tuesdays, the Rebels practice in full pads and have their only "heavy hitting" practice of the week.

This week, Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt practiced teh Rebs in just shoulder pads and helmets on Tuesday.

"We had a very physical game against Alabama and we wanted to take some of the contact work out of practices this week," said Nutt. "Usually, by this time of the year, I do that and start limiting contact in practice to make sure we stay healthy and fresh. I know we are in good shape.

"This is a test for this team. If they will practice hard and still gives us some crisp thud work, we will continue that. They did a good job today of staying focused and intense. If they hadn't done a good job today, we would have come back in full pads tomorrow, but they did well."

Nutt was asked about the progress of SLB Allen Walker.

"He's playing his responsibility better. Allen is playing faster and things are slowing down for him in the ballgames. He's gained confidence and is also doing a good job on special teams," Houston stated.

Freshman Tailback Enrique Davis had somewhat of a breakout game against the Tide. Did Nutt see that coming and did Davis follow that up with a good practice Tuesday?

"He had two good weeks leading into the Alabama game. He did a good job at Alabama - I was really proud of him. Enrique had the longest run of the year for us against a great defense - that's very positive. Hopefully he can continue on and we'll keep feeding him the ball. He had another good day today," Nutt noted.

Everyone knows the score. Nutt and some of his current Rebel staff were at Arkansas for a decade. While he's downplaying that to the team, everyone knows this game has an extra incentive to those guys. How is Nutt handling the game with the Rebel players?

"The best I can, I am treating this as just another game with the team," Houston said. "Just like last week, it's the most important game of the year for us because it's the next one. They know all about us being there before, and a couple have asked me about it, but I am just telling them to concentrate on playing ball. It's not about the coaches - it's about playing good football and winning."

With the 6 p.m. kickoff, the forecast for the game is for the temperatures to be in the 40s.

"That's not cold enough to affect anything," Nutt stated. "The big boys will like it though. It will help the linemen on both teams. That's good football weather."

Random Notes:

* Several fans commented how well they thought DT Lawon Scott played against Alabama. Apparently, the coaches agreed. In Tuesday's practice, Lawon was elevated to first team ahead of Ted Laurent. Lawon began the season as the starter, but when Laurent returned full speed from a summer knee injury, he regained the starting position he had earned in spring training. Good competition at that crucial position.

* With Leg Guard Darryl Harris sitting out of practice with an elbow injury, Reid Neely, last year's starter at LG, was moved up to the first team offensive line. Reid, you will recall, won the starting slot in spring training, but suffered an Achilles tendon injury in August. Darryl, a sixth-year senior, took his place while Reid was injured and never gave the job up. The latest on Darryl is that he tore a ligament in his elbow. The rebs are getting a special brace in from California tomorrow. "He can bend it, but I am worried about him being able to lock it out. I'm not sure what he'll be able to do," said Nutt.

* Senior TE David Traxler missed last week's game due to nagging back injury. He was still MIA in Tuesday's practice. No word yet on a possible return to active duty. In Trax's absence, Reggie Hicks has been backing up starter Gerald Harris. "It might be a while before David comes back. His back is not good," Houston stated.

* Senior DT Peria Jerry has frequently been injured in his career, but he's rarely been forced out of action. Tough dude. Tuesday, he practiced with a wrap on an injured elbow and a protective device on a dislocated finger suffered in the Bama outing.

* Junior DE Greg Hardy was at practice Tuesday but was not participating in any drills. His right foot was heavily taped, but he was held out of any full speed work. No word yet on his status for Saturday's game with Arkansas, but Nutt said there is a good chance Greg can resume practice Wednesday.

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