Practice Report: Tuesday

Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt took the Rebels out of full pads last Tuesday - normally a full contact day, and it worked for the Arkansas game. So he did the same this Tuesday in the first full-speed preparation day for Auburn.

"For the first day of putting in the gameplan, it wasn't too bad, but we have to play a little faster tomorrow," said Coach Houston Nutt after Tuesday's practice with Auburn looming Saturday morning at 11:30. "We've had two very physical weeks and it was important for the team to get some rest yesterday and come back strong today.

"The defense looked very good today. They flew around and are getting ready for another physical game. There is no slack off in this league, as you know."

The Rebs kick off a rugged November versus Auburn, but that is nothing new with Houston. Nutt said it's just a tough month in the SEC, no matter which school you are at.

"The last four games at just about every school are some of your toughest, traditionally," he said. "This Auburn defense will be as good as we face all year. They have a very talented front - they are very good."

Nutt said the Rebel offense worked hard on the deep passing game Tuesday after hitting a couple but missing a couple of more against Arkansas.

"Jevan (Snead) is working hard on it with the receivers. He just needs to put a little air under it and let the receivers go get it and he's working to do that," Nutt commented.

Backup WLB Patrick Trahan has not gotten as many snaps in the past couple of games as he was getting earlier. Houston has an explanation.

"It's always hard in the transition from JUCO to the SEC, but what he is doing so well that is probably overlooked is on special teams. He creates havoc on the kickoff team and he's done some good things on defense," Nutt said. "It's just different on this level and he's still adjusting. There are a lot of formations, a lot of no-huddle, so many different scenarios. Some games are more difficult for him, but I think Patrick is doing well overall."

What does Nutt expect from Auburn's offense after a mid-season firing of Tiger OC Tony Franklin, who ran the spread, to the latest look - oldtime Auburn smash-mouth football?

"I know their offensive line and what they are capable of doing. They are big guys who can move and I have seen them block. We have to prepare to stop the run, number one, but they also have a couple of tall receivers like Rod Smith who I know they will test us with and they have a scrambling QB who can move," Nutt stated. "Our secondary has to do a really good job. You know they watched last week and you know they are going to throw the ball up and see if we can defend it. We have to do a good job of playing the ball with our eyes and being in position, but first we have to stop the run."

Offensive Coordinator Kent Austin is directing the offense this week with a heavy heart. His Mother passed away early this week and the funeral is set for Thursday, but Austin was at practice Tuesday coaching his side of the ball.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Coach Austin and his family. It's tough. It's awfully difficult to lose a parent. I lost my Dad two years ago and it's hard," Nutt stated. "I asked him if he needed to be with his family, but he's trying to handle everything. It's been a tough, tough day, but he's handled it like a professional. Anything we can do to help, we will."

Random Notes:

* Senior Strong Safety Jamarca Sanford banged up his shoulder against Arkansas in the first half, but he played most of the second half - albeit not as effectively. Jamarca practiced Tuesday and went through all the drills we were allowed to watch.

* Nutt said in Monday's press conference that DT Ted Laurent was a little banged up heading into the Arky contest. There was no indication of that Tuesday. Ted practiced full speed, but was still behind Lawon Scott, who started against the Hogs and played well.

* TE David Traxler will be out again this week with a nagging back injury, but he said he hopes to be back next week.

* DE Greg Hardy was dressed out for practice, but a couple of periods into the workout he walked off the field and into the training room. "He's still hampered with that foot a little bit. Hopefully he'll get some good treatment and we'll try it again tomorrow," Nutt stated.

* LG Reid Neely was still ahead of Darryl Harris on Tuesday's depth chart. Harris, who has torn ligaments around his elbow and has been fitted for a special brace, was replaced by Neely last week after Harris' injury against Alabama. Neely had a good grade, Nutt said, against Arkansas and will retain the top LG spot. Darryl is practicing in the brace and can play, but his effectiveness - compared to Neely's - is being questioned right now.

* With Traxler out, the coaches moved OT Bradley Sowell to tight end and in 22 snaps against the Razorbacks Bradley responded with "5 or 6" knockdowns. Sowell is working at TE again this week with Gerald Harris and Reggie Hicks is also in the mix.

* True frosh DT Jusin Smith remains ahead of Jerrell Powe on the depth chart with the second unit. A couple of weeks back, Smith moved ahead of Powe and has maintained that position behind senior Peria Jerry. Powe, we are told, is still in the five-man DT rotation, but he didn't get snaps against Arkansas that we charted. DL Coach Tracy Rocker said after Tuesday's practice that this "may be Jerrell's week. He's caught on to some things of late and has looked good so far in the Auburn preparations."

* Also in Nutt's Monday press conference, he said senior CB Dustin Mouzon would get a "hard look" this week in his battle with Marshay Green for playing time. Early in practice, Green was taking reps with the number one defense. "They all looked pretty good today. We ran deep ball drills, one-on-one drills and they responded. Dustin looked good and is in the rotation," Nutt closed.

OM Spirit Top Stories