Practice Report: Thursday

Overcast skies and the threat of rain moved the Rebels inside for their final workout of the open week. Read about it inside.

Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt said he "got more than he expected" from the team in the three practices during the open week, concluding Thursday with a two-hour workout in the IPF.

"We got done what we wanted to get done - better than I thought. I am very pleased," Houston stated. "We want to make sure these guys stay focused and they have done that."

Houston was asked about his concerns for UL-Monroe.

"One year ago, they walked into Bryant-Denny Stadium and beat Alabama. They beat Troy last week and everyone knows how athletic Troy is," Nutt said. "They have the athletes to beat you if you show up and flop around, don't take care of the ball and don't keep your focus and intensity.

"Sunday, I hung a bunch of rat traps in the team meeting room to remind them that this could be a trap game if they don't pay attention. You cannot take anyone for granted anymore."

Nutt and his staff have been able to increase the number of players they are now using in games at several positions.

"When kids work hard and give effort in practice, which they have, they deserve to play," said Nutt. "We have proven to these kids that if they will keep a good attitude and do what we ask them with great effort, they will be rewarded and I think that keeps everyone competing.

"The positive attitude and effort is what dictates everything. Knowing they will get a chance, creates competition, keeps everyone hustling and on their toes and it brings out the best in everybody. We go by practice and if they'll do those things in practice, we are going to see how they do with their feet in the fire. We are not afraid to put guys like Andrew Harris, Marcus Temple, Fon Ingram, Bradley Sowell, Justin Smith, Lamar Brumfield and others out there because they have earned our confidence."

The Rebels, heading into the final three games, are very healthy.

"It all starts in the winter and goes through the summer. We maintain our strength, keep them fresh and don't overwork them," he stated. "We have been fortunate in some respects, but in other respects it's part of the plan."

Random Notes:

* Sophomore WR Lionel Breaux missed practice Thursday after getting his wisdom teeth pulled. He is expected to be back at practice Sunday.

* FB Jason Cook (concussion) and TE David Traxler (back), besides Breaux, are the only players who missed practice time this week. Cook is expected back Sunday. Traxler's situation is unclear, but he did say today that he is "better and hopeful" of a return before the season ends.

* While you don't expect much depth chart action this late in the season, it is worth noting nothing significant has changed on the Rebel two-deep. . . Darryl Harris and Reid Neely are still splitting reps at LG; Lawon Scott is still ahead of Ted Laurent at DT; Dustin Mouzon is still in the CB rotation with starters Marshay Green and Cassius Vaughn; Markeith Summers and Andrew Harris are still getting good reps at WR and Bradley Sowell is still getting some of Traxler's snaps at TE.

* Some fans indicated this morning on the message board that a proposed 2009 home game against TCU is now off the table, but according to our sources that is not true. The Rebs are still in negotiations with Texas Christian University and are hopeful that contract can be worked out.

* We asked AD Pete Boone about the field turf in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, which has been a small conversation piece of late among supporters. Boone said we are in the sixth year of an eight-year guarantee and the administration has not "given any kind of change a thought yet." Boone said: "It has not given us any problems and we still have two more years left on our contract."

* The Rebels will resume practice Sunday with a heavier-than-normal workout. Normally, Sunday practices are very light stretching, jogging, getting the soreness out, watching film and correcting mistakes. This Sunday, since the team will be off Friday and Saturday, the workload will be full speed and expanded to give them a "head start" on UL-Monroe preparations.

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