"We had a good practice," said Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt after an extended Tuesday practice in the IPF. "The concentration was good and that's what you have to have. We have a lot to play for, but the players have to recognize we are playing a team that is very dangerous. They can score and it's a game where they have nothing to lose and will try anything - onside kicks, fake punts, trick plays. You have to have your head in the game and you do that by preparing that way. We are off to a good start in our preparations.
"It's a big game for UL-Monroe and I want it to be a big game for us. That's why I went a little longer than a normal Tuesday practice to get that point across."
Nutt is concerned about Warhawk QB Kinsmon Lancaster, who is a threat to run or pass.
"He is a playmaker. He's elusive, he can run, he can make throws, he's escaping problems and making things happen," Houston continued. "He reminds me of the Ohio State QB Terrell Pryor style-wise. He's mobile and can throw."
Nutt was asked about the linebacking corps, in particular Allen Walker.
"Coming in here, a lot of people told me our linebackers were a weakness, but they really haven't been. Coach (Tyrone) Nix has done such a good job with them," said Houston. "All those guys have made giant steps. They've picked things up and have totally committed themselves. They have put in extra study time and paid a price to be better. All of them have also become better tacklers. We are comfortable putting any of the six we are using in at any time."
* True freshman Tight End Ferbia Allen, who is redshirting this year along with fellow rookie TE E.J. Epperson, has gained 12 pounds since he came to campus. Ferbia, who is 6-4, says he now weighs 231 pounds and is shooting for 250, which he can certainly hold. "E.J. and I are doing real well, I think. We're both very happy here and are working hard. I think we can both contribute next year," he noted.
* Defensive End Greg Hardy has been under a microscope the past weeks and months as fans eagerly await his return. Nutt said Monday that Greg moved around much better Sunday than he had the previous week and he was anxious to see what he would do Tuesday. It appeared Hardy picked up where he left off Sunday, going through drills full speed. "He went through drills and left me hopeful we might see him this weekend. He looked pretty good again," Houston added.
* WR Shay Hodge missed practice Tuesday with a bruised heel. No word on how long he will be out, but Nutt hopes to have him back at practice on Wednesday. "It's a little deeper bruise than we originally thought, but he might be back tomorrow," Houston stated. With Hodge temporarily sidelined, Lionel Breaux, who has been getting more game snaps the last three weeks, was moved up on the depth chart. . . FB Jason Cook, who missed all of last week with a concussion, was expected to be back full strength Tuesday, but he was limited to running on the sidelines. He says he will be back for the UL-Monroe game. "He was still having headaches today. We thought they would be cleared up by now, but maybe tomorrow. There's always a chance he won't play against UL-Monroe, but we have Andy Hartman ready if that is the case," Nutt explained. "Jason would only have to practice one day to be ready, he's so smart and knows what we are doing on offense inside and out. He's also a guy who plays a big role on our punt team and on the sidelines as a leader, but we are comfortable with Andy." . . . Senior TE David Traxler is still out with an ailing back.
* DT Jerrell Powe has not been playing much lately, having been beaten out by freshman Justin Smith for the time being, but we watched Powe closely in drills Tuesday, which we had not done in the last week or two, and noticed two things instantly. One, his conditioning seems to be getting where it needs to be - finally. Two, as a result of that, his movement is much better in drills. He looks like he's not only finishing drills, but is quicker. We'll see if that translates to more PT for him in the coming weeks.
Practice Report: Tuesday
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