Practice Report: Thursday

The Rebels' quest for bowl eligiblity moved one day closer as the football team wrapped up full speed preparations for Saturday's 1 p.m. game against UL-Monroe. The Rebs will be shooting for their sixth win of the year against the Warhawks. Six is the "magic" number for bowl eligibility.

"I'm glad it's Thursday and the game is just about here. It's been a while since we have played since we are coming off an open week," said Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt. "We had a good day with good concentration. Now it's time to take it to the field."

The Rebels, in the past, have suffered quite a few hamstring, quad and groin problems throughout the season, but that has all but disappeared this year.

"I credit Coach (Don) Decker with that. He deserves a medal. He's been with me for 11 years and the thing he does best is that his training helps guys stay away from muscle pulls and we get stronger in November and throughout the season," Nutt stated. "I give him and his staff a lot of credit. They emphasize flexibility and stretching year round. Before they ever go in the weight room, Don puts them through a stretching and flexibility routine that really works their muscles and gets them loose before they ever go in the weight room. It pays dividends in helping keep our guys away from those nagging muscle injuries."

Random Notes:

* WR Coach Ron Dickerson and S Coach Kim Dameron join the list of current Reb coaches who will be facing the school they coached at in 2007 when UL-Monroe invades Oxford. Earlier in the year, Tyrone Nix faced South Carolina and then Houston Nutt and a majority of the Reb staff went back to Arkansas for that grudge match. "I love a lot of the guys who will be on the other sideline, but I love our guys too," said Dickerson. "It will be emotional at first, but then it will be business as usual. They will be trying to beat us and we'll be trying to beat them. That's the way it should be - healthy competition."

* Senior FB Jason Cook was still in a yellow jersey Thursday signifying no contact. He is expected to be OK by game time, but his concussion symptoms are dragging on a little longer than anticipated. If he cannot go, Andy Hartmann will take up the slack at fullback and as the fullback on the punt team. "We are comfortable with Andy in the lineup," said Nutt. "He's hard-nosed and smart and will do a good job if Jason cannot go. We have a lot of confidence in him. It's not like he hasn't played before. We are being cautious with Jason's condition - he's still having some headaches. I'm hoping he will be OK by Saturday at 1 o'clock.". . . If Cook can't go and something happens to Hartmann, converted DE/TE Ben Benedetto will take FB snaps.

* DT Ted Laurent tweaked his knee in practice yesterday and sat out some drils today. He is expected to be OK for Saturday's game.

* WR Shay Hodge has practiced some this week with his bruised heel, but Nutt said he's not expecting a whole lot out of Hodge Saturday. "We may get some playing time from him, but he's not 100%," Nutt stated. . . In Hodge's absence, or limited practice duty, Markeith Summers, Lionel Breaux and Andrew Harris - the usual suspects - have gotten extra practice reps.

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