Practice Report -

Despite not being exactly sure where they would be playing in a postseason bowl game, the Rebels cranked up bowl practice a day early. "I'm so excited, I could not wait until tomorrow," said Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt. Read about the workout inside.

It was the day for the "pups" when the Rebels opened bowl practices this afternoon in the IPF with a 2-hour full-contact workout.

Coach Houston Nutt and the rest of the staff took a closer look at all the "younger" players and used the starters sparingly in the workout.

"For the first week or so, we will give a lot of attention to the scout teamers and redshirts and backups," said Nutt. "This is a great time to get a jump on their development for spring practice and the future.

"They have worked hard all year and they deserve some extra attention. They will get it right now. I was pleased with the spirit everyone showed. We are an excited team right now and this was a very good practice."

Nutt was asked specifically about redshirt freshman QB Nathan Stanley.

"He doesn't always know where to go with the ball yet, which is natural, but he can really throw it," Nutt noted. "He has a quick release, he's accurate and he's throwing it in some tight cracks to receivers. He throws a beautiful deep ball too. Today, he threw two TD passes under pressure. He's tall and he's athletic. Nathan is going to be fine."

Random Notes:

* DE LaDerrick Vaughn played some wide receiver today and showed he has some speed and good hands. He would also be a pretty big target if that experiment gets more legs.

* QB Jevan Snead, as expected, did no throwing today. He will probably not throw much, if any, for the next couple of weeks in order to rest his shoulder that was injured in the LSU game. He is expected to be nearly 100% for the bowl game.

* In 9-on-8 run drills, the hitting among the backups, etc., was fairly fierce. DT Justin Smith, MLB Jason Jones, OLB Lakenwic Haynes, and DE Gerald Rivers were putting the leather to some offensive players, but FB H.R. Greer, TE E.J. Epperson, TB Devin Thomas, TB Enrique Davis, OT Bradley Sowell were giving as good as they got. Jones, Haynes and Rivers were extremely active and made several big hits each in the 30-play session.

* Thomas may have become the forgotten man at tailback this year, but he flashed some speed, quickness and explosiveness in today's contact drills. He gets downhill in a hurry.

* CB Derrick Herman ran the Wild Rebel late in practice and exhibited Dexter-like speed and quickness with 20 more pounds behind his pads. He can be electric with the ball in his hands out of that set.

* Epperson is up to about 255 pounds now and he packs a punch at the point of contact in run drills. LBs have a hard time with him when he latches on.

* Stanley was throwing darts in pass scale and he was hitting the bullseye most of the time. Andrew Harris, Melvin Harris and Jacarious Lucas were the main benefactors and all showed the skills needed to compete on this level. Melvin caught one bomb when he got behind the secondary and gathered in a 50-yard toss by Nathan that was dead on the money. Stanley also hit Markeith Summers with a long pass for a score.

* Derrick Davis took some reps at fullback today and Reggie Hicks - who played TE this year - took some tailback reps in short-yardage situations.

* Enrique made a couple of runs today that reminded one of why he was so highly-recruited. Power, speed and toughness all surfaced on two inside runs he bounced outside and took to the house. That's the Enrique everyone has been waiting to see more of.

* We will try to watch more of the younger players each day and report what we see daily.

* Senior Fullback Jason Cook injured his knee in the Mississippi State game and did not practice today. . . SS Jamarca Sanford had a tooth pulled. They were the only Rebel who missed practice. Cook said he fully expects to play in the bowl game, but probably will not practice a whole lot for a while.


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