Practice Report: Friday

Coach Houston Nutt took the Rebels out of pads for their Friday practice and concentrated on special teams and the execution of the offense and defense. Read about it inside.

"We took the pads off them today to work on special teams and special situations," said Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt after Friday's two hour workout. "We ended with a two-minute drill and bounded around pretty good all day."

Houston has been putting the Rebs through the equivalent of a football practice gauntlet up until this point of the bowl practice "season."

"We've been working those young kids really hard. I think they were kind of glad to see us get out of the pads," he said. "They are very sore, but I think they understand the benefits they have gotten from these extra practices - it's been good."

The Rebels ended yesterday's practice by giving each member of the team a 32-inch high def TV. Today, Santa came again, this time handing out $200 gift cards.

"It's like a prepaid Visa. They can go to any store and get what they want," said Nutt. "Santa has been good to them, but they deserve it."

The Rebs will practice early Saturday morning - another light workout - and then head home for the Christmas break, reporting in Dallas, on their own, by 5 p.m. on the 26th.

"It's a little nerve-racking for them to be traveling on their own, but most teams do that because the players can put some travel money in their pockets," he continued. "The least amount any player will get is $602, which is mileage from Oxford to Dallas. If they live further than that from Dallas, they get more. Some of the Florida guys are going to fly in because they found cheap flights and they are getting more travel allowance."

Random Notes:

* Senior RG Maurice Miller was working more with the first team Friday. Was that a sign he is cleared academically for the bowl game? Maurice gave us the thumbs up when we asked, but Nutt said it is still not "official." Best guess? Mo will play in the Cotton Bowl.

* Members of the strength and conditioning staff believes the Rebels are primed for the Cotton Bowl from a strength, conditioning and health standpoint. A couple pointed out to us during practice that they had never had a team more physically ready for a bowl game.

* RT John Jerry set a school record this morning in 225-pound bench reps. He repped the weight 34 times, breaking Terrence Metcalfe's record of 33. Baby J said he could have done more. "I think I could have done it 40 times," he said. "I racked the bar myself after the 34th rep." Amazing. . .For comparison, Jerry's older borther Peria, an AP First-Team All-American, did 26 reps (his goal is 30 for the NFL combine), and senior Maurice Miller also did 26 reps.

* Senior FB Jason Cook is the only Rebel injured at this time. He injured his knee in the Egg Bowl. He did not have to have surgery and it has been reported his rehab is going very well, but it will still be a close call, we have heard, as to whether or not the co-captain and one of the inspirational leaders of the team will be able to contribute against Texas Tech on January 2nd.

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