Friday Practice Report -

After a stormy Thursday in Oxford, the sun broke and the temperature was in the 60s. Perfect conditions for a football practice and for a coaches clinic that drew nearly 130 local coaches. 75-play scrimmage tomorrow morning at 10:30. Read about it inside.

There are some things to iron out.

Nothing is perfect, but Rebel Football Coach Houston Nutt likes the direction his team is headed, including Friday's practice witnessed by 130 area coaches here today and tomorrow for a coaches clinic.

"Each day we have taken a step and gotten better," said Nutt. "There are a few things we can do better - we had a couple of missed alignments, we jumped offsides a time or two. To win, and win big, you can't have foolish penalties and things like that. Yardage is too hard to come by in this league.

"But the thing I do like is the progress we are making and the way we are practicing fast, with enthusiasm and with an attitude and that's what it's all about."

CB Marshay Green had a big day with two interceptions. One of those was accompanied by a long return.

"Marshay has gottten so much better with his eyes and his hands have improved. Two of the biggest things going for him right now are confidence and experience. Both are showing this spring," Nutt continued.

OL Coach Mike Markuson continued with his "musical chairs" and experimentation on the Rebel forward wall as well.

"I'm excited about Reid Neely at left tackle and that has helped Bradley Sowell. He's come on a little bit. There's nothing like competition," Nutt noted. "Rishaw Johnson and Brandon Green have taken another step forward with their battle at left guard. A.J. Hawkins is getting some valuable reps.

"I like our mix. We'll put a lot of them under the gun tomorrow. We'll have a 75-play scrimmage and the ones will probably only get about 30 snaps. We are going to turn the heat up on guys like Brandon Green, Rishaw Johnson, A.J., Jason Jones, Lakenwic Haynes, Mark Jean-Louis and several more. We need to see what those guys can do."

Practice Saturday will begin on the practice fields at 10:30 a.m. and move to the stadium for the scrimmage portion of the workout a little before 11. It is open to the public.

Random Notes:

* The Rebels are currently having four players do some snapping in pre-practice drills - starter Daverin Geralds, Jean-Louis, Green and Hawkins. "We have to get another center ready so we are trying everyone we feel can handle it," said Markuson.

* The number one OL today was LT Reid Neely, LG Brandon Green, C Daverin Geralds, RG A.J. Hawkins and RT John Jerry. In middle drills, the defense had the upper hand, but that OL produced a few gashes as well.

* The injury list grew by one today. Backup S Fon Ingram tweaked his hamstring. The extent of his injury is not know right now. . . The injury list is DE Greg Hardy, WR Melvin Harris, LB Don Hargroder, all out for the entire spring, S George Helow (hamstring, probably out for the whole spring) and now Ingram (hamstring).

* Two Rebel signees were at practice today. LB D.T. Shackelford and S Jamar Hornsby were in attendance. D.T. is listed at 6-1, 230. He's every bit of that and solid as a rock with about a 32-34 inch waist. Fine looking youngster. . . There is no change on Hornsby's status. His court date is Monday, April 6.

* In the bull in the ring period to get the adrenaline flowing right after stretch, two young "bigs" were matched up. DE Craig Drummond and OG A.J. Hawkins. Surprisingly, Drummond held his own despite giving up nearly 50 pounds to Hawk.

* A player we have not mentioned much but is doing well in transitioning to a relatively new position is sophomore Marcus Temple. Marcus is not any taller than our current starting CBs, but he's thicker and he gives the position more punch. We saw Marcus make some big plays last year as a nickel back. Expect more of the same and then some in 2009.

* ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit will be in town next Wednesday to interview Rebel QB Jevan Snead.

* Several recruits were on campus today as well. Hargrave OL Chris Gill, Nashville Overton TE/DE Dezmond Johnson, Calhoun, Ga, WR Derek Rogers and Calhoun, GA, QB Nash Nance took in practice. There will be a small junior day tomorrow as well with 12 or so prospects expected to visit and watch the scrimmage.

* The coaching clinic, which drew about 130 area coaches, seemed to be a major success. "Everything is so accessible at this clinic. We got a lot of one-on-one time and everything was very open," said Raleigh Defensive Coordinator Randy McIntyre. "In the position meetings, the assistant had some great visuals when they were teaching their schemes and we felt like part of the staff the way we were treated. Coming out to practice, we were told to get as involved as we wanted to and to get as close as we wanted to. That's what we, as coaches, want to hear. We are here to learn and we learned a lot today."

* In team drills, the Rebel offense ripped off some big plays in a short period. TB Cordera Eason caught a screen pass from Snead and took it to the house, TB Brandon Bolden broke loose for 25 yards out of a Wild Rebel handoff from Dexter McCluster and TB Devin Thomas ripped off a long run. But it wasn't like the defense didn't have its moments as well. Marshay Green had two interceptions, one off a tipped ball off the hands of WR Markeith Summers and the other during two-minute drill. "We have some playmakers on this team on both sides of the ball," said Nutt, "and that's exciting."


OM Spirit Top Stories