Sunday practice report

The Rebels had a short practice Sunday in the IPF concentrating on correcting the mistakes from Saturday's scrimmage and working on all phases of special teams play. Read about it inside.

After Saturday's scrimmage, the Rebels got a bit of a break Sunday, working out in the air-conditioned Indoor Practice Facility while concentrating on correcting Saturday's mistakes and all phases of special teams.

"We had a good correction day today. We watched the film from yesterday's scrimmage and worked on correcting what we did wrong. I think the guys saw there were a lot of things they can get better at," said Coach Houston Nutt. "We also spent a lot of time on the kicking game. That's an area where our young players can make an impact and help the team.

"The scrimmage was good, especially for our young guys. It was fun to see who is ready to compete, who is ready to roll up their sleeves and get after it. Overall, I was really pleased and proud of the effort of the young players."

Nutt was asked who of the younger players is ready to compete.

"LB D.T. Shackelford is one. LB Joel Kight, WR Patrick Patterson, RB Tim Simon are several. The Bobby Massie, Raymond Cotton and Emmanuel McCray's are competing but they have a lot more to learn. Their positions are harder to pick up with the all the assignments they have to learn. DE Alex Williams and DT Corey Gaines did some good things," he continued. "I'm just really proud of our freshmen.

"It will be real interesting to see how they progress this week when we go two-a-days a couple of times this week. It will be hot and we are going to push them a little more."

Nutt said there are still some decisions to make in the kicking game.

"If we played tonight, Josh Shene would handle placements. Justin Sparks would probably punt, but he's getting pushed by Tyler Campbell," Nutt noted. "On kickoffs, Andrew Ritter is looking very good, but I also have a lot of confidence in Justin and David Hankins. We are in pretty good shape right there.

"I prefer having different guys punt and kickoff, but if Sparks is the best one, he'll get the job."

Houston wants to see vast improvement in the second week of practice in the upcoming week.

"All areas need to show improvement," he said. "Specifically, the second OL has to come on stronger. Mark Jean-Louis knows he's in an important role and has to get better in getting the ball to our quarterbacks. I love what he has done this summer - he has improved but he's got to keep coming."

The first week analysis?

"The first thing that struck me were the freshmen. I understand the hype they got out of high school now," Houston closed. "They are good football players who will be special. I told them last night if they will stay here four or five years and work hard, they will help us win a championship. They are good guys, they are athletic and they don't look like freshmen. I know their heads are spinning right now, but they have a great look.

"Also, you have to give it to the seniors. They are the MVPs. They have led our team from drill to drill with the effort that we want. They are good leaders, worthy of being followed and copied."

DC Tyrone Nix evaluated the defensive side of the ball from film of Saturday's scrimmage.

"I saw some good and bad, but the good thing is the kid's attitude has been great. They want to get better and improve," Nix said. "That's the most exciting thing to me. After watching the film, some guys I was excited about included LB D.T. Shackelford. He flew around and made some plays. I'm working him and Jason Jones with the twos at MLB. DE Gerald Rivers is a guy who is starting to come into his own.

"In the secondary, I liked Tig Barksdale. He came up and made some good hits in supporting the run. It will be interesting to see how they continue to improve and see if they can separate themselves from the others. Tig is just taking some time to learn the scheme, which is natural. He's a little behind in that area, but he's starting to pick it up."

Nix said he's pleased with his two-deep at corner and is happy with his two corner newcomers - Ryan Campbell and Charles Sawyer.

"We feel good about Jeremy McGee behind Cassius Vaughn and Marcus Temple behind Marshay Green. All four of those guys have played and I think those youngsters behind them are really talented," Tyrone added.

Nix said the loss of DT Justin Smith (broken foot) is something the Rebels are trying to overcome and moving a player might be the way.

"We are going to look at Craig Drummond inside some this week. He's a big kid who can handle it. We'll see how he looks and see if DT can be a new home for him," Nix added.

OLB Lamar Brumfield is trying to practice now after hurting his hamstring the second day of practice, but he's not "right" yet.

"He's not 100 percent, but we are being careful with him. I think he'll be ready for the Memphis game," noted Nix. "I do not know when LaKenwic Haynes (heart ussues) will be back, but I'm hoping and thinking this week some time."

Random Notes:

* Smith is expected to have surgery on his broken foot Tuesday. More on when to expect him back after the surgery and doctors get a chance to see what's going on in there.

* Shackelford and Kight both lined up with the second team defense Sunday. Two true freshmen who look like they have a real shot at being in the LB rotation quickly in their careers. One thing that is apparent about both in early practice ball drills is that both have soft, reliable hands to go along with their other notable and obvious attributes.

* In the first team kickoff drills of the day, all three candidates did a nice job. Sparks kicked to the goal, but he didn't have a lot of hang time. Hankins kicked to the five, but with a lot of hang time. Ritter kicked to the goal with good hang time. All three are viable for the job. We'll see how it shakes out.

* Meet The Rebels Day is next Saturday. Normally, the scrimmage after MTR is open to the public. It will be closed to the public this year due to a facility issue. With the turf being torn up in the stadium, there is no place to hold a scrimmage and accommodate the number of people expected for Meet The Rebels.

* From this point on, practices are closed to the public and the media will be able to attend the first four periods of each afternoon workout.


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