Tuesday Practice Report

The Ole Miss football team returned to practice Tuesday with a full-pad workout after taking Monday off so the players could get situated with their classes. Read about Tuesday's workout inside.

Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt expected what happened at practice Tuesday.

The Rebs, two days into their class routine with the fall semester starting Monday, were "a little sluggish."

"The first day you practice when classes begin, it's always a little sluggish," said Nutt. "We have to get in the school mode now and play a little faster than we did today.

"Overall, though, it was a pretty good practice. We got in a good 2 1/2 hours, we had some heat today and we ran through a lot of situations. It was pretty good. CB Jeremy McGee went in early because his heart started racing on him a little, so we need to double-check some things, but the early signs are that he will be fine. It was good to have Jason Jones (concussion), Kentrell Lockett (stinger) and Greg Hardy back today. From having most available, it was a good day."

One player who did not practice was TE Gerald Harris (hamstring).

"I hope he can be back by Saturday when we do our rehearsal practice, but not before then. I do expect him back for the Memphis game," Nutt said.

Nutt was asked about an update on Tig Barksdale.

"He won't be going to school. We are going to let his doctors and family handle his medical problems and then go from there," Houston noted.

The Rebs began installation of the Memphis gameplan in earnest Tuesday.

"It was the first time for these scout team guys, so it was a little sluggish. It will get faster tomorrow," said Houston.

Junior DT Jerrell Powe is having a good camp. Nutt is glad to see that.

"The first few weeks I was here, I wasn't sure if Jerrell was serious about making the commitment to lose weight and get in shape, but it didn't take long for me to realize the kind of person he is and that he would do the work," Nutt recalled. "He's done a great job this fall camp. He's in the best shape of his college career and he's healthy. I like what Jerrell is doing."

Random Notes:

* It's been thought ever since freshman MLB D.T. Shackelford came on the scene that RS freshman Jason Jones may be more useful to the team at defensive end. Jones, who missed a couple of days last week with a concussion, was moved to DE Tuesday as an experiment by Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix. "DE is a tryout for him. I'm going to look at Jason there for a couple of days and see how he does," Nix said. "We have been thinking since last year he may outgrow linebacker and we still feel that could be the case. He's going to continue to get work at both positions probably unless he really shows up at DE, then we might make the move permanent." Nutt said the early thought was to swap Jones and freshman DE Alex Williams, but since Williams is now out with a broken leg, obviously he won't be playing MLB anytime soon. Maybe when he returns. . .

* Of the redshirt freshman on the defensive side of the ball, the player who has been getting the most praise is Defensive End Gerald Rivers. "You can tell he's more confident now that he's bigger and stronger," said DL Coach Terry Price. "He's shown more aggression than he showed in spring because now he feels like he can back it up. He's done well."

* No, this isn't a DE piece, but while we're on the subject, junior Kentrell Lockett returned to practice Tuesday after getting a shoulder stinger last Friday. He was dressed out in full gear and going through contact drills. "I feel great, as if nothing happened last week," said Lockett. Good news. . . . . Also, senior Greg Hardy, who has been practicing one day and off the next, or two, was dressed out and going strong Tuesday as well.

* Senior Tight End Gerald Harris said Tuesday that his pulled hamstring is "much, much better." He's optimistic he can be back in the fold early next week, which is excellent timing as it is game week for the season opener against Memphis.

* While chatting with Gerald, the subject of RS frosh Ferbia Allen, his backup, came up. Ferbia has moved up to the number one slot at TE in Harris' absence. "I've been working out with him all year in our TE group and I knew he was getting bigger and stronger, but you don't realize the difference on the field until you watch him every day," said Harris. "He's a lot more effective than he was in spring due to his added bulk and strength. With that, he's gained confidence and with confidence, he's worked hard to improve his technique. He's doing very well.". . . Redshirt frosh E.J. Epperson and junior Reggie Hicks are also in the TE mix. Freshman Z. Mason was with the scout team on Tuesday.

* Now that Lockett is back, freshman Craig Drummond has moved back inside primarily and that's where Price likes him. "He's going to be a fine three-technique (DT) guy," said Price. "I think it suits him better and he is growing to like it. Craig is starting to mature some, which is helping him."

* Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday, Dear Dexter. . . . Dexter McCluster, the senior do-all offensive performer and return man, turned 21 Tuesday. He's not only lethal, now he's legal.

* There were over 100 new cases of the swine flu reported at Baptist Hospital in Oxford Monday and Tuesday, but - knock on wood - it has not hit the football team yet. . . SS Fon Ingram missed practice Tuesday due to a flu-like illness, but he has not been diagnosed yet. "He's running a fever, but we are not ready to call it swine flu yet," Nutt stated.

* PK Josh Shene was 3-3 from 32 yards out in field goal kicking Tuesday.

* You can tell the first game is getting closer when scout teamers are put in the jersey numbers of the opposition's players, which was the case Tuesday. Also, there were several new faces on the squad as the 105 preseason player limit has now been lifted with school starting.

* Greyshirts Mike Marry and Evan Swindall are on campus and getting into their school/workout routines, but they did not attend practice Tuesday. We're sure they'll take a look-see soon.

* During live punting drills, neither Justin Sparks nor Tyler Campbell were very effective early on, but when the drill switched to half-line live protection drills, both heated up and had a couple of boots each over 50 yards from the line of scrimmage. Campbell had one over 60 as well. Sparks said it's been tough trying to hold, punt and kickoff, but he's up to the challenge. "It's not too tough to do, but you have to balance your practice out right," Sparks, a senior, said. "I got leg weary in two-a-days. I kicked too much, but I feel better now." Sparks has several guys breathing down his back, most notably Andrew Ritter and David Hankins for kickoff duties and Campbell for the punting job. "They are all talented and they are only trying to do one thing. They have pushed me and kept me humble. I'm not out there thinking I'm the guy. I'm out there thinking I have to perform to keep my job, so it's all good," Justin continued. "I don't think I have bitten off more than I can chew, but it is definitely challenging." Sparks struggled some in the spring holding for placements, but now everything is smooth in that operation. "I feel responsible for how Josh (Shene) does. Rob (Park) was a great holder and he helped me a lot last year when I was the backup holder," Justin added. "My whole deal is to try to be better than Rob was so I can help Josh be successful. We are on the same page now and everything has gone smoothly in camp. We worked hard in the summer to get it right before camp started."

* Senior Center Daverin Geralds is on his last collegiate merry-go-round, or is he? Nutt said after practice that the Rebs are going to appeal to the NCAA to try to get Geralds' freshman year back. "He only played eight snaps in one game early in the year and got injured, but he was afraid to go to the training room," Nutt explained. "I think he deserves another year and we will try to state that case to the NCAA to see where it leads us." For his part, one way or the other, Geralds wants to make this year a special one. "We all worked extremely hard in the offseason and we can tell it out on the field this camp," Daverin, whose teammates and coaches call Dave, said. "We're all stronger, leaner and more mobile, plus we know what we are doing." Geralds is also excited about snapping to a Heisman Candidate in Reb QB Jevan Snead. "Jevan is in control now. He's more confident and poised. He's carrying himself like the leader of the offense," Geralds noted. "He knows the offense inside and out and he's more vocal in the huddle. He gets everyone ready to execute the next play and is showing more leadership this time around."

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