Thursday practice report

After Thursday's practice, Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt said game week needs to hurry up and get here – at least from a players' perspective.

"We're getting to that point where they're anxious to hit somebody else," Nutt said. "That's where we are. We've got some good days left and we'll really work hard."

He said the Rebels got a lot done on Thursday on a warm and humid Mississippi August afternoon.

"Pretty good day today," he said. "Our guys worked hard, and we got some things done."

The Rebels will go in shoulder pads and shorts Friday.

"We'll go through some extensive kicking situations. We'll put them in some situations before the half, towards the end of the game, and just let them keep playing the game."

The workouts started with a discipline situation involving Jerrell Powe, Lawon Scott, and Rishaw Johnson running a few gassers across the field.

"What I do with the discipline part of it, I've got to keep that within the team," Nutt said. "It can be anything from missing class, not sitting in the first three rows, not taking your hat off when you walk in the room. So I wouldn't make too much out of it."

He said the players have to be focused and accountable if they want to be successful.

"It's hard to win in this league. Wins are precious, and I don't ever want us to take it for granted," Nutt said. "That was really the whole mindset of the entire practice. Do what we ask you to do. Be on time. Sit in the first three rows. Go to school. Come into your coach's meeting room, because that's just like a practice, and be on time. It's just all those things."

Nutt was asked if this was some sort of two-strike or doghouse situation for Johnson.

"I don't know about that. I wish I had him when he was a freshman. We're going to get him doing it our way, or he won't be here. And I think he understands that."

Brandon Bolden was not dressed out and is still nursing a hamstring situation from yesterday. Nutt was hoping to have him back today.

"We're hoping to have him ready Sunday or Monday," Nutt said.

Nutt said the health of the team through camp has for the most part been good, until lately.

"It's been pretty good until the last two days. We've had some concern about the (practice) fields. Really the last two days are when it's piled up on us. It's a little thin (the grass on the practice field) right now, and we're having to move around so much. Right now you miss your turf (in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium) during this time. So you can't stay in one spot too long (on the practice field)."

Nutt said Fon Ingram was getting better after missing some time with a fever and a touch of the flu but would be ready to go Friday.

Greg Hardy was dressed and practicing again for the third straight day.

Gerald Harris is still sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Random Notes:

*** Nutt plans to put the Rebels through "extensive" kicking situations Friday. But Thursday they also got in some kickoffs and a handful of field goals.

David Hankins and Andrew Ritter shared kickoff duties early in the practice. All their kicks were with a slight wind in their face. Kicking off from the 30-yard line, Hankins sent two fairly high kickoffs, one to the other 12-yard line and another to the 5-yard line. Ritter launched two lower kickoffs, the first one almost a low line drive. His first one reached the goalline, and the other he sent five yards deep into the end zone.

Joshua Shene was 3-for-4 from 38 yards out on his short time kicking field goals early in practice.

Justin Sparks and Tyler Campbell have been splitting time as punters. Nutt said he wasn't ready to name a starter at any of those spots (besides Shene, of course). He actually did a flip of the coin motion as to the kickoff man and the punter.

"Been really pleased with both Ritter and Hankins," Nutt said of the kickoffs. "Both of them have just been kicking the ball excellent. We can play either one of them. I'm really excited about them.

"If we played this Sunday," Nutt continued concerning his punter, "it would be Justin Sparks."

Shene and Sparks, two senior veterans, said they are better because of the daily competition.

"It's good to have them pushing you and competing every day," Sparks said. "You can't slack off. You have to come out here and work hard. Every day matters."

Shene said he tries to focus on one kick at a time and nothing else, whether in practice or a game.

"I try not to get into all that. I just want to take it one kick at a time," Shene said. "If you do that, the end result will come. I think I did that a little better last season, not worrying about that, just worrying about this kick right now."

Both said it was hard to believe they are seniors and that this is it.

"It's gone by fast," Shene said. "I still remember coming up here as a freshman, not knowing anybody and being 600 miles away from home (in Oklahoma). It feels like yesterday. Can't believe it's my senior year."

Sparks said things moved along faster last season and since.

"Last year flew by," Sparks said. "Winning helps."

*** Quarterback Jevan Snead was asked about the importance of trying to try to take care of yourself as far as health, and that at some point it is obviously the responsibility of the player to do his best to stay in playing shape.

"Just do everything they tell us," he said. "Coach (Don) Decker does a great job getting us stretched out. You have to take stretching seriously. It's definitely an important part of practice, getting ready to go. Coach always says if you're going full speed, most of the time you'll be OK."

The Rebels have had some hamstring situations lately, and Snead said that tends to make players more aware of the importance of making sure they are stretched and ready.

"The coaches are aware and they're telling us to be more aware," he said. "You definitely don't want to be the next one to go down."

*** OL Reid Neely agreed with Coach Nutt that these are the practices that grind a bit, awaiting game week.

"It comes to a point to where you're beating up on your own guy, and of course you have to do that because you have to be ready to go," he said. "We're lucky we have the best D-Line to me that we'll see all year to practice against. But at the same time, we're getting ready to play a game and hit somebody with another type jersey on.

"That makes game week all the more special," he said.

*** Offensive line coach Mike Markuson said he feels good about how his linemen have come along and meshed into a unit. But he says he'll know how good they are as a whole after Memphis.

"You never know until you play and see a live situation against an opponent," he said. "But for the most part from the five, six, seven guys we have, we've seen a lot of good things. Now it's basically who is the backup at each spot. Who will go in here? Who will go in here? We're not as solid yet in that second group as we need to be. But we feel like we have the answers to each spot, and unless something happens, we're ready to go with it."

*** Nutt said he's hopeful of getting another year back for Daverin Geralds. The senior center from Baton Rouge participated in eight plays as a freshman, and Nutt is hoping to be able to get him back for another year.

"I'm going to try to get that done," Nutt said of an appeal. "A guy plays just eight plays his freshman year, you don't deserve to lose a year. It would help him and everybody.

"The problem is no documentation. He got hurt but there wasn't any documentation. Tim Mullins (trainer) is as honest as they come. We're all honest. We're not going to make up a story that there was documentation. But I am going to write an appeal to the AFCA and the NCAA to look at it very hard and give him his year back."

Nutt said Geralds is a true team player.

"He's intelligent. He works at it. He studies the game. He's very, very unselfish. He'd do anything for his teammates."


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