One would think the good news of the Rebels advancing to number 6 in the nation in this week's AP polls in the aftermath of a 45-14 season-opening win over Memphis would be the top story of Tuesday's practice.
Sickness and injury was what stood out the most.
Roughly "18-22" Rebels missed practice Tuesday due to illness and injury.
"We took the guys we had, with 18-22 guys out with flu or whatever you want to call it and injury, and got some stuff done. It was tough and it was hot, but we got some things done," said Coach Houston Nutt. "It's always tough after the first game when they know it's an open week. I had to pull some teeth a little today, but we got some things done.
"We are being told that typically the ones with the flu symptoms will be out 48 hours. We'll see."
Nutt was asked about how he felt the rotation of Brandon Bolden, Cordera Eason and Enrique Davis worked against Memphis.
"We liked how it went. Enrique will get some more reps - there is a place for him because he runs hard, but we'll play it all by ear and go with the hot hand like we have in the past," Houston commented.
Houston didn't have much comment about the number 6 ranking by the AP.
"It's out of our hands. The only message we have for our players is to go back to work," he added. "It's exciting and all those things, but it doesn't mean that much."
DT LaMark Armour played substantial snaps in the Memphis game. Nutt said he earned the reps.
"LaMark worked hard. That's it plain and simple," Nutt said. "It paid off for him."
Nutt was asked if the Rebs would work on some South Carolina gameplanning in the next two weeks since SC will be played on a Thursday night following a Saturday match with SLU.
"I've never done that. There are upsets every week. We will concentrate on SLU and then move to South Carolina," Nutt stated bluntly.
* Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix saw some of the same things a lot of fans did concerning the play of his veteran starting linebackers. "We did good enough to beat Memphis, but we'll have to do a lot better when the SEC rolls around," said Nix. "We will never make excuses, but it was the hottest day we have played in and I think some of my guys got worn down. They play on the punt team and we punted six times. That kind of wore them down. They will do a lot better. I played D.T. (Shackelford) 22 snaps and Joel Kight 9 snaps. I should have played them more in the first half to keep the starters fresh. They both did some good things. I could have played them more, but I didn't want to give them too much in their first game."
* Cornerbacks Coach Chris Vaughn, ever the taskmaster and perfectionist, was pleased with his guys' effort in a "good start" sense. "My guys did very well against a good group of receivers, but it was nothing more than a good start," said Chris. "We have to keep working and improving and going in that direction. It's all about going forward, game by game."
* Safeties Coach Kim Dameron was pleased with how active his guys were. "We got after Memphis pretty good and had a lot of tackles and two interceptions (Fon Ingram and Johnny Brown). I was happy with the production, but we still have a lot to do and a long way to go," Dameron noted. "When Jamar Hornsby and Tig Barksdale could not be with us, some guys had to step up. Fon had 25 plays against Memphis and stepped up. We have competitors back there. Fon, Johnny and Kendrick (Lewis) have to be the bell cows back there but Derrick (Herman) has to keep coming too. We'll need them all. They've all worked and studied hard. They have gotten better in the classroom and have had great attitudes. I could not be happier with them."
* WR Coach Ron Dickerson gave a "not bad" response to how his guys graded out. "We're not quite where I want us to be, but headed that way. What I did like is that we kept battling and finished the game really strong," Dickerson noted. "That's a good sign for the future."
* Defensive Line Coach Terry Price, who doesn't pass out compliments without cause, also went the "not bad" route. "Against Memphis, we were not bad at all," said T.P. "We could have done better, but we played hard and we made enough plays to help the team win. We'll keep pounding the rock and getting better."
* OL Coach Mike Markuson said he will redshirt freshmen Emmanual McCray, Chris Gill and Mike Brown and JUCO transfer Logan Clair. He also said he is contemplating moving freshman Bobby Massie inside to the right guard slot as an experiment and that the OL is still a work in progress in terms of personnel movement. "We're a long way from being settled. We'll get our best five out there. That's my job," said Mike.
* The players we saw that were not practicing were: DT Ted Laurent (ankle), DE Greg Hardy (ankle), DE Jason Jones (knee), SS Derrick Herman (quad contusion) and TE Gerald Harris (hamstring) and players suffering from flu/virus symptoms DE Kentrell Lockett, DE Marcus Tillman, WR Dexter McCluster, SS Johnny Brown, CB Jeremy McGee, OLB Joel Kight, WR Shay Hodge, WR Jacarious Lucas, RT John Jerry, FB Andy Hartman, FB Dan Hoffman, QB Jevan Snead and QB Billy Tapp. . . .Jones is likely out for the year with an ACL tear. . . Harris said his ham is still sore, but he feels the open week will help him get straight before the next game. . . Laurent hopes to be back at practice in the next day or two.
* If there is a silver lining in the cloud of sickness, the backups to those players are getting valuable practice reps. Guys like DEs Gerald Rivers and Emmanuel Stephens, Massie, all the backup wideouts, QB Nathan Stanley, etc. "No question about it, today was good for the backups. We had about 70 plays today and everyone got needed reps," said Nutt. "That's the positive side of the coin."
* WR Pat Patterson did not want to comment on the tidbit that he had to retake the ACT test last week, but he did confirm that he took it.
Tuesday Practice Report
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