Wednesday Practice Report

This young football season has already produced a lot of days where the Rebels have needed to practice indoors due to rain. Wednesday was another one. Read about it inside.

It's been said many times before, but worthy of note again.

Thank goodness for the Indoor Practice Facility.

Once again, having the IPF available for football practice has been a blessing as rain swept through Oxford - again, forcing the Rebels inside for their Wednesday workout preparing for Saturday's game with Southeastern Louisiana.

"I know I've said it a hundred times since we have been here, but to have this facility has really saved us in terms of getting what we need to get done in practice accomplished," said Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt. "We've had a really wet preseason and without the IPF, I don't know where we'd be."

Nutt was satisfied with Wednesday's workout.

"We've had two good days back-to-back. We got some good work done and I can see some consistency and timing develop," Houston assessed. "We are ready to play another game. We've had 40-something practices with one game and we're ready to get into a game week routine."

Houston said he saw less residual affect from the flu Wednesday than he did Tuesday.

"Absolutely better. We are getting more comfortable with that situation right now," said Nutt. "On another note, I am feeling better also about Greg (Hardy) and Gerald (Harris) and their injuries. I saw them running in the pool today and they looked better. I was hoping Greg's ankle would be less swollen, but his movement was better. Marcus (Temple) got a slight concussion yesterday but we expect him to play Saturday."

Nutt is going to practice the Rebels tomorrow on the new field turf in the stadium.

"We're excited about it. It's going to be a fast surface, even in the rain, if it rains Saturday," he ended.

Random Notes:

* It appears the residual affects from the flu that swept through the team last week is about over. Ah, youth and resiliency, the ability to rebound quickly - there's nothing like it. Most players we have talked to who were afflicted said Sunday was "tough" but Tuesday and Wednesday's practices were "just like normal" in regards to how they are feeling. "I'm pretty encouraged," said OC Kent Austin. "Today was better than yesterday in terms of stamina and not being as winded at the end of practice. I think we are turning the corner with that issue. I think we will be fine by Saturday."

* There have been a lot of questions about whether or not freshman RBs Rodney Scott and Tim Simon will redshirt or not. We were informed today that a decision still has not been made and it was likely one of the two might play this year. It sounds as if it's not an ability issue that is delaying the decision, but a mental issue. Once they learn the offense and their assignments more thoroughly, and it's fully determined if they can help the Rebs' cause this year, a decision will be reached. Right now, it's still up in the air and dependent on their mental progress.

* DE Greg Hardy (ankle), TE Gerald Harris (hamstring) and CB Marcus Temple (concussion Tuesday) are injured. Hardy and Harris are doubtful for the SLU game. . . . In Hardy's absence, RS frosh Gerald Rivers has been elevated to second team behind junior starter Kentrell Lockett. Rivers has had a good fall camp, but he still has work to do. He should get that opportunity to hone his game further this weekend with Hardy likely out. . . Ferbia Allen, Reggie Hicks and E.J. Epperson will take up the slack for Harris. "Ferbia lost a little weight with his bout with the flu, but he's having a good week this week. E.J. is making progress too," said OC Kent Austin. "The good thing about Gerald being out is that these other guys are getting a lot of reps and improving." . . The corner situation shows Julian Whitehead moving up to Temple's slot, but with the recent promotion of Jeremy McGee to the first team ahead of Cassius Vaughn, if that sticks, look for Vaughn to be the third corner and the first sub on both sides. "If anyone else went down, I'm afraid we'd have to take the redshirt off of (Charles) Sawyer, but we don't want to have to do that," Nutt stated. "He's going to be a real good corner. He's a gym rat - the last one to leave. I think he is going to be excellent."

* From the it-does-not-take-long department, freshman OT Emmanuel McCray is already noticeably changing his body. He's still 295 pounds, the same weight he reported in, but now he is carrying a lot less body fat and his arms and shoulders are started to fill out. As a result, McCray has been getting recent praise from Nutt and OL Coach Mike Markuson as a player who is taking advantage of his redshirt year and is making solid gains in his play. . . While McCray is the most dramatic example, frosh OL Michael Brown is also showing some reshaping benefits. He has also dropped some body fat and is starting to build a thick layer of muscle. Good job by both.

* SS Derrick Herman sustained a quad contusion in the Memphis game and then came down with the flu. He was said to still be sore from the quad injury, but he's showing no adverse affects from the injury in practice at this point. He appears to be good to go.

* DE Alex Williams broke his leg in fall camp and had to be put in a cast. He's got another month in his cast and on crutches, but he also got a double whammy recently. He, too, came down with the flu last week and, as a result, lost down from 222 pounds to 204. Long road back, injury-wise and weight-wise, for the talented frosh.

* Many fans noticed the Rebels did not tackle as surely as was anticipated in the Memphis game. that fact has not been lost, or ignored, by Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix. Since the Memphis game, the Rebel defensive coaches have doubled up on tackling drills before team work starts in practices. The players are getting the point - shoddy tackling won't get it done and Nix will drill proper tackling until they get it right. "In the first half, we were doing what we were supposed to do - attacking the ballcarriers and knocking them back, stoning them a lot," said OLB Allen Walker. "In the second half, we lost our focus and got a little tired and then we started missing tackles. The defense has worked hard on tackling fundamentals since the Memphis game. I missed most of that, but we worked on it today too and we feel like we have improved."

* Freshman OL Bobby Massie has looked the part of a big-time SEC lineman from the day he stepped on campus. Now, according to Markuson, the light is starting to come on mentally. Bobby is catching up to the speed of the game on this level and he's able to react quicker to his situation. Nothing but green grass ahead for the big freshman.

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