Despite admitting the Auburn loss was the hardest the Rebs have had to put behind them this year, Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt got what he wanted out of the Rebels in Tuesday's full-pad practice.
"We've got a lot of kids bruised up and sore, but we got some good work in. We got some things done we needed to," Nutt said. "I don't think we have anything serious going on injury-wise, but we do have some extra soreness."
Part of the "soreness" issue is between the ears, Nutt intimated.
"The Auburn loss has been the toughest one we've had to put behind us. The toughest of the year," he said. "But like we told them Sunday, there's nothing we can do about that one now - we have to go forward, and they responded to that today for the most part. It has been difficult though, especially after we watch the film. We all could have done a better job - coaches and players alike.
"I think they got the message today that we have to burn that one and get to the next one."
SS Johnny Brown (groin), WR Jesse Grandy (bruised thigh) and TB Dexter McCluster (general soreness) either missed practice or were limited Tuesday.
"We think, or hope, we can get them all back for Saturday. Johnny was sore Sunday and then pulled it during that practice a little more," Nutt said. "Grandy took a helmet to the thigh and could not go today, but we hope to have him back too. Dexter started out practicing today but could not finish.
"We hope to have those guys because we are not holding anything back for Northern Arizona. We will prepare for them just like everyone else."
There are signs around the IPF this week reading: "They Remember What You Do In November."
"We are stressing that hard. Anybody can come to work and do the same things they have done in the past and get the same results, but we are still teaching this team how to go from being down to having consistent success," he continued. "We will strive to get better every day. November is when you see some character - leadership, work ethic, attitude - especially if things have not gone as planned to this point.
"I'm seeing what I want to see out of our leaders. Kendrick Lewis - outstanding, John Jerry - unbelievable, Marshay Green - awesome, Daverin Gerald, Marcus Tillman, Gerald Harris, Emmanuel Stephens - they do nothing but come to work every day. Now we have to bring everyone else along too. We can't fall back into the mode of accepting a loss. It's got to hurt and I'm glad we have a lot of hurt guys right now, but learn from it and don't make the same mistakes again."
* Some have wondered why Tight End Gerald Harris has not been more involved in the passing game. "It's been tough getting him out due to needing him in protection. It's always protection first," said Nutt, "but I'm really hoping we can get him the ball starting this week because he has good hands and he gives us a lift. That's our goal anyway."
* With starting Strong Safety Johnny Brown sitting out with a groin injury, there will be some personnel shifting during practice this week. Fon Ingram, who backs up both safety slots, moved to first-team strong safety. Derrick Herman remains the number two strong safety and redshirt freshman Jared Mitchell moves up to the number two free safety position behind starter Kendrick Lewis.
* Offensive Line Coach Mike Markuson is putting out a call to any aspiring offensive linemen who want to walk-on. "We need some more bodies out here. We want to see if there are some offensive line guys on campus or in junior college graduating in December who want to join our team and give us a hand," said Mike. "The only guarantee we are giving is that it will be hard work, but you never know where you might find a diamond unless you look." Contact the Ole Miss football office if you have any leads.
* It apears, for now, freshman TB Rodney Scott has solidified himself as the main backup to Brandon Bolden and Dexter McCluster. Cordera Eason and Enrique Davis are still in the picture in situations, but the rotation for the near future will revolve around those first three unless something drastic happens in practice soon. . . . While on the subject of Scott, check out the video on the Auburn Scout site of Zac Etheridge, who credits Rodney for having the presence of mind not to move when Zac was lying paralyzed across Scott's body in the game last Saturday.
The link to the video is posted on The Ole Miss Spirit message board.
* The Rebels will be looking for a speed receiver from the high school or JUCO ranks in recruiting, but what of the receivers who are already on campus and their ability to stretch the defense? WR Coach Ron Dickerson believes Jesse Grandy and Ja'Mes Logan, who is redshirting, could be those guys in the future. "Ja'Mes is smooth, like Jesse, and doesn't look like he is running as fast as he is, but he leaves people," said Dickerson. "Jesse just has to get stronger. Terrell (Grant, also redshirting) is more like Pat Patterson, big and strong and will go get the ball in a crowd, but I think both of them are a shade faster than Shay (Hodge), in comparison." But, for now, Dickerson says the Rebs are facing a lot of "umbrella" coverages. Cover two and cover four, where defenses are determined not to let the Rebs get deep or do much damage over the middle because of safety support. What the Rebs have to do is make them pay underneath and have sustained, error-free drives that will eventually draw the defenses in. So far, the lack of consistency by the Rebel offense has made the strategy of opposing defenses look like gold in the three losses on the worksheet.
* Redshirt freshman E.J. Epperson is still working at fullback and played in the Auburn game on a couple of short-yardage situations, shifting from fullback to the wing position lined up behind the tight end. So far, it appears he is enjoying his new position and has a shot at being the guy there in the future.
* Freshman Punter Tyler Campbell continues to work on catching the deep snap away from his body and with his hands in practice, but he has not taken that technique to the games yet. It appears he is getting more comfortable with it in workouts so it should not be too much longer before he does it on Saturdays. In practice, catching the ball the proper way, his punts are more consistent and his punting technique is smoother. In short, he's mauling the ball in practice with the technique. On Tuesday, nearly every punt was over 50 yards with great hang time. Next step, doing it in the games.
Tuesday Practice Report
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