Thursday Practice Report

The Rebels wrapped up full-speed preparations for the 6:30 p.m. game against Northern Arizona Saturday in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium with a shorts and helmets workout Thursday in the stadium. Read about it inside.

The Ole Miss Rebels put the finishing touches on preparations for Saturday's game with Northern Arizona University with an hour-and-a-half workout in the stadium in shorts and helmets.

Rebel Coach Houston Nutt was happy with the results.

"We had a good day with good concentration. I think we are ready to go," noted Nutt. "I hope we are able to start off well, execute and get some of these younger players in there for extended periods of time. It's always difficult when you jump out of conference at this time of the year - players tend to lose their concentration for these kinds of games. I'm hoping we will take care of business and let everyone have some fun.

"I'd like to see more of Rodney Scott, a lot of the linemen, the freshmen who are playing just a little bit. I want to see a bunch of them get significant snaps if we are in a position to give them a lot."

One player was completely missing from practice - OG Rishaw Johnson.

"What we are going to try to do with Rishaw is get caught up in school, do things right and forget football for right now," said Nutt. "Use the weight room, come see us, work on school, get everything right, but let's not worry about football right now and for the rest of the season.

"We would have to put it under the heading of a suspension, but really I just want him to get things right."

Who is backing up starter Brandon Green now with Rishaw gone? "Alex Washington, Zack Brent and if A.J. is OK, he will get some time. It's supposed to be A.J.," Nutt stated. "We are awfully thin there."

Random Notes:

* OG A.J. Hawkins dislocated his toe Tuesday and missed Wednesday's practice, but he was dressed for Thursday's workout. "He's still limping - I'm surprised to see him out here. He's trying to get back and I'm glad to see that because he could get some quality time Saturday if things go well and he's healthy enough," said Nutt. . . Prior to the start of practice, Hawkins was working with OL Coach Mike Markuson snapping the football. Could Markuson have designs for him to be a center in the future? Obviously, he's checking that possibility out.

* WR Jesse Grandy's bruised thigh is a little better, but he's not healthy yet either. "I've had a thigh bruise and that's a tough injury to come back from real quickly," Houston noted. "If he can't go, we will go with Rodney Scott returning kickoffs."

* SS Johnny Brown has a pulled groin and has practiced the past two days, but it's apparent he's struggling with the injury. If he cannot go, Fon Ingram will take his place Saturday and his backup will be Derrick Herman, who missed practice yesterday but practiced today.

* TE Ferbia Allen missed Wednesday's practice to a wasp sting on his jaw, but he was back in the fold today and should be fine for the game.

* After two days of practice coming off an extended rehab of a broken foot, OLB Alex Washington says he's "about 75% now."

* RS freshman DE Gerald Rivers is now weighing 245 pounds with a goal of 260 "by spring ball." All involved feel he will get there but he'll have to do it in the offseason. As much as he is running during the season, he's doing good just to maintain the weight he has gained.

* Former Arkansas WR Marcus Monk was at practice again Thursday. "I was released by the Carolina Panthers about a month ago. They kept four wideouts and I was the fifth guy," said Monk. "I want to get into coaching and I can't think of a better person to visit and talk to than Coach Nutt. He's been like a Father to me and to all the players who have ever played for him. I'm here to get his advice on getting into coaching the right way."

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