Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt opted for soft shells and helmets for Wednesday's late afternoon practice session, held on the practice fields under the lights in a light drizzle and with temperatures in the high 40s.
"We started out outside and then the offense went to the IPF about halfway through while the defense stayed outside. We got in some good work," said Nutt. "We are working hard to get ready for a very, very good and very fast team in LSU. They are also physical on both sides of the ball, especially in the trenches.
"I'm very impressed with their skill players - their linebackers, safeties, corners are extremely fast and have great agility. On offense, we will be facing the tallest receivers we will face all year other than Memphis."
Nutt is referring to 6-5 Terrence Toliver and 6-3 Brandon LaFell at the Tiger wideouts.
"They have great technique and do a great job fighting for the ball," Nutt noted. "We will have to be very violent when the ball is getting to them and do a great job with our coverage and leverage.
"Our secondary had a better game against Tennessee, but this will be a stiffer challenge with the LSU wideouts."
* DT Jerrell Powe has been getting a lot of attention recently for his improved play. A fan of Powe's is DE Marcus Tillman, who has seen the transformation of Jerrell since he reported to the team two years ago at 386 pounds and out of shape. "It's very impressive what he has done with his body. It's hard to change your body as much as he has," said Till. "He had great self-discipline, especially for someone who is a great cook like he is. He can throw down in the kitchen." Tillman knows what makes Powe good as a DT. "He's so massive and also explosive in his hips. He shoots his hands well," Marcus noted. "He's so quick that centers have a hard time snapping the ball and then getting to him before he has leverage on them. He can blow a center up and that blows some plays up." Powe's personality has also played a part in the Rebel's defensive success, Tillman noted. "Powe is always trying to keep us in the game and keep us up and has become a leader," said Tillman.
* OLB Patrick Trahan sat out another practice Wednesday and was in a walking/stabilizing boot and on crutches. He's still maintaining he will play against LSU. There is still no solid diagnosis on what is wrong with his ankle/foot. "I really don't know what's going on there, but I don't like it when he's in a boot," Nutt said. "I still look for him to play Saturday." If Trahan could not go, freshman Joel Kight and/or senior Lamar Brumfield would have to take up the slack. "Brumfield and Jonathan Cornell are our most experienced linebackers. The truth is, we are very thin at LB because of the ankle injuries and we will have to make due with who is available."
* Backup OLB Brandon Sanders was out with flu-like symptoms and sickness.
* Safety Fon Ingram's knee and MLB D.T. Shackelford's ankle continue to show improvement as of Wednesday after practice. Both were held out of the Tennessee game but are hopeful to play against the Tigers. Fon is getting in more practice work than D.T., who is still hobbling some but has shown improvement.
* If looking ahead is your thing, here's some food for thought. When the Rebels line up for stretch to start each practice, they line up like a depth chart - front row, 1st team; 2nd row, 2nd team and so on. Today, nobody was lined up behind senior DE Marcus Tillman. The player usually lined up behind Tillman, senior Garrett Ryan, had a class, but it got us to pondering the DE situation for the future. Tillman, Emmanuel Stephens, Greg Hardy and Ryan are all seniors. The lone returning scholarship DEs currently practicing are Kentrell Lockett and Gerald Rivers. Jason Jones is rehabbing a knee injury and is a converted MLB. Bottom line: The Rebels will have to beat the recruiting trail hard for defensive ends and, most likely, they will need to sign at least one ready-made JUCO DE. Greyshirt Mike Marry could turn into a DE when all is said and done, but even at that, help for the future is needed at those two slots.
* A somewhat worthless piece of information, but a tidbit that does (kind of) reveal arm strength, we asked freshman QBs Clayton Moore and Raymond Cotton who can throw the football the furthest. Moore's order: Cotton, Stanley, Snead, Tapp, Moore. Cotton concurred with him at the top, citing he threw a pass 79 yards this summer when he first reported to the Rebel camp. Ray, however, believes Snead might edge Stanley out in the distance toss. For what it's worth, there has been no contest among them.
* One of the biggest shocks of the Tennessee game came early when four-year Deep Snapper Preston Powers had an errant snap on a Rebel punt. Frosh Punter Tyler Campbell recovered nicely and got off a 52-yard punt, but the surprise was that Powers had a bad punt snap, the first we can recall since he has been handling all the DS chores. "My right hand slipped just a little off the ball and I knew as soon as I let it go it was going to be low. Thank goodness Tyler got it handled," Powers said. Powers, a senior, has been terrific as a snapper, a position sometimes taken for granted. So who will handle those duties next year? Wesley Phillips has been waiting in the wings and working on his craft diligently for four years. He and Preston came in at the same time, but Wesley redshirted his first year while Preston won the job as a true frosh. Powers believes Phillips will be excellent. "He gets the ball back there in a hurry and is very accurate. He will do fine. Wesley has worked hard and will be a great snapper next year," said Powers.
Wednesday Practice Report
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