Thursday Practice Report

The Rebels are bracing and preparing for trench warfare when the LSU Tigers come to Oxford Saturday for their annual SEC West showdown. Read about Thursday practice session inside.

Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt has seen a pattern develop over the last three weeks of the season - a team gaining confidence and preparing accordingly, but he understands the roadblock awaiting the Rebels this Saturday in the from of the LSU Tigers.

"We have prepared well, just like the past two weeks. I think we are ready to go," Nutt said after Thursday's shorts and helmets practice session in the stadium. "I feel we have prepared this week as well as we did for Tennessee, Arkansas and NAU, which is very good.

"We all know how good LSU is. We still have to go out and play well, but as far as preparations are concerned, the kids have been attentive and focused and that's important to be tuned in during practice to get ready for a game of this magnitude."

The biggest question the Rebels have at this point is the health of OLB Patrick Trahan, who dressed out and practiced some Thursday.

"I don't know how close to 100% he will be, but we'll do like last week - make a decision at game time and see what we can get out of him," noted Nutt. "I am not really concerned about him missing practice and not knowing what we are trying to do because he's an older guy with experience and he's spent his time this week in the film room. He knows out gameplan."

In case Trahan can't play, Nutt and DC Tyrone Nix will most likely go with freshman Joel Kight, but senior Lamar Brumfield will also be in the mix.

"Joel has done a great job this week. He's coming on strong. He does a lot for us on special teams and as a backup. I am very proud of him," Nutt said. "He can't handle everything we do, but we are confident in what he knows and Lamar is experienced and we have confidence in him."

Random Notes:

* The continuing saga of MLB D.T. Shackelford's ankle(s) may have taken a turn for the better this week. D.T. has not missed any practice this week and his left ankle, that he hurt first, has healed. His right ankle is still giving him some problems but he said that ankle has improved quite a bit this week. He's hoping for the best in regard to seeing some action against the Tigers.

* Senior Center Daverin Geralds knows what to expect when facing the LSU Tiger offensive line, but he's not sure the Tiger OL knows what they will be up against when they line up against Ole Miss DT Jerrell Powe and company. "I go against those guys every day, in particular Powe, and they are tough," said Geralds. "He works me hard every day and I know he's one of the best in the league. He's so quick off the ball and a load to block. I know I'm not going to face anyone any better in games, which gives me a lot of confidence. As a center, trying to snap the ball and then get set for a guy as quick as Jerrell, it's very difficult. Once he gets leverage on you, it's over. He's got you. He reminds me a lot of Peria Jerry in the way he's hungry and likes to base his game off penetration and disruption."

* A lot of familiar and important players will be playing their last home game as Rebels against the Tigers - Shay Hodge, Dexter McCluster, Reid Neely, Andy Hartmann, John Jerry, Marcus Tillman, Patrick Trahan, Kendrick Lewis, Josh Shene, Marshay Green, Cassius Vaughn, etc. It will be an emotional time for them, as Hodge said recently. "I feel like I just got here as a freshman and now it's almost over. It will be a tough day in that regard for all of the seniors," Hodge noted. "We've experienced a little bit of everything - highs and lows, coaching changes, good times and bad, but we're proud of what we have been able to accomplish and proud we have been able to turn the program around in the right direction." The Rebel seniors will be honored prior to kickoff. Rebel fans need to make a major effort to get to the stadium early Saturday and show their appreciation for the 2009 senior class.

* Based on last week's results over Tennessee, some Rebel fans are under the impression the game against the Tigers is a lock. The Rebel players are under no such illusions. "LSU is LSU. What happened last week or last year really doesn't matter much," said McCluster. "We gained some confidence against Tennessee, but we know who is coming to town and how tough this game is going to be. We've got to bring our best against them and we need our fans to bring their best as well. We have a lot at stake in this game and we will need the help from the fans against a great team."

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