As on-campus Cotton Bowl practices wind down - Saturday's will be the last one before the Christmas break - the Rebels have maintained their enthusiasm for the extra workouts and bowl preparations.
"We had good weather today and we had good pep in our step - much better than yesterday," said Coach Houston Nutt of Friday afternoon's practice in the stadium. "I think they are smelling the finish line and Christmas break. Yesterday they were looking past the finish line, today they were more focused. I'm excited about it.
"We've basically had another spring practice and that's an advantage over the schools who don't go bowling. This has really helped our greyshirt guys and redshirt guys."
The rebels got the paperwork in today on JUCO signee S Damien Jackson.
"He's older and physical. More mature. We are excited about him. I love the way he's built physically. He will fit in real good with Johnny Brown and those older guys we have," noted Nutt. "We got Damien for both safety slots. We'll see where he fits in. We think he's going to be good in run support and in coverage."
Tb Dexter McCluster sat out practice Friday, resting a slight toe injury. Nutt said it was "nothing."
On the flip side of the injury coin, OLB Patrick Trahan practiced for the third day in a row.
"He told me he feels real good. He's not in great shape due to the missed time the last few weeks, but he's done well. We've asked all our guys to job a little on their Christmas break and try to find a weight room one or two days, but with Patrick we need him to do a little more during the break," Nutt explained. "As a team, we are in great shape. They just need to maintain that during this week break."
Nutt was asked about Oklahoma State Defensive Coordinator Bill Young.
"He has been around and has coached on every level. He's a very sound coach. Bill likes to mix things up and is very good," Nutt said. "He's a good guy and an excellent coach."
The Rebels will have a closed practice Saturday morning which will be similar to Friday's workout.
"We'll keep going over situations and do extensive kicking game work - all phases. It will be similar to today's, but a little lighter," noted Nutt.
* Before practice begins each day, the kickers and punter come out early to warm up. Today during that 20 minutes, there was some "one-upmanship" going on. Bryson Rose kicked a 55-yard field goal. Andrew Ritter then topped him with a 60-yard field goal. The capper was Punter Tyler Campbell kicking a 62-yard field goal. Pretty strong stuff.
* Greyshirt DE Cameron Whigham tipped the scales at 240 pounds yesterday. He's already getting some freshman-type praise. "Cameron is doing some good things. I like his motor," said DC Tyrone Nix. "We are going to need some help at defensive end next year with the guys we have graduating and maybe Cameron can get some playing time if he keeps developing."
* It appears the move of Alex Williams from DE to OLB is sticking now that he has returned to practice from a broken leg. "He's raw there, but he's got some physical ability and he seems to like the position," said Nix. "Spring training will be important for him to make some advancements."
* TE Ferbia Allen has been kind of stuck on the 235-pound plateau all year due to the workload of the season, but he's confident he can be 250-255 pounds by the time next season rolls around. That's the goal and that gain will be needed because he's expected to get a bulk of the TE reps next season.
* OL Logan Clair (dislocated toe) and DT Justin Smith (foot) sat out practice again Friday. Also missing was TB Cordera Eason, whose Grandfather passed away.
* Redshirt frosh DT Corey Gaines has changed his body, dropping some fat and adding some lean muscle, but his weight has remained the same. Corey reported at 305 pounds and is still at that weight, but he says he's "much stronger and more explosive now."
* The rehab of DE Jason Jones' knee is right on schedule. The goal is to have him ready for spring training, but that may or may not happen. It usually takes roughly six months for an ACl rehab and spring training will be right at the six-month mark. Jason is running in a straight line right now. Cutting will come later.
* What's the difference between healthy and injured? Night and day. Just ask MLB D.T. Shackelford. "We're seeing more of the real D.T. now that his ankles are well," said Nix. "We're excited about him being 100% for the Cotton Bowl. We saw the good things he could do before his ankle injuries and we are expecting that type of play to surface in the bowl game."
* Several players have gotten more reps with the first offensive unit in the past few days and they seem to be making the most of the opportunities. QB Nathan Stanley has thrown some excellent passes with the first-team offense. TB Enrique Davis has ripped off some nice runs working with the top OL. WRs Pat Patterson and Jesse Grandy have been prominent in the passing game all week. TB Rodney Scott has been given an opportunity to shine and has taken advantage of that with some real good runs. It's been exciting to watch.
* There will be no practice report from Saturday's closed practice session.
* The Rebs will meet in Dallas on the 26th and pick back up with game week practices in Cowboys Stadium on the 27th.
Friday Practice Report
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