Spring Forward

Houston Nutt didn't mince words when describing the challenges his team faces in 2010-11. View the videos inside.

Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt, following a lengthy delay, finally took the podium inside the team meeting room of the indoor practice facility Tuesday afternoon.

HC Houston Nutt
With a wealth of storylines facing his team once spring practice kicks off Saturday, an eager media contingent sat primed and ready to ask questions.

Not only are the Rebels starting over at quarterback, Nathan Stanley and Raymond Cotton are the candidates, but numerous holes throughout the depth chart are up for grabs.

But before the first hand was raised, Nutt spoke for well over 16 minutes. He broke down each and every position, while adding some insight into the many personnel issues his staff will meet in 2010-11.

As he tells it, Nutt is in for the greatest challenge of his 20-plus years in coaching.

Senior linebacker Allen Walker isn't overly talkative. By the way he's carried himself on the field, he hasn't had to be.

LB Allen Walker
Over a three-year span since being redshirted in 2006, the Olive Branch native has continued to ascend as one of Ole Miss' most reliable players. Last season, as a full-time starter on the strong side, he recorded a career-best 51 tackles. He also added one sack and five pass breakups.

But he's never been one for headlines, instead giving way to his teammates for leadership throughout his career. Walker, on the other hand, stayed in the background, opting to lead by example and allow his actions to do the talking.

Now a senior, Walker has no choice but to speak up. He knows it, too. He heads a linebacker corps with the most experience of any other position defensively.

Since a 21-7 win over Oklahoma State in the 74th annual Cotton Bowl Classic, Ole Miss has seen eight offensive starters depart due to either graduation or early declaration into April's upcoming NFL Draft.

RB Brandon Bolden
The Rebels said goodbye to, among others, Dexter McCluster, Jevan Snead, John Jerry and Shay Hodge. McCluster and Hodge accounted for the majority of the team's production with a pair of record-breaking senior seasons.

Brandon Bolden, even while a junior, has already assumed a leadership role. Premature or not, he's one of the few veterans left.

But more than anything, Bolden has been through the fires of the Southeastern Conference, with plenty of yards and touchdowns to show for it.

He'll be relied upon early and often as Ole Miss searches for an offensive identity early in spring drills.

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