For the first three days of spring training, Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt has been singing the praises of the Rebel defense.
After Day IV, the offense got some love from Houston.
"We made a few more plays on offense and are getting better. The ball wasn't on the ground as much, so I'm excited about that," said Nutt. "We didn't have as many fumbles, only two, which is too many, but not as many as yesterday.
"What also has me excited is that Melvin Harris and Ja'Mes Logan are getting better and showing up. They have made strides and are getting a lot of reps. Jesse (Grandy) has been outstanding and we're getting more out of Markeith (Summers) coming off sports hernia surgery. I appreciate him fighting through that in this important spring. Lionel Breaux has also been consistent and Ferbia Allen has made some good catches for us."
In team drills, the quarterbacks - Nathan Stanley and Raymond Cotton - split time with the number one offense.
"We're going to do that because we only have one OL we feel real good about, especially against the number one defense. We want to give both of them a fair shot and see how they handle things with our ones and against our ones," Nutt explained.
Houston again mentioned OTs Bradley Sowell and Bobby Massie as leading the way of the OL.
"Bradley is stronger and appears to be playing faster due to his experience. Massie keeps coming. It's a good feeling to have two tackles who have played in this league. I know they can keep improving though and it helps that they are going against guys like Kentrell Lockett, who really challenges them," noted Nutt.
Rishaw Johnson, who has looked very well in one-on-one drills against DT Jerrell Powe the past two days, also drew attention from Nutt.
"We know how strong Jerrell is and how hard he works and to see Rishaw hang with him is very impressive. Rishaw has been our most physical offensive lineman thus far this spring. I've been proud of him," Houston closed. 'He's just got to keep coming."
Sowell knows he has a different role this year - he's a junior and one of the few veterans of the OL that has extensive game experience.
"I know everything better and that's allowed me to be more physical and to play faster," said Brad. "The thing now is gelling with Tank (Alex Washington). That will take some more time. If we eliminate the mistakes, we'll be a good offensive line."
His "old guy" tag is something new.
"It's different. I'm in the position of helping the younger guys out, in the film room and out on the field," said Sowell. "I'm making a conscious effort to be more of a leader. I'm enjoying the role."
Massie still weighs the same as last year, but he's leaned up his body and can feel the difference.
"I'm a veteran now. We have a lot of new faces. It's going to take us some time to gel, but Rishaw and I worked together a lot last year so our chemistry is getting better and better," Massie noted. "People tell me I look skinny but it's just that Coach (Don) Decker has got me right. I feel stronger, quicker and faster."
Massie said he's not where he wants to be in the knowledge department yet, but he's getting there.
"Coach (Mike) Markuson will get me where I want to be. I want to be an All-SEC tackle and I know Coach Markuson will take me there," Bobby closed.
* CB Jeremy McGee sat out today with an ankle injury sustained yesterday. He also has a broken hand and is wearing a cast at practice. No word on when he will be back. RS Freshman Ryan Campbell is working with the one defense in his place.
* The Rebels will scrimmage in the stadium Friday morning after working on individual drills on the practice fields for about an hour. The practice is set to start at 10:30 if there are no changes between now and then.
* A huge man was at practice today. Drew OL Terrell Brown, all 6-11 and 380 pounds (at least) of him, was on campus. He's hoping to walkon the team in the summer. He's still got some academic issues to work out, but if that gets settled, it appears the massive Brown will be a Rebel.
* The Rebel PKs were perfect from 37 yards. Bryson Rose was 2-2 and David Hankins was 1-1 in an abbreviated field goal drill.
* Yesterday, Johnson definitely got the best of Powe in one-on-one drills. Today, it was more of a stalemate. Hard to get Jerrell two days in a row.
* We got the first sighting of the real Tig Barksdale today in one-on-one drills. He leveled a ballcarrier on one snap. Welcome, Tig. Good to see the real you surface.
* TB Enrique Davis is making more of an impression this spring. He's playing faster now and knows what to do and what it takes to move up the depth chart ladder. He's stronger and quicker than he was back during the season and you can readily tell that in the results he's getting running the ball.
* WR Billy Dobbs sat out today with s separated shoulder he injured yesterday.
* Melvin Harris showed why 6-7 is important. On a long pass from Stanley, Harris outjumped SS Damien Jackson for the ball, using his height and vertical to reach it, and danced into the end zone for the score.
* In team drills, Cotton and Stanley were both effective throwing the ball. Cotton was 4-6 with mostly intermediate throws. One miss was on a long throw that should have been caught by the receiver. Stanley countered by going 6-8 with a long of 30 yards to Ja'Mes Logan.
* Markeith Summers had four catches in team drills and Enrique Davis added runs of 9 and 8 yards. TB Rodney Scott broke loose for a 22-yard run and Jerrell Powe had two QB sacks. OLB Alex Williams had a tackle for a 12-yard loss when he smelled out a reverse and DE Gerald Rivers registered a sack as did DE Lakenwic Haynes. Korvic Neat had a 15-yard catch and a 15-yard run while playing both WR and TB. OLB Joel Kight had a TFL of -3 on Brandon Bolden and Stanley had a 15-yard run on a bootleg. TE Ferbia Allen also had a couple of nice grabs, one a TD when he split the defense on a skinny post.
* From the egg-on-the-face department, we wrote yesterday that Rishaw Johnson had a power clean of 680 pounds. Of course, we meant squat. A 680 power clean would be a world record.
* There will be no practice Wednesday. Practice will resume Thursday at 4 p.m.
Spring Practice, Day IV
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