Now, it begins. . . Practice Sunday

Things went smoothly as the Rebel newcomers reported Friday and the veterans Saturday. There was only one glitch. Read about it inside.

For most intents and purposes, the reporting days - Friday for "newcomers" and Saturday for veterans - went smoothly.

With reporting and the first team meeting - Saturday night - behind them, the Ole Miss Rebel football team prepared to strap it on Sunday at 4 p.m. - if the schedule holds - for the first practice of the 2010 season.

The first two days of practice are what is called "acclimation practices," where players are dressed in shorts, shirts and helmets, but not allowed to wear any other protective gear.

The next two workouts will be in shoulder pads, helmets and shorts.

The fifth practice (set for Thursday) will be the first day of full pads.

In Coach Houston Nutt's Friday press conference, he noted everything is on go.

"The team is well-conditioned from summer workouts, they got a week off last week to see their families and rest their legs, and now it's time to get after it," said Nutt. "We're all excited to get underway.

Houston Nutt

"Players and coaches prepare year round for what happens in the next 4-5 months. It's what we all work for. We intend to make the most of it and not waste a rep, a practice, a meeting or a day."

As is the case with all reporting days, however, there were a couple of glitches.

It was expected that freshman WR Vincent Sanders, freshman DL Bryon Bennett and freshman CB Tony Grimes would be cleared by the NCAA in time Friday to report with the other freshmen.

That did not come to pass, but the hope is high, Nutt said, that they - and DE Delvin Jones - would all be cleared "sometime between Monday and Wednesday" of this week.

There is still no word on freshman WR Q Mireles, and that, being the case, has dropped the hopes of those involved from his clearance happening any time soon. While it could still happen quickly, the odds are getting slimmer and slimmer.

JUCO WR Darrin Moore is also in the picture, but he is still taking junior college classes to get eligible and the projection for his projected arrival, if things go smoothly, is somwhere around "mid-August."

Perhaps the most crushing blow to all involved, however, is the fate of Batesville football prodigy Darius "Tig" Barksdale.

It's been well-documented Tig has been on suspension for breaking team rules since spring training, and once before in the fall.

Darius Barksdale

With what appeared to be a successful spring/summer attempt to regain his playing status on the team, Nutt said Friday that Tig would be allowed back on the squad based on a "zero tolerance contract we have with him."

It appeared like clear sailing for the former All-State running back, but a late development has thrown a curve in his comeback bid.

It was learned today that Tig has opted to delay his return to football pending more work on some personal issues.

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