"The weather was absolutely awesome. We had a good day today and did a lot of competitive situations, like first-and-ten, third-and-long, two-minute drill, field goal unit," said Houston. "I liked the way everyone competed today."
Nutt turned his attention quickly to some individuals, starting with junior DE Wayne Dorsey and junior S Damien Jackson.
"Wayne and Damien did really well in spring, but they have gone to another level so far this fall camp. I'm really proud of them," said Nutt. "Then guys like D.T. Shackelford, Joel Kight, Clarence Jackson and Ralph Williams are very good. Of course, Joel is a starter and D.T. is considered a starter. Jonathan Cornell is leading them and bringing it all together. Jackson is 235 and has been doing outstanding for a first-year guy. He'll be in the mix and be on special teams.
"We feel we have quite a few true freshmen who could contribute. So far, it's looking good."
Nutt's general thoughts after grading Saturday's film had a mix of good and bad.
"We have to do a better job of knowing our assignments better. When we knew our assignments, we executed pretty well. Our backs ran hard and our receivers are having an excellent camp. Melvin Harris is having a great camp. Lionel Breaux and Jesse Grandy are doing well," noted Nutt. "Nathan Stanley is ahead because he knows the book better, but for two guys like Jeremiah (Masoli) and Randall (Mackey) to come in here and grasp it the way they have has been special. I think we are in good shape at quarterback. I love the three we have.
"We are OK with our top three at safety and corner, but we have to built more depth there and keep coming. Franck (Crawford) has to keep coming at corner and we're looking for a fourth safety. Just keep going."
One of the freshmen who has caught Nutt's eye is OL Jared Duke, but Houston said Duke knows it's a work in progress.
"He's second team right now, but he knows it could be temporary. Terrence Hackney and Chris Gill did well today and are pushing him," Nutt allowed. "It's not like, 'OK, you made it.' It's keep churning."
A point of interest is the center competition between Evan Swindall, currently number one, and A.J. Hawkins, who was number one until Saturday.
"Both are competing hard and we haven't had but one ball on the ground in the last couple of days, which is positive," said Houston. "That's a good situation from a competition standpoint. A.J. played hard today and that's what we need from him."
Nutt said still no final word on Delvin Jones and Tony Grimes, two players who are waiting to be officially in school and joining the team.
"We're still hopeful," he said. "With injuries and the like, you never know if they may be needed. They have missed a lot of time, but we could give them a crash course, especially at corner, and see if they could help."
* Walkon Wide Receiver Pack Toler has opted to leave football and become a full time student at Ole Miss. Toler had been at Ole Miss working out with the football team all summer, but decided it wasn't for him after fall camp started.
* Freshman LB Clarence Jackson has made an early good impression and is currently the number two WLB behind Joel Kight. "The starting defense has helped me out a lot with my plays and helping me learn," said Jackson. "That has enabled me to advance quickly. Once you get reps, and get a feel, it's pretty easy, but early on you can get confused."
Jackson said during recruiting that he wanted to try some running back, but that has changed - for now - since his arrival. "I still have that in the back of my mind, but I think I can help my team more at linebacker for now," he sstated. "I thing I have just about caught up with the speed of the game on this level. Being physical has required some work, but my Dad made me tough and taught me how to be physical when I was smaller. I'm OK with all that so far."
* After struggling for a couple of days when fall camp opened last week, true freshman Deep Snapper Will Denny has settled in some, according to Special Teams Coordinator James Shibest. "He had a good scrimmage (last Saturday)," said Shibest after the workout. Wesley Phillips, who will be a senior, hurt his knee during spring training in a bicycle accident on an off day and has not returned to action yet. He's expected back in "a couple of weeks."
* Asked point blank after Saturday's scrimmage if moving freshman Center Evan Swindall ahead of sophomore A.J. Hawkins for Saturday's scrimmage was a motivational ploy for A.J. OL Coach Mike Markuson said "absolutely not." According to Mike, A.J. had been putting too many balls on the ground and Evan was making the center exchanges more cleanly, thus the promotion/demotion. For the record, Swindall was still at number one in Sunday's practice and in today's workout.
* From a brief "bump" with WR Coach Ron Dickerson after the scrimmage, Ron said his troops are "getting there and doing better." He was quick to point out, however, that they all, as a unit, have to keep going forward.
"A good start is important, and we've had that, but we've got more to do to be where we want to be," he said. As was stated in the scrimmage reports, sophomore Melvin Harris has been one of the biggest surprises of camp. The addition of true frosh Vincent Sanders, an impressive rookie, has also bolstered the situation, believed to be thin at the end of spring. Quality has also surfaced in the form of Markeith Summers, Lionel Breaux, Jesse Grandy and Ja-Mes Logan during the first eight days of camp, but as Dickerson noted, it's no time to rest on laurels and one week will not tell the tale.
* On the injury front, CB Cliff Coleman (ankle) is still in a boot and it was learned he has fractured his ankle and will be out 6-8 weeks; OLB Mike Marry (hamstring) is still dressing out but unable to go in any full speed drills; and DT Justin Smith (chest inffection) returned to practice today. Justin missed most of the first week but is now back in the fold.
* The punt return job seems to have narrowed down to four, with Grandy in the lead. Brandon Bolden, Markeith Summers and Derrick Herman are also fielding punts in practice. Last week, frosh RB Jeff Scott tried his hand at that duty as well, but today he was not back there in the rotation.
* TE Ferbia Allen missed practice today due to personal reasons.
* Freshman DL Bryon Bennett was in shoulder pads today but not full gear yet. He should be in full pads tomorrow, if we counted our four days correctly. Bennett is lining up at defensive tackle right now and is tipping the scales at 295 pounds.
* One surprising, but not shocking development, took place today. In stretch formation, where players line up to stretch based on the depth chart, senior Ted Laurent was ahead of senior Jerrell Powe at DT. Surprising a little bit because Powe has been first in line since early spring, not shocking because Teddy is, and has been, considered a "starter" for a long time. Nothing impactful, but interesting. "We consider Ted a starter. Both are doing well. There's not much to that, really," Nutt said.
* We're trying to hack away at a depth chart and just about have it down, but it may be a couple of days before we release one to make sure of its accuracy. But we'll give you a little tease with the defensive line.
At rush end, it's Kentrell Lockett, Gerald Rivers, Lakenwic Haynes, Carlos Thompson and Alex Williams. At NT, the order (today) was Laurent, Powe, Corey Gaines and Carlton Martin. At DT, Lawon Scott, LaMark Armour, Justin Smith and Bryon Bennett. At DE, Wayne Dorsey, Cameron Whigham, Jason Jones and Mike Thomas. More as we feel comfortable with our accuracy and as things settle a bit more at other positions.