Along with the jarring news of the NCAA's ruling against senior quarterback Jeremiah Masoli the day before, Nutt was met with the loss of senior defensive end and team captain Kentrell Lockett for the team's season opener Saturday.
Lockett was again in Cleveland, Ohio Wednesday, undergoing tests for an irregular heartbeat.
But for Nutt and the Ole Miss football team, the show (or in this case, practice) must go on. And it was a good one in shoulders pads and shorts, according to the third-year head coach.
"We had a really good day today. A really good day," Nutt said. "We took care of the ball today and played with a lot of energy and passion. I was excited about today."
Nutt said his team, in one of its final tune-ups before Jacksonville State rolls into Oxford, was in good spirits, despite the perceived adversity Ole Miss has faced over an eventful game week.
"I don't know if adversity is the right word, but I know the right word was hustle, enthusiasm, everybody encouraging one another. Looked good today," he said.
There were no updates on either Masoli or Lockett, but Nutt further expanded on his quarterbacks. He's fully confident in sophomore Nathan Stanley, and reaffirmed Randall Mackey's role in the offense.
"Knows our playbook," Nutt said of Stanley. "He has a spring under his belt and played in the Cotton Bowl. He's going to be alright. And I feel good about Randall Mackey."
On Mackey, Nutt feels the junior college transfer has come a long way since his arrival this summer.
"Just about everything right now," Nutt said of Mackey's grasp of the offense. "He's really come on. I've said it before, but he'd have really been something special if he would have been here in January. But he's come so far in these 29 opportunities; he's really improved with everything."
Mackey, once rated a four-star recruit by Scout.com, has long sought for his chance to compete inside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. A former Parade All-American, Mackey originally committed to Ole Miss for the signing class of 2009, but didn't qualify academically.
Now his patience is being rewarded.
"We're feeling real good. Me and Nate are feeling real good about the game plan we have," he said. "We just have to go in, execute and make sure we do everything right."
As to nerves, Mackey isn't feeling any. He's a quarterback, he said. There's no room for trepidation.
"Being a quarterback, you can't be nervous," he said. "You always have to feel what's coming ahead. I'm not nervous."
It doesn't hurt that he has a former Heisman candidate in his ear. Though Masoli is awaiting an appeal process on his eligibility for 2010, he's continued to practice with the team.
Masoli's appeal is to be reviewed by an NCAA Subcommittee for Legislative Relief, with a response expected as early as Friday but no later than one week.
"Jeremiah's a real leader, "Mackey said. "He's been out here, going over the offense and telling us what to do. He's still going over the plays with us, going over the reads and sitting back there thinking in his mind about what's going on with the play. He's a real good leader, a real good quarterback."
* Sophomore defensive end Gerald Rivers again ran with the first team in place of Lockett Wednesday. He's clearly in line to start, as has been mentioned by Nutt previously, but may still have something to prove to his head coach.
"Gerald Rivers has done an excellent job," Nutt said. "It's time for him to come on. He's done a good job for us."
Rivers isn't changing his approach. He won't try to be anyone but himself, even if he's replacing such a vocal presence as Lockett in the starting lineup.
"That's just part of playing football. Play how I play. Take things the way coach puts it out there," he said.
* Nutt plans to use Mackey in a variety of packages, presumably those that utilize his ability to improvise and make plays with his feet. Whatever the role, Mackey is comfortable and ready to take the field.
"When coach calls upon me, I'm going to be ready," Mackey said. "He's got something for me. I can just go in there and be very comfortable with it. I'm going to go with that."
* The injury list, including the obvious absence of Lockett, was more of the same today. Free safety Fon Ingram was at practice and "feeling OK." Center Evan Swindall was out due to fever, while freshman offensive lineman Jared Duke did some light jogging around the practice fields. Linebacker Mike Marry remains limited. Defensive tackle Lawon Scott, meanwhile, was in class.
* Many Ole Miss freshmen are set for their first taste of college football. Be it Jeff Scott, Carlos Thompson, Swindall or Brishen Mathews, Saturday is sure to be a unique experience, one they'll never forget.
Nutt's words of wisdom?
"Keep your eyes open, your mouth closed and be very, very focused."