Well Rehearsed

As always, Thursday acted as a glorified walk-through for the Ole Miss football team.

With music blaring on the loud speakers, players were dressed in shorts and shirts, focusing on special teams and game-like situations.

But unlike most Thursday's, when moods are light and the workload is drastically watered down, Ole Miss took to the practice fields with a boost in its step. The Rebels are that much closer to their season opener, a Saturday tilt with Jacksonville State at 2:30 p.m.

Randall Mackey

"This has always been a mental day," Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt said. "Good concentration on kicking, substitutions, putting our guys in different situations. You're trying to think of everything that you've had experience with to get them ready in case it comes up."

Nutt's expectations for the opener are simple. He wants to win, obviously, but he's looking for "tremendous effort" from his team.

"It's a privilege to play for Ole Miss. It's a privilege to be a student-athlete here. We want to represent that family first and foremost," he said.

"That means playing hard, counting on your teammate, being unselfish, playing without the ball on offense, backs running hard, quarterbacks managing the game, defense playing with fire. You've gotta be good tacklers and good blockers. It really comes down to that."

Nutt had no new updates on senior defensive end Kentrell Lockett, who is dealing with an irregular heartbeat, or senior quarterback Jeremiah Masoli. Masoli is awaiting appeal on an NCAA ruling denying his eligibility to play this season, which could be resolved Friday but no later than Tuesday.

"I just trust everything will be looked at a little bit different (upon appeal)," Nutt said. "Let's see what happens. I believe in the system. We'll see how it goes."

Regardless of how the appeal ultimately turns, Nutt has nothing but good words for Masoli and his approach to the difficult process.

"As devastated as he was Tuesday, to come out and encourage (quarterbacks) Nathan (Stanley) and Randall (Mackey) the entire practice has just shown the team member that he is," he said. "He's done a good job with that."

Nutt (left)and Masoli (right)

The third-year head coach was asked of the Ole Miss offense, how it has shaped up over the last month of preseason camp, and dealt with the loss of such a talent of Masoli.

He's been pleased with the unit's improvement, knowing full well the challenge Jacksonville State presents this weekend.

"I think they've come a long way," Nutt said of the offense. "From the spring to now, we've come a long way. It's time to go do it on the field. I know we're playing a good football team. They're picked to win the OVC and you can see why when you watch film. It's going to be a really good test for us."

Ole Miss was dealt a third, and hopefully final, blow Thursday. Three-star signee Quadarias Mireles announced via Facebook that he had been ruled ineligible for the 2010 season.

Mireles was rated the No. 82 wide receiver by Scout.com, signing with Ole Miss over listed offers from Arkansas, Louisville and Miami (Fla.).

"I hope that he'll come here in January or either go to a junior college," Nutt said.


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