Practice Report: Thursday

Reb Coach Houston Nutt

The Rebels concluded full-speed practice for the week in soft shells Thursday. A walk-through Friday and the hay is in the barn as they await Vandy for Saturday's 6 p.m. match.

Ole Miss Football Coach Houston Nutt got just what he was looking for this week in practice.

One, health.

"I've never had a team before where everyone was available for the fourth game of the season," Nutt said. "I wish I had them the first three weeks, but I'm glad they are back now. I hope it stays this way."

The biggest news on the health front has been the return of DE Greg Hardy, coming off a stress fracture in his foot in early August.

"All I can say is that he will play this weekend. We don't know how much, but to me he's moving around as if nothing has been wrong," Houston stated. "I have to say I am surprised, but his quick return is a testament to Tim and Larandis in the training room and the great job they have done with Greg. Honestly, this is the best case scenario with Greg. I was not expecting him back for the first SEC game, but I'm sure glad we've got him."

Two, the week's momentum building throughout.

"We had good concentration and a good practice today. Tuesday was a learning day and they didn't play quit as fast as we wanted," Nutt noted. "We put in a couple of different things they had to grasp. Wednesday was so much better with the effort and with speed they were playing and that continued into today."

QB Jevan Snead had a sub-par performance for him against Samford. Nutt was asked how he responded this week in correcting what ailed him last Saturday.

"He's done really good. He's thrown the ball well and he's prepared by studying hard this week," Houston contined. "He's just a great young man. Jevan is the kind of guy you want under center. You feel good when kids like him are directing your offense."

Vandy invades with QB Chris Nickson as a running and throwing threat.

"He's hard to prepare for because he can do so much. He's hard to simulate, but Derrick Herman did a great job trying to. He played Nickson on the scout team and did a super job," Nutt said.

The competition at the free safety slot has heated up between Kendrick lewis and Johnny Brown, according to Nutt.

"Johnny is completely over his hamstring problem now and he's really coming on. I think he will get a lot more plays Saturday," Houston added.

Random Notes:

* We've been reporting all week that Allen Walker has been running ahead of Lamar Brumfield at Sam LB. Word is Allen will get his first start of the year against Vandy.

* There's been an effort to get better production from kickoff returns. Today, Brandon Bolden, Cordera Eason, Devin Thomas, Enrique Davis, Lionel Breaux, and last year's return man, Mike Wallace, were all fielding kicks. Wallace wasn't used earlier in the year because he pulled a hamstring prior to the first game and the coaches have been trying to make sure he's 100% before throwing him in there on KOR. Is this the week? We shall see.

* One of the tightest units on the team at this point has been the field goal team. From the protection to the Preston Powers' snap to the Rob Park hold to the Josh Shene kick, it's been flawless. Good job by that crew.

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