Monday Practice Report

Nathan Stanley

The rain in Oxford gave the Rebels a reprieve from the heat as practice was moved inside. Coach Houston Nutt was pleased with the energy level - again. Read about it inside.

In the air-conditioned confines of the Indoor Practice Facility - due to rain late Monday afternoon in Oxford, the Ole Miss Rebels had a spirited 2 1/2-hour workout.

"We came out here again with energy and enthusiasm. I'm sure the shade (roof) in the IPF had something to do with that, but I still saw some improvement, which was encouraging," said Coach Houston Nutt. "It was real good to get (WR) Vincent Sanders in here. We got him in the mix quickly and even though he's a little lost, he made a couple of nice plays."

Houston expanded a little on his first impression of Sanders.

"(WR Coach) Ron Dickerson was coaching him on the run, but he ran good routes and made a good play on a third-and-eight, and made a move to get upfield. We know he has excellent hands and he's not afraid to go get the ball in a crowd," Nutt stated.

Nutt, as he did yesterday, singled out a few of the true freshmen who caught his eye.

Jeff Scott

"Carlton Martin, Carlos Thompson, Ralph Williams, Jeff Scott, Martez Easland, Chase Hughes and Jared Duke are all spinning a little bit, but I appreciate how hard they are going and the way they have hit the ground running," said Nutt.

At quarterback, Nutt mentioned Nathan Stanley first.

"Nate had an excellent day throwing the ball. He made a lot of good reads and converted several third-and-longs, which are tough situations. He threw it fine yesterday, but was much better today," said Houston. "Jeremiah (Masoli) keeps making plays. The most impressive thing is that he catches on very fast for someone who just started getting into the playbook. He did some good things again today. Randall (Mackey) also continues to show his ability and athleticism."

One standout on the day was Frank Crawford, who was moved from safety to cornerback for fall camp. Crawford had two picks in team work today.

"We know he has great ball skills - we know that about him for sure," Nutt commented. "How he does when we press up some great receivers, we'll see, but he plays the ball with his eyes very well and if a quarterback stares a receiver down, Frank has a chance to get the ball."

The Rebels will go in shoulder pads and helmets tomorrow and Wednesday and then it's full pads Thursday and Friday and a scrimmage Saturday.

"We'll get a lot more physical tomorrow. We'll do a lot of hitting and turn up the heat, but no tackling to the ground," said Nutt. "It will be a real eye-opener for the freshmen tomorrow. It will be exciting to see how they respond. It will be just like full pads except for the tackling part."

Random Notes:

* There's been a lot of talk swirling around about the class/eligibility status of new OT Terrell Brown, the 6-11, 410-pounder. According to Terrell, he went to Mississippi Delta Community College for two years, but he did not play football. Since his eligibility clock started, he has used, essentially, his redshirt year and one year of eligibility, meaning he is a junior class-wise, but a sophomore - with three years to play three - eligibility-wise. At least that is his explanation and we have no reason to doubt him.

* Eyeballed Tim Simon today for the first time this fall. He seemed optimistic about a recent report he had on his knee. "I'm better. I can walk better," said Tim. "I'm shooting for a spring practice return, but I know I still have a lot of work to do."

Tim Simon

Tim was tested recently to see if he needed some minor scope surgery to clean up some looseness in his knee, but that test revealed he does not need the extra procedure, which is good news for him.

* Freshman RB Jeff Scott wore #6 jersey his first day of practice, but was switched to #3 Monday. The number did not make a difference - with his speed, he was easily detectable. Jeff, by the way, was used today fielding punts with Jesse Grandy and Markeith Summers. He seemed to do a good job catching the ball, so that option is definitely open for the young speedster.

* More on Sanders. . . . physically, he's almost a carbon copy of Ja-Mes Logan as a true freshman. Good lower body, about 6-2 or a shade taller, lean upper body that needs some work. He has a good frame to build on and he seemed to get downfield in a hurry with a long stride and good acceleration off the ball. And, as Nutt said, he flashed good hands on his two or three chances. We're not much for predictions, but he looks like he may have the goods and that would be a huge boost to a receiving corps that needs some immediate help.

* WR Jesse Grandy didn't make much noise in Sunday's practice, but he got several chances today and made the most of them. Jesse caught several passes underneath coverage and turned them into good gains with his quick moves and elusiveness.

* We'll get more into depth charts and the like when the dust settles a little bit, but we were asked earlier in the day to scope out the number two OL. Here it is: LT Emmanuel McCray, LG Michael Brown, Center Evan Swindall, RG Chris Gill, RT Logan Clair. . . Josh Tatum worked some at right guard as well.

* Freshman Cornerback Cliff Coleman rolled his ankle today and had to be taken out of drills. No word on how long he will miss. . . We saw no other injuries except D.T. Shackelford getting shaken up a bit on a collision with Cameron Whigham as both went for an interception of a tipped ball. He popped up after a few seconds.

* DL Coach Terry Price also has a different look this fall. T.P. has lost over 40 pounds and looks like he's in good shape. No eligibility remaining, however.

* There has been some concern floating around about the tight end position, but it appears senior Reggie Hicks is trying to go out with a bang as the backup to Ferbia Allen.

Reggie Hicks

Reggie is thick, plays under his pads and is quick in blocking edge defenders. He could end up being an important cog in the whole scheme of things. Certainly, somebody needs to emerge at that position and Reggie is off to a good start.

* What has Nutt glowing about Thompson and Martin, the two freshman DL? In a phrase, they are quick-twitch athletes, and it's obvious. Both get off the ball with explosion and acceleration and both have speed and quickness. Martin also looks to be college-level strong already. Bright futures for both, and it couldn't come at a better time with the senior DL Ole Miss will be losing after this year.

* In pass scale drills, with no rush, all three QBs connected on bombs today. Nate hit Ja-Mes Logan, Randall Mackey connected with Markeith Summers and Masoli found Malvin Harris with long passes. All three throw a pretty nice deep ball.

* Back in spring, senior Fon Ingram didn't have a real good ssession, but there was a reason(s). Fon was struggling with knee issues, a pulled ham and a pulled groin. He admits, he became "timid." Now, he's healthy and it's apparent he's playing with more abandon and more confidence. His movement is better and so is his demeanor. Good to see.

* We'll get into this in more detail in coming reports, but from an overall perspective, it's becoming clear there is quality depth being developed, almost across the board. From top to bottom, there are just more quality athletes on campus and it doesn't take an expert to see it. That's very, very encouraging for now and the future.

* Coaches say it every day. Competition makes everyone better. Look no further than the quarterback position. All three of the top guys are making plays, all three are focused and all three are feeding off the energy and competition from the other two. Stanley, in our eyes, looked as good today as he's ever been, Mackey is playing at a relatively high level considering it's his second day and Masoli is getting things done in a hurry, despite the obvious handicap of being behind in the system. Competition indeed makes everyone better.

* DC Tyrone Nix was not joking around when he said this summer he was going to find more opportunities for D.T. Shackelford. Today, D.T. played MLB, OLB and even some defensive end in a three-point stance. Nix said he's too valuable to sit and he's doing something about it.

* The knock all of last spring on WR Melvin Harris was inconsistent hands, an area that had to be shored up if he was going to see much playing time. So far, Melvin has been sure-handed and consequently he's getting more looks from the coaches and the quarterbacks.

* Practice will begin tomorrow around 5:20 p.m., and, if no more rain comes through the area, it will be on the practice fields.




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