Friday Practice Report

Frosh LB Clarence Jackson

Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt called Thursday's workout "an up and down" practice, but he did manage to find some bright spots. Read about it inside.

"Up,down. Up, down. You gotta be consistent. We weren't today," said Nutt. "The defense had a much better pad level today. I think (Defensive Coordinator) Tyrone Nix got some things straightened out from yesterday. They ran to the ball better.

"The defense took better angles and played with a better pad level. On the flip side, we have to be more consistent on offense. We have to know who to block and take better care of the ball."

It wasn't like Nutt was angry about it, he just knows, based on yesterday's results by the offense, there is more there to cultivate.

"I am excited we are making some plays. We had some good series yesterday and then just didn't seem to have the same intensity today. You can never go through the motions," he stated. "It takes 11 guys and sometimes I don't think they understand that, especially in the middle of the OL with guys who have never played much before."

Jeremiah Masoli

One offensive player, however, did stand out to Nutt - Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli.

"He made some plays today and he made them when we needed them," Nutt noted. "We'd have two or three bad plays and then he'd step up and make a play. Two or three more bad ones, and here he'd come again. That's encouraging."

Masoli's comfort level on Thursday was brought about by one factor, Nutt believes.

"Experience. He's got it. Things went bad for a couple of plays due to some missed assignments and he just moved right in calmly and said let's go guys," Nutt stated.

Nutt was also pleased, to a point, with several of the receivers.

"Markeith Summers, Jesse Grandy, Melvin Harris and Lionel Breaux all made big plays and (TE) Ferbia Allen is coming on," said Houston. "We just have to be able to keep the weight on Ferbia. I'd love to have his problem - eat four or five times a day, all he wants, and still can't gain weight. It's amazing. We're feeding him real, real good."

The Rebs welcomed newcomer Bryon Bennett, who was cleared earlier today.

"It was good to see Bryon out here. Of course, he has to go a couple of days in shorts and no pads - acclimation, so he won't scrimmage tomorrow night," said Nutt. "But he did get the gassers in at the end of practice and got a welcome to Division I football. He's behind, but we'll give him a crash course and keep an eye open because he's a big body."

Saturday's practice will be in the stadium and will start at 5:30. The actual scrimmage portion is set to start around 6:10 p.m. Nutt and his coaches have a plan for how they will split up snaps.

Nathan Stanley

"We'll have three groups and each group will get 10 plays per set, with three sets, so everyone will get plenty. Each of the QBs will get 10-15 plays with the first unit. If they are moving the ball, they stay on the field and finish the drive. If they go three-and-out, it will 'next.' We think this will give us a good picture," Nutt said.

Random Notes:

* Holding on placement snaps looks simple enough, but it's a quick action and it has to be extremely precise. And then there are the "quirks" of the different kickers. For instance, when Richie Contartesi places the ball down for Bryson Rose, he has to lean it toward him (Richie). For David Hankins, a slight lean toward himself. For Andrew Ritter, staright up and down. Not a huge deal, but not as easy as some might think. It's certainly not something you can take for granted. Many games have been lost to a screwed up hold on placements.

* OLB Mike Marry (hamstring) dressed out today but was limited in what he did. . . . CB Cliff Coleman (ankle) is still in a boot and still out. . . There have been no other injuries - knock on wood - thus far that we have detected.

* Last year, Alex Williams came in as a freshman at defensive end, broke his leg and missed the season. When he came back for spring training, he was moved to outside linebacker. Today, he was moved back to defensive end on the weak side (rush end). Now that he has gained 15-20 pounds, the coaches think he may be better-suited for DE.

* The search for a sixth linebacker is ongoing. For now, it appears journeyman Brandon Sanders and true freshman Clarence Jackson, with Jackson probably holding a slight edge, are the main candidates.

Clarence Jackson

Jackson, as we reported yesterday, is now around 235 pounds and he has good movement. Speed will not be an issue with him from what we have seen.

* DE Jason Jones still does all his drills with the DL, but he's also been working at MLB in team (11-on-11) drills. Tyrone Nix is obviously looking for depth and is trying to mix and match. Before Marry went down, Nix was using him some in the middle and working with D.T. Shackelford both in the middle and outside.

* Punter Tyler Campbell, like the offense, has had a case of the up-and-downs, but today he was up, way up. Tyler boomed nearly every punt today, most over 50 yards. Good to see. Now, the hope is that he can do the same in Saturday's scrimmage.

* For the first time this fall, the Rebels worked on a kickoff drills. Ritter knocked his first kick through the end zone and Hankins drilled both his KOs into the end zone a couple of yards deep.

* In another personnel move, Safety Terrell Grant ran some drills with the linebackers. Apparently, for now, he's part of the search for another reliable LB as well.

* All one-on-one and 7-on-7 passing drills today were done in the Red Zone. The defense, with a smaller amount of turf to cover, rose to the occasion. The DBs were able to create smaller windows for the QBs to throw in and they did not give up much.

* Some highlights of team drills. . . . WR Melvin Harris continues to hold on to the ball and each day so far he has caught a bomb. Harris, who has "Cinco" marked on his towel hanging from his pants, needs to keep producing . . . TB Jeff Scott made 10-yards on one play where most backs would have gotten nothing. How? Pure speed. . .QB Randall Mackey continues to impress with his quick release and accuracy. On one play, he was rolling left and threw back across his body to Jesse Grandy, crossing the field, for a 40 yard gain on a perfect strike. . . . Backup CB Julian Whitehead was around the ball all day in pass scale and team drills. He had a chance for at least three picks but couldn't hang on to the ball. Then, finally, he got an interception on an underthrown ball on a deep route. He was due. . . . On back-to-back plays, Masoli produced big plays. On the first one, he bought some time in the pocket by sidestepping a rush and then threw deep to Grandy for a long score. On the next, the Rebs ran an option and he kept for a long score. Bye, bye, see you later . . Nathan Stanley also had a sparkling play. Feeling blitz and waiting until the last second to unload the ball, he found Ja-Mes Logan on a crossing route for 25 yards. . . Although the offense was not consistent, as Nutt said, they still made some plays. . . WR Korvic Neat may well become a part of the option game as the pitch man. The coaches are trying to get speed on the corners and Neat is one of the team's fastest offensive players.




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