March 25, 2008

Rebels get back to work

Ole Miss returned to the practice fields after a two-day break, and new Rebel head coach Houston Nutt put his team through more than two hours of intense work.
"We feel like we got some things done, got some things corrected and we're going to try to do it again tomorrow," Nutt said. "We're going to try to do it better and do it faster."

The Rebels will practice again Wednesday at 4 and then Friday at 3:10 before scrimmaging sometime Saturday.

"We're still being very physical out here in practice in the middle drills and the one-on-ones and all that, with a lot of teaching," Nutt said. "I like when we put it down, we put it down and really play the game where it doesn't become boring. I like it to be exciting, to be fun and play with a very, very fast twitch and a speed of the game. That's what you're trying to get, so hopefully Saturday we'll be much better than we were the first Saturday."

Nutt and his coaching staff have been emphasizing the mental aspects of the transition from old systems to new ones, including new calls and new signals from the sideline. That was worked on again Tuesday.

They've been doing a good job of learning it, taking it home with them and they seem excited about it," Nutt said. "They've done a good job just with the transition of it. It's new words, a new numbering system and all that. We'll have all this spring, all of the next 29 or 30 practices next fall and hopefully, we'll have it."

INTERESTED OBSERVER: Northwest Mississippi Community College linebacker and Ole Miss signee Patrick Trahan was at practice Tuesday, watching his future mates work. Trahan was reminded on several occasions by passers-by to focus on his academics in Senatobia. Nutt said the former Auburn standout should factor into the equation at linebacker quickly, provided he takes care of business in the classroom.

"I was excited when I saw him on the field today," Nutt said. "I hope he's out here. He's athletic, but again, he's got some work to do in school and hopefully he'll finish strong and he'll be competing.

"I good about him so far and his work ethic so far, from what I'm hearing."

CORNER MARKET: Sophomore Fon Ingram has made the move from safety to cornerback. He spent time Tuesday working with both the starting offense and the second unit.

"I think it's (good) for me," Ingram said. "I wasn't getting too much playing time at safety anyway. I had Jamarca (Sanford), Johnny (Brown) and Kendrick (Lewis) in front of me, so it was pretty hard for me to get a lot of playing time on the field. I was busting my behind off."

The Ole Miss coaches noticed. They called Ingram in and asked him to move to cornerback, where the Rebels are scary thin.

"I didn't have any problem as long as I was getting ready to play," Ingram said. "They gave me an opportunity and I'm capitalizing on it."

Ingram played linebacker and running back at Atlanta's McNair High School.

"I say corner is easier than safety," Ingram said. "It's better alignment. I can handle it, but corner is basically man (coverage). …I'm glad they did it (now), so I can be ahead of everybody else. I know the basics. I'm out there playing with the ones, getting reps with the twos and I'm going to capitalize on it. Hopefully, I'm putting it in their mind that I'm a hard-working player who wants to play."
REBEL RUMBLINGS: OT John Jerry was back in full gear Tuesday after missing work last week with an illness. Jerry was working with the starting offense at right tackle. …WR Marshay Green was at practice, dressed in a pair of blue shorts and a gray St. Louis Cardinals sweatshirt ( note: Being a Chicago Cubs fan, I was extremely disappointed in Green's choice of apparel; he and I will need to discuss that.) Green has been sidelined by a staph infection. There is no timetable for his return. …DE Kentrell Lockett continues to push for major playing time. Lockett's pass-rushing skills are becoming quite obvious. …Speaking of making a move, DT Ted Laurent could be a candidate for All-SEC honors next season. The big Georgian is practically immovable during inside drills and he too has been a constant presence in the offensive backfield. …Freshman DT Justin Sanders had his best day of work yet, drawing praise from DL coach Tracy Rocker, who has been urging Sanders to think less and play more. On Tuesday, he appeared to do just that. …QB Jevan Snead had a big day as well. The wind was affecting deep balls, but Snead's strong arm was obvious Tuesday. He was extremely accurate on intermediate routes and he through two perfect wheel route passes, one to Cordera Eason and another to Dexter McCluster. …Senior wide receiver Chris Adams was at practice but wearing shorts.

FACES IN THE CROWD: In addition to Trahan, Saskatchewan Roughriders general manager Eric Tillman was at practice Tuesday. Tillman is good friends with Ole Miss offensive coordinator Kent Austin, who came to Oxford after leading the Roughriders to the Grey Cup championship in the Canadian Football League last season.

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