August 5, 2008

Receivers get redemption on Day Two

Coaches love clichés. That doesn't mean they're not based in truth.

Here's one, courtesy of Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt: "The film just doesn't lie. It shows."

On Monday night and Tuesday morning, the film Nutt referenced revealed that Ole Miss' vaunted wide receiver corps underachieved on the first day of fall camp.

"We talked ugly to them last night and this morning," Nutt said. "They responded though. They responded and made some really outstanding catches today. They came back."

Markeith Summers, Dexter McCluster and Jacarious Lucas all had big plays in skeleton drills, with Summers' diving catch drawing raucous cheers from his teammates and offensive coaches.

Ole Miss wrapped up a busy second day of fall camp Tuesday with another 2-hour, 15-minute workout on the practice fields, a practice that saw the offense control skeleton drills and the defense respond in the team (11-on-11 competition).

"I thought our offensive line protected better today," Nutt said. "(Ole Miss defensive coordinator) Tyrone (Nix) is mixing some blitzes in there at times and they've got a lot of speed over there and boy, it was good that we picked up better. Tyrone jumped on us good yesterday. There was a lot of confusion. That's why we had the picks, the interceptions and the turnovers. Today, we didn't have that, so that was positive.

"At times, there were some really good things that happened today. We showed some fundamentals and then we go into that little dip and feel a little sorry for ourselves and then we spike it up a little bit. We're trying to get the consistency, but I'm really proud of the back-to-back practices. Now it's going to be we come out tomorrow and go in shoulder pads and be more physical and now it becomes the grind. Now we're going to find out who can fight through."

SEARCHING FOR LEADERS: The early focus of camp, Nutt said, has been on some of the more intangible aspects of team-building. A key area of emphasis Tuesday was leadership.

"We're asking them to lead, follow or get out of the way," Nutt said. "That's kind of been our theme for the day. They did a good job of that today. Overall, not bad."

Specifically, Nutt said seniors Jamarca Sanford, Michael Oher, Michael Wallace and Peria Jerry stepped up in that are Tuesday. Underclassmen Nutt singled out Tuesday were junior wide receiver Shay Hodge, sophomore quarterback Jevan Snead, [junior free safety db[Kendrick Lewis[/db] and junior cornerback Cassius Vaughn.

"We've got to have some more," Nutt said.

THREE-WAY BATTLE AT PUNTER: Nutt said the Rebels' kicking game was better Tuesday. Kicker Joshua Shene earned praise for his efforts, but Nutt said Ole Miss has to get its punters "quicker in getting the ball off and more consistent, but they were better than yesterday."

Rob Park, Justin Sparks and Bryan Powers are the candidates for the job, though none of the group appeared to get off any booming punts Tuesday.

REBEL RAMBLINGS: Free safety Johnny Brown practiced Tuesday, though he was encouraged not to push his hamstring. …Center Daverin Geralds worked with all three offensive units Tuesday and suffered some cramps late in the workout. Geralds got some treatment and returned before the end of the practice. …Kendrick Lewis had the defensive play of the day, stepping in front of a Jevan Snead pass and returning it for a touchdown. …Nutt said the Rebels' finished with the "baby brother of overtime" drill, one in which the team runs sprints and then is asked to execute near the goal line. "It gets you thinking," Nutt said, "whether it's going to be a quick snap count or on two. Because if they would've jumped, we would've backed it up another 25 yards. They had good concentration."


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