Spring Practice Report 04.02: First Scrimmage
April 2, 2011
OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt spoke highly of the defense in the first scrimmage of spring football drills Saturday at Vaught Hemingway Stadium.
The Rebels battled for more than 100 plays under sunny skies, and Nutt said the defense provided “some really crisp hits” in just the fifth practice of the spring.
“The defense really played with an attitude,” he said. “I thought D.T. Shackelford just led the way. His enthusiasm and passion is contagious.”
Nutt also praised the play of LB Joel Kight, DE Wayne Dorsey and DT Justin Smith in the front seven. From the secondary, Nutt was pleased with CB Charles Sawyer, CB Wesley Pendleton, CB Frank Crawford, S Ivan Nicholas and S Damien Jackson.
“You just saw a toughness, and that’s what we’ve been trying to emphasize,” Nutt said. “I was proud of that.”
Offensively, quarterback Barry Brunetti provided the first of two touchdowns on the day with a four-yard toss to WR Melvin Harris. WR Korvic Neat later hauled in a nine-yard TD strike from QB Randall Mackey, whom Nutt said “stood out” among the signal-callers. RB Brandon Bolden also lined up in the Wild Rebel and darted into the endzone from nine yards out, but the play was called back on penalty.
“I thought the quarterbacks each had their moments,” said Nutt. “I feel good about Brandon Bolden. Enrique Davis was a workhorse for us today. He is a physical running back. And of course, Jeff Scott shows the speed that we have to have. We just have to keep getting better.”
Overall, Nutt said the offense lacked consistency.
“We just couldn’t get 11 on each snap, and that was our problem,” he said. “When you don’t have 11, it’s hard to execute against a fast group. We have to get better. We know that.”
Led by a pair of All-SEC candidates in tackles Bradley Sowell and Bobby Massie, the Rebels return seven players that each started two or more games on the offensive line last year, and the coaching staff is looking to that group to be a strength for the team in the fall.
“We’re going to depend on those guys to really be leaders for us,” Nutt said. “But we’ve got to pick it up a notch. I think we can play better than we did today. This will be a good week for us. We’ll see our mistakes and work on it.
“All these guys are getting better, but they have to put it all together and be more consistent.”
Ole Miss returns to practice on Monday in what is tentatively set for 4:05 p.m. on the practice fields. Practices are open to the public, and daily times and locations will be updated on OleMissSports.com.
Fans must remain in the designated area. When the team practices outdoors, fans are not allowed between the practice fields.
Spring drills will culminate with the BancorpSouth Grove Bowl, April 16 at 1 p.m. at Vaught Hemingway Stadium/ Hollingsworth Field. That Saturday will also include an awards ceremony and panel discussion at 11 a.m. with several former Rebel standouts from the NFL ranks.
Other events surrounding Grove Bowl Week include the inaugural Rebels’ Choice Awards, Monday, April 11 at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for Performing Arts and the Chucky Mullins Courage Award Banquet, Thursday, April 14 at the Indoor Practice Facility. Tickets for both are available through the UM Box Office.
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