Spring Practice Report 04.04

Randall Mackey

April 4, 2011


OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss kicked off the second week of spring football practice Monday like it did the first, training indoors due to wet weather.

For the third time in their six practices this spring, the Rebels worked out in the Indoor Practice Facility, laboring for more than two hours in full pads on a stormy day in the Mid-South.

“Thank goodness for a nice indoor facility,” said Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt. “We got a lot of work done today and corrected a lot of things. I thought our guys came back with a tremendous attitude. We blocked better and caught the ball better, which we didn’t do very well Saturday.”

Nutt noted how the defense “continues to get quicker and faster.” After reviewing the film from Saturday’s scrimmage, he again singled linebacker D.T. Shackelford along with redshirt freshmen defensive linemen Carlton Martin and Bryon Bennett and their maturity.

Martin and Bennett are among several young tackles trying to fill the void left by four graduating seniors in the interior. Nutt has been pleased with the speed of his youthful defense this spring.

“I expected them to be very quick and work very hard,” he said. “The defensive line was losing all the experience, so I knew how hungry they would be. There is a lot of be said for playing fast. Even though sometimes they may hit the wrong gap, they’re doing it fast. If you’re going to make a mistake, do it at 100 mph.”

On offense, Nutt highlighted the play of tight end Ferbia Allen, running back Brandon Bolden and fullback H.R. Greer from Saturday’s scrimmage. Nutt said the quarterbacks had their good and bad moments.

“They’re thinking too much,” he said. “This is a good competitive situation. It makes them better. Like we told them, you guys determine the depth chart after the spring. It’s not us. It’s what we see and how you perform, what you do on the field.”

Among those in the QB battle is junior Randall Mackey, who redshirted in the fall after arriving on campus in August. The Bastrop, La., native was a JUCO All-America honoree in 2009 and East Mississippi Community College, and Nutt has been excited about his growth this spring.

“I’ve been very proud of him,” Nutt said. “The best thing we did was redshirt. And then on top of that, just the development so far that Coach (David) Lee has had with Randall, and then Randall’s extra work ethic.”

Ole Miss’ Tuesday practice is tentatively planned 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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