Spring Practice Report 04.07

Mike Marry

April 7, 2011



OXFORD, Miss. - After a day off, Ole Miss returned to the practice fields with a "real physical practice" Thursday for two hours under sunny skies. The Rebels continued to train in full pads in the eighth practice of spring football drills.

"Each day we try to put down another day of work with another brick," said head coach Houston Nutt. "Sometimes it looks like we are running in mud. We're thinking a lot.

"The defense was playing very fast. D.T. Shackelford does such a good job of leading. He is very vocal, but he makes plays behind it."

Led by Shackelford, the linebackers are shaping to be a strength of the defense. Working out with the first unit is sophomore Mike Marry, who saw action in 10 games as a true freshman in the fall.

"He shows flashes of being a physical linebacker that can really help us," Nutt said. "There is a day or two where he is thinking too much and gets caught in there and blocked. But he can do it. Physically, that's what you are looking for with that frame."

That fast defense has been challenging the offensive line with a variety of blitzes and different looks. The Rebels have a lot of options along the line, although most only have one year of experience under their belt.

"I just know we have a chance to have a good offensive line, but we're not there yet," Nutt said. "(Tackles) Bradley Sowell and Bobby Massie have had a lot of snaps, but the other guys haven't had that much. They're still on that learning curve. They have to continue to get better and study the game and continue to be physical.

"There is nothing like having bodies in the trenches, and especially on the offensive line. Jared Duke, Patrick Junen and Chase Hughes, all of those guys are getting a lot of reps. They just have to keep coming and not get discouraged."

The Rebels have a light practice in shoulder pads and shorts set for Friday at 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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