Spring Practice Report 04.09: RBs Shine In Scrimmage

Enrique Davis

April 9, 2011

OXFORD, Miss. – On the hottest day of spring football drills, the Ole Miss running backs provided the highlights against a banged-up defense Saturday in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in the second full-scale scrimmage of the spring.

Senior running back Enrique Davis opened the action in impressive fashion, blasting through the line for a 52-yard touchdown run. The Lynn Haven, Fla., native later added a 20-yard score.

“(Davis) and Devin Thomas looked outstanding,” said Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt. “They ran hard, ran with their eyes and were physical.”

Thomas, a junior back from San Antonio, broke free for several long runs and capped an early drive with a one-yard TD push.

“Devin is going to have a role,” Nutt said. “He is perfect. It’s ‘yes sir, no sir,’ and he is a 4.0 student. He never says one word other than ‘how can I help the team.’ What an attitude and what an example. He is a little quicker than you think he is. Good first move. He knows all of the protections and catches the ball. He is going to help us.”

Other highlights included a 55-yard touchdown grab by freshman receiver Vincent Sanders from junior quarterback Nathan Stanley, and sophomore WR Ja-Mes Logan hauled in an eight-yard scoring strike from junior QB Zack Stoudt.

However, Stanley was also intercepted for a 35-yard TD return by junior linebacker Rudy Wilson, while Stoudt surrendered a 65-yard pick-six by sophomore LB Clarence Jackson.

Overall, Nutt said the team is a “little behind” where he would like it at this point in the spring but sees progress.

“We have to keep getting better,” said Nutt. “We have to tackle better. We have to execute better. There were times we looked like a team, but far from being a four-quarter, all-out executing team. We have to be more consistent.

“The receivers caught the ball, but there are still some key drops. I thought our protection was a little bit better today. We’re still giving up some sacks, but that was better. We didn’t have a ball on the ground from a (center-quarterback exchange) so that was really good.”

Nutt noted the defense had “four or five starters on the sidelines” but also said there were too many running lanes.

“I just thought we were soft at times on defense,” he said. “As far as running, there were some holes there that normally should be clogged up a little better. I know they were tired and the heat got on them. We have a good week to make corrections and get better.”

After a Sunday off from action, the final week of spring practice kicks off Monday 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.

Next Saturday, the Rebels will wrap up spring drills with the BancorpSouth Grove Bowl, April 16 at 1 p.m. at Vaught Hemingway Stadium/ Hollingsworth Field. Tickets are $10 general admission, $40 for the southzone club level and free for Ole Miss students, faculty and staff. All proceeds benefit the M-Club's J.W. "Wobble" Davidson Scholarship Fund.

Tickets are available by calling 662-915-7167 or visiting the athletics ticket office in Tad Smith Coliseum 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. On gameday, tickets are available in The Grove and at the ticket office on All-American Drive, next to the Starnes Athletics Center.

That Saturday will also include an awards ceremony and panel discussion at 11 a.m. with several former Rebel standouts from the NFL ranks, including Mike  Wallace and BenJarvus  Green-Ellis.

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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