Spring Practice Report: 04.12
April 12, 2011
OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss football program suffered a key loss but spring drills continued Tuesday, as the Rebels draw closer to Saturday’s BancorpSouth Grove Bowl.
With more than 100 faculty and staff on hand as part of the team’s annual appreciation day, the players trained for 1:45 under sunny skies on the practice fields, and head coach Houston Nutt was pleased with their enthusiasm.
“They zipped around,” he said. “They practiced really hard, focused hard and really got some things done.”
Monday’s practice saw junior linebacker D.T. Shackelford exit early with an injury, and the team’s physicians confirmed today that he suffered a torn right ACL. The Decatur, Ala., native expects to undergo surgery within the next two weeks, at which point the anticipated recovery time is six to eight months.
“He is a tremendous leader, and he will continue to be so,” Nutt said. “It hurts a lot. He is so good. He is smart. With his experience, he just took over from January on. We need someone to step in that slot. But the good thing is he will be around. Just like when he is not in the game, he is on the sideline coaching and encouraging.
“He was very discouraged, but he has such a strong family and a lot of faith. He knows he will back, and that’s one thing you can count on.”
Shackelford’s injury provides more opportunities for several young players in the linebacking corps. Among those, Nutt noted he was proud of the play of Mike Marry, Clarence Jackson and Ralph Williams on Tuesday.
Overall, Nutt said a number of young back-ups and incoming freshmen are going to have a shot at stepping into prominent roles.
“In this game, you are always a play away,” he said. “Sometimes players don’t believe that.
“We’re at a point in our program where it’s hard for us to say “next” (player up). We’re not quite there yet, so we’re going to have to depend on some freshmen coming in. You’d love to redshirt them, but they’re going to have to play.”
Ole Miss takes Wednesday off before the final three days of spring drills start on Thursday.
After the team’s 4:05 p.m. practice, the Rebels will attend the 22nd annual Chucky Mullins Courage Award banquet at 7 p.m. at the Indoor Practice Facility. Fans are encouraged to join them, and tickets are available by visiting the UM Box Office in the Student Union location, calling 662-915-7411 or ordering online at www.olemiss.edu/depts/tickets.
It was announced earlier in the day that the field for the Chucky Mullins Courage Award has been expanded to include both juniors and seniors. The award also takes on renewed excitement, as the recipient will wear Mullins’ No. 38 jersey for the first time since the number’s retirement in 2006.
On 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.
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