OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss’ spring football drills became a little more physical Monday afternoon, as the Rebels worked out in full pads for the first time in day three of training. The team also held its first practice outdoors.
The Rebels labored for two and half hours under sunny skies on the practice fields, and worked in position groups before some situational scrimmaging at the end. Head coach Houston Nutt said the tempo took a turn for the worse as the players put on the pads.
"We were really fast the first two days in shorts. Today was a little bit like we were running in mud," Nutt said. "It was the first time to put the pads on in a long time. We had some physical middle drills and inside runs. It was a good little start, but we have to get better. There were too many missed assignments, offsides, illegal procedure, dropped balls. We can’t do it. We have to get a little bit tougher, and we have to get better Wednesday."
Defensively, Nutt noted some strong play from end Kentrell Lockett and linebacker Jonathan Cornell, as well as the safeties.
"Kendrick Lewis and Johnny Brown had the good winter workouts," said Nutt. "They’ve been physical and didn’t slow down."
With the loss of offensive linemen Michael Oher and Maurice Miller, the Rebels must replace two starters on the left side of the line, and Nutt is seeing improvement from the candidates."
We’re getting better," he said. "Bradley Sowell is making some strides. Rishaw Johnson was pretty physical today. I’m anxious to watch this film and see just how good he did. I was excited, because usually the first drills, it’s overwhelming because the defense is usually ahead and in the backfield. But they had a few plays where they at least came out and made a few creases."
Nutt also saw some positives from the backups along the offensive front, as the team looks to build depth this spring.
"Brandon Green is really our utility guy," Nutt said. "He can go from center to left guard to right guard. He is really important. Mark Jean-Louis is really helping us at center. That was really a good move for us. He is a strong body that doesn’t get pushed around in there. Logan Clair has got to keep coming. But right now, everything is new. The terminology is new, but they’re getting better."
Ole Miss resumes practice on Wednesday with the time tentatively set for 3:50 p.m. Spring football drills are open to the public, but fans are asked to remain in the designated area, outside the red line, and are not allowed between the practice fields. Use of cellular phones and cameras are prohibited for fans at practice.
Courtesy of the University of Mississippi Athletics.