Football resumes tonight

Spring football resumes tonight with an 8 p.m. practice start.

The thinking with the late start is to give the team as much time away as possible for its Easter break. The out-of-state guys will be able to use today as a travel day rather than having to get back on Sunday.

Here’s this from Denzel Nkemdiche’s Twitter account: “Much needed relaxing weekend ! But so excited to be back at it ! That steady hustle . Must love it !!!!!”

One of the most interesting story lines this spring has been the return of D.T. Shackelford. Realistically it’s hard to expect too much from a guy who’s been away from the game for two years.

The word from Shackelford — coming off two major knee surgeries after a torn ACL in the spring of 2011 — and his teammates and coaches right now is that he has no issues physically. Shackelford and Hugh Freeze say his biggest challenge this spring is learning a new defense since he wasn’t a part of that process a year ago.

It sounds like positive news for a talented and emotional player when you really didn’t know what the spring might be like for Shackelford. And you still at this point don’t know what speed of the game will look like for him. You won’t really be able to judge Shackelford’s progress and his ability to help this team until he plays in a game.

If his physical comeback is truly where he believes it is, and if he adapts to the speed of the game, he’ll be a really big pick-up for the Ole Miss defense providing starter-level quality when he comes into the game. If he’s the Shackelford of two years ago maybe he wins a job. It’s still just too early to tell.

Much has been made of Shackelford as an emotional leader, and that’s all very true. But players follow other players who make plays, and if Shackelford can get on the field and do that, he’ll contribute much more as both a playmaker and a leader.

It’s still too early to know how D.T. Shackelford fits in, but there’s a cautious optimism about his comeback.

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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  • PA, has there been any discussion about DT seeking a 6th year from the NCAA?

  • Parrish Alford

    I haven’t heard that but will ask. I’m not sure he would want that. He’s very intelligent and has a future mapped out that includes a doctorate when he finishes grad school. What’s trying to do with a comeback after two years away is rare. If he’s truly as healed physically as he says he can be a big contributor. Not everyone comes back the same after one year away — remember Kentrell Lockett — much less two.

    • That’s why I thought that he might want an additiona year to “get his legs back under him,” no pun intended. That is if he’s wanting to “make it in the league.”

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