By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Four full- or part-time Ole Miss starters, including team captain and star running back Brandon Bolden, have been suspended for Saturday’s game against No. 2 Alabama, Rebels coach Houston Nutt announced Thursday evening.
Wide receiver Philander Moore, center A.J. Hawkins and offensive lineman Alex Washington were suspended for one game along with Bolden for “breaking team rules,” Nutt said.
Nutt told media in attendance that he learned of the violations on Wednesday. Thursday’s practice was closed to media. Typically, the first 20 minutes of practice are open.
Moore, a first-year junior college transfer, has played in all five games and started the Georgia game at flanker. Washington, primarily a reserve this season, started the Fresno State game at left guard and has 10 starts for his career.
Hawkins has 16 career starts, 15 at center including each game this season. However, Hawkins had been challenged for the starting job the last two weeks by sophomore Evan Swindall, and Nutt said he had already made the decision to start Swindall against Alabama.
Bolden is 85 yards from passing Dou Innocent for fifth place on the Rebels’ career rushing list.
Back in shape
Against Fresno State he had seemingly worked his way into his best physical health since sustained a fractured ankle in the season opener against Brigham Young.
Thought he appeared healthy, Bolden carried just six times against Fresno State. He gained 43 yards and scored on touchdown runs of 21 and 12 yards, breaking two tackles on the latter before picking up a key block on the edge and getting to the end zone.
In Bolden’s absence sophomore Jeff Scott became the featured back. Scott carried 24 times for a career-high 138 yards and two touchdowns.
“It’s disappointing,” Nutt said.
Scott, senior Enrique Davis, himself recovering from an injury sustained against BYU, and junior Devin Thomas will be the Rebels’ primary backs against Alabama, which leads the nation in rushing defense with 39.83 yards per game allowed.