OXFORD – Ole Miss has a No. 1 quarterback as it prepares to open the 2010 season. It also has one that remains in wait-and-see mode.
The first depth chart of the season has Nathan Stanley as the starter, junior college transfer Randall Mackey as the backup and Oregon transfer Jeremiah Masoli as the question mark.
Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt had no news regarding ruling from the NCAA on the school’s request to waive the one-year residency rule for transfers.
“I don’t know when” the ruling may come, Nutt said. “I’m expecting either today, tomorrow, the next day at the latest.”
Until that time Masoli is allowed to practice, but his practice time has been reduced as Nutt prepares Stanley and Mackey to take the snaps.
Nutt did not speculate on how the NCAA might rule. If it does not grant the waiver request, Masoli would have to sit out the season.
He has a redshirt year available, so he would not lose his final year of eligibility.
Masoli’s mother, Linda Masoli, declined to comment on how her son might respond to an unfavorable NCAA ruling.
Masoli transferred to Ole Miss in July after he was dismissed from the Oregon team in June following a second run-in with law enforcement in a six-month span.
Masoli led the Ducks to a 20-6 record in two seasons as a starting quarterback.
While the quarterback picture is not completely settled, Stanley, a sophomore who’s taken meaningful snaps in only one game, is glad it’s partly settled. He’s excited to be at the top of the depth chart.
“I’m going into my third year, and it’s a great feeling to go in on Saturday and be the guy, the starter. I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “Whether he gets cleared or not, we know what we have to do and that’s go out and execute on Saturdays. If he gets cleared that’s great. He’ll help us out a lot. He’s a great player.”
– Tests have been run on senior defensive end Kentrell Lockett for a type of heart flutter he experienced during Saturday’s practice.
Lockett felt a similar racing heart a couple of years ago. Nutt said he’s being observed as a precautionary measure. He said he hopes to know more about Lockett’s condition today.
The return of Tig Barksdale
– Saturday afternoon’s game will mark the quick return of Darius “Tig” Barksdale to the Ole Miss campus.
The former South Panola star had high expectation for a career just down the road from home but was dismissed by Nutt prior to the start of camp.
Nutt said he helped Barksdale in the process of transferring to Jacksonville State.
“I wish nothing but the best for Tig. I have a special place in my heart for Tig and his family. They know that,” Nutt said.
Nutt was able to assist with Jacksonville State, because he’s had a long relationship with Jax State coach Jack Crowe, who hired him as wide receivers coach at Arkansas in 1990. Crowe was fired in 1992, and Nutt was named head coach at Murray State in 1993.
It’s unclear how much, if at all, Barksdale will play in the game. He is among a group of running backs with more experience, and Crowe has expressed concern over Barksdale’s conditioning.
Oh, what a feeling
– A number of receivers will be used in a playing rotation, but somebody has to be first on the depth chart.
For the season opener that’s redshirt sophomore Melvin Harris, who is ahead of senior Markeith Summers at split end.
Harris, who has struggled with foot injuries during his career, showed great consistency throughout August and was widely considered the surprise of camp.
“That was my goal to try and be a starter. It’s an overwhelming feeling. Coach told me one day and just said, ‘Keep it.’ That’s what I’m going to try and do from here on out,” Harris said.
Summers caught 17 passes last year, four for touchdowns, and is one of only two receivers back with any measurable experience. He missed some time in camp with a hamstring pull.
Contact Parrish Alford at 678-1600 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal