By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – The last full-pads spring football workout for Ole Miss, prior to Saturday’s intra-squad scrimmage, left Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt smiling about his offense.
And thinking that offense may need to convert some fourth downs if his kicking game doesn’t improve.
The Rebels conclude spring drills Saturday at 1 p.m., with the Grove Bowl at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The scrimmage will be televised by CSS.
“We have a long way to go on offense, but I like where we are. It’s better than what I thought it would be. The first day we couldn’t push a bunch of pillows back,” Nutt said after Thursday’s workout.
He cited junior left tackle Bradley Sowell as the leader on a line that has shown improvement across the board.
Good blocking was evident in the run game Thursday as tailback Enrique Davis broke through at the line and out-ran the defense to the end zone.
Davis is a straight-ahead runner, but the two shiftier backs, Derrick Herman and Korvic Neat, had a good day at practice too.
Neat scored on a long touchdown run, and Herman, a converted defensive back in his first spring on offense, showed improvement in bouncing left or right to daylight when the initial hole was not there.
Lateral movement and elusiveness were a big part of the Rebels’ run game last year with Dexter McCluster, but it’s not the style of the top three backs Brandon Bolden, Davis and Rodney Scott.
“Those guys (Neat and Herman) are very very quick, and they’re getting a better feel for their blocking schemes, starting to see things now,” Nutt said.
Kicker Bryson Rose, the leading candidate to replace All-SEC performer Joshua Shene, did not have a good day, nor did his competition, David Hankins. Both missed multiple kicks as the Rebels worked different angles from 35 yards out.
“We’ve had a really good spring, and they’ve done an excellent job of listening and learning,” Nutt said. “We’ll kick those kickers again tomorrow. They’ve got to get better. We’ve got to have three points when we get inside that 30-yard line, and right now it’s not been very consistent.”
Contact Parrish Alford at 678-1600