OXFORD – The fatigue that goes along with constantly pounding on your teammates is something Ole Miss is working through right now.
With game week just days away, Rebels coach Houston Nutt says his players are eager for a different routine.
“We’re really ready for game week, I can tell you that,” said Nutt after putting the Rebels through a nearly 21/2-hour workout Thursday. “We had good work, but after hitting each other for so long, we’re really ready to hit someone else.”
Several players not involved in the hitting Thursday may not be there to hit against BYU either. The Rebels and Cougars open the season here Sept. 3 at 3:45 p.m.
A long list of players with minor camp injuries have been back at work, but not all have. Junior receiver Melvin Harris (back) and junior defensive end Jason Jones (knee) still have not returned. Junior tight end Ferbia Allen also did not practice.
Harris practiced Wednesday but was in street clothes with lingering pain a day later. At 6-foot-6, Harris creates matchup problems in the secondary. He was the team’s second-leading receiver last year with 30 catches for 408 yards and three touchdowns.
“We’re just not counting on him now,” Nutt said. “We’d gone without him for a week. The guys who are out there are the ones you coach. If he comes back it’s a bonus.”
With Harris possibly out for BYU, the Rebels’ new depth at receiver will be put to the test early. Freshman Donte Moncrief will start if Harris doesn’t play.
Moncrief had a big scrimmage last Saturday with a 53-yard touchdown catch and a 35-yard touchdown run.
Nutt said the Rebels are “dead-legged” after another week of physical workouts, but he expects to see more bounce in their steps as the game draws closer.
“We haven’t backed off any, and they’re a little tired, a little hurt. They’ll have time to recover, and we’ll be a quicker team. We’ll chase the ball, and we’ll hit.”
Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal