A few items of interest from Houston Nutt's first in-season press conference. …
How long for Lockett? Nutt said he isn't sure how many plays he'll get out of senior defensive end Kentrell Lockett, who is on the mend from the torn ACL. Of course, he needs as many plays as he can get from Lockett, as the defense tries to mend from a terrible 2010.
Later in the day Lockett said he expects to play the whole game. His reasoning makes sense. He says the knee has started barking at times this month in the latter stages of practice. Practice routinely goes three hours. In a game he's going to get much more rest, particularly when the linemen are rotating. Lockett says he can go all out the whole time. We'll see.
More time on his hands: Having given the responsibility of play-calling to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach David Lee, Nutt has found more time to focus on other things. “I've had more time to spend on defense, to watch them in drills, to encourage them, pick them up, to be in more special teams meetings. When you're the play-caller your mind is always on this series and the series coming next. Now I'm able to let go, but I won't be bashful. If they want me to suggest a play, I'll be ready. I think I'll be able to manage the game better.”
Newcomers in key roles: The first depth chart of the year lists one freshman (WR Donte Moncrief), a DI transfer (QB Barry Brunetti) and three junior college transfers (S Aaron Garbutt, DT Uriah Grant, CB Wesley Pendleton) as starters. Eight other newcomers are listed on the two-deep roster.
Nutt said the newcomers have really raised the level of competition.
“They have that competitive spirit that you love. All these guys won a lot of games. They were not afraid to say, 'Hey, I'm coming to play,' especially the receivers.” I tell them, if we keep this group together, if they stay here four or five years, there will be special times at Ole Miss.”
Garbutt and Jackson: Much of the last days of camp Damien Jackson was running first team at Spur, junior college transfer Aaron Garbutt second team. Now Jackson has moved to free safety where 's listed second to Charles Sawyer, who recently moved from cornerback to safety. Nutt said Garbutt's combination of physical play and cover skills made him the best choice at Spur and that he liked Jackson better at safety, noting that's where Jackson's always played.
I'm guessing Jackson being listed No. 2 to Sawyer means Sawyer will still get plenty of snaps at corner. Sawyer says he's still playing lots of corner in practice.