Wrapping up Media Monday at Ole Miss …
Among the themes of the day was the confidence question. In all forms of athletics it wanes when things are going bad, and at 1-3 things are not good right now.
Freshman Donte Moncrief described players' confidence as “sky high.” That's believable among the freshmen, many of whom are playing and contributing in big ways.
Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt used the words energy, enthusiasm and passion to describe the mindset of Ole Miss players. He said he liked what he saw in the Rebels' body language in Sunday's light workout following Saturday's 27-13 loss to Georgia.
But Nutt knows confidence and success go hand-in-hand.
“I think after talking to them, they're body language. I feel good about these guys. This is hard. You gain confidence by winning, having success. You keep anticipating and working to achieve that,” he said.
A number of the freshmen – not just Moncrief and Nick Brassell who have reached the end zone – are feeling good about themselves.
Nutt singled out defensive tackle Bryon Bennett, a redshirt freshmen, for his play against Georgia. Bennett got the start ahead of junior college transfer Uriah Grant, and both of them playe well against the Bulldogs. Bennett had three tackles, two tackles for loss. Grant had seven tackles and a half tackle for loss.
The biggest leap forward against Georgia came from freshman linebacker Serderius Bryant, who had eight tackles.
Bryant knows the response to the “speed of the game” question is supposed to be some level of reverence, but Bryant said, “I ain't going to lie. It felt like high school. I didn't want to tell anybody that, because I don't want them to think, 'He's trying to be cocky.' I was just out there having fun with the game. You play pretty good when you have fun.”
Not much news to report.
Nutt expects to have Enrique Davis this week. The senior tailback, Brandon Bolden's backup when all things are working, has been out since the BYU game.
Bolden himself is getting stronger. It's been apparent that Bolden has been playing at less than full strength, Nutt said.
Nutt said he expects a larger role for Brassell on both offense and defense.
He was asked about quarterback Barry Brunetti, who started against BYU, played most of the first half and hasn't played since.
Nutt predicted another opportunity and success for Brunetti, but he didn't offer specifics.
“I think he'll get another shot, another opportunity. You have to wait your time, and I think he knows that. He'll get his chance, I don't know when, but good things will happen for Barry.”