Some odds and ends from Houston Nutt's “Welcome Back” presser …
Practice begins tomorrow at 4:30. The first eight practices are open to the public. Times are subject to change. Generally, Nutt will aim for an afternoon practice, but times may change to morning or evening depending on heat. Also, some practices that begin outdoors may conclude indoors.
Nutt praised strength and conditioning coach Don Decker for the players' physical shape going into August camp.
Linebacker Joel Kight and cornerback Marcus Temple, who were held out of spring practice, are 100 percent and ready to go, Nutt said. Kight has a slight knee injury after spring began. Temple was held out following sports hernia surgery.
Defensive end Kentrell Lockett, coming off ACL surgery, is “very close” to 100 percent. Nutt, though, will take a cautious approach with Lockett in an effort to make sure he's ready to go for the season. That doesn't mean Lockett will be held out of days of practice. It's more like Lockett will be held out of some drills within the practices. “Like if we were going to scrimmage 30 plays on a Saturday, he might only go 10-14,” Nutt said.
There's nothing new to report on running back Tim Simon, who sustained nerve damage when he tore knee ligaments against South Carolina in 2009. Nutt said Simon continues to work hard to return, but the nerve damage “complicates things, and we can't put him out there yet.”
Regarding his quarterbacks, Nutt said consistency was what gave Barry Brunetti a slight edge coming out of spring drills.
He's looking forward to the competition between Brunetti and Randall Mackey. There is no set date to name a starter, but he wants to name one and focus on that guy with the bulk of the reps going into the Sept. 3 opener against BYU.
Presently there is no plan to use the athletic Mackey at wide receiver or any other position if Mackey does not win the quarterback job.
“Right now we just don't see him as a wideout, not as another guy on the field,” Nutt said. “He could be on the field with another quarterback on special plays, but he's a quarterback. We'll keep him there and see how this plays out.”