By Ole Miss Media Relations
OXFORD – Ole Miss continued its preparations for the Sept. 3 football season opener against BYU with an intrasquad scrimmage in front of nearly 6,000 fans at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on Saturday evening.
An estimated 4,000 Ole Miss fans showed up at the Indoor Practice Field for the annual Meet the Rebels Day prior to the scrimmage.
A range of activities for fans of all ages included autographs by the Rebel players and coaches, poster and schedule card giveaways, merchandise for sale, interactive children’s activities and speeches by Head Coach Houston Nutt and other Ole Miss administrators.
The Rebels scrimmaged in full pads for almost two hours. The offense wore blue jerseys and the defense had on white, while quarterbacks and kickers wore red “non-contact” jerseys.
Nutt applauded the team’s effort and intensity throughout preseason camp and in Saturday’s scrimmage, and said there is still much improvement to be made.
The rushing attack was particularly successful during the scrimmage, with four of the team’s six touchdowns on the day coming from the ground game.
“We made some runs the last three days of practice,” Nutt said. “We made some good things happen with blocking and guys running, and a lot of it without Brandon (Bolden) and Jeff (Scott). I thought Devin Thomas did a really nice job for us today. The linemen are getting better.”
Thomas scored the first TD of the scrimmage with a 9-yard run up the middle and later added a 29-yard receiving score off a screen pass from Barry Brunetti.
Freshman receive Donte Moncrief also showed out during the scrimmage with impressive scores on a 35-yard reverse down left side and a fantastic 53-yard reception from Randall Mackey.
“He’s a special guy,” said Nutt of the Raleigh, Miss., native.
Nutt was high on the receiving corps as a whole, especially the freshmen.
“Since day one as a freshman, Tobias Singleton, Nick Brassell, T.J. Worthy, Collins Moore, Donte Moncrief – every one of these guys is very good. They have good hands, they compete and they’re explosive. They’re playmakers.”
Brunetti and Mackey each had a touchdown pass, and Nutt talked about the tough choice between those two and Zack Stoudt for the starting quarterback job.
“All three of our quarterbacks do some things well,” Nutt said. “All three of them are excellent. Each of them has strengths. You can put any one of the three in the game. (Offensive coordinator) David (Lee) feels the same way. That’s what makes it difficult, but I’m glad we’ve got them.”
Nutt added that he does not feel pressure to make a decision quickly and that the coaching staff is going to scrutinize and grade the film very hard.
Other players to score touchdowns in the scrimmage were Brandon Bolden on a 4-yard run up the middle out of the “Wild Rebel” formation and Philander Moore on a 24-yard run to the left.
The Rebel kickers, led by junior Bryson Rose, made all of their PATs and field goal attempts.