BY PARRISH ALFORD
OXFORD – The accuracy of quarterback Jevan Snead is evident, as is the hustle on defense.
What Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt wanted to see Friday was greater intensity in both departments. He was pleased with the results in a two-hour indoor workout leading up to today's public scrimmage (11:30 a.m., Vaught-Hemingway Stadium).
Defensive end Greg Hardy ran with the first team for the first time. A returning All-SEC player, Hardy is part of the intensity equation.
“He's coming on. We just want to make sure that he stays steady,” Nutt said. “He's been up and down, up and down. We need him to be consistent.”
Hardy had 64 tackles and 10 sacks last season in spite of missing time with various suspensions.
Nutt believes he's further addressed the intensity issue on defense with the move of running back Jeremy Magee and wide receiver Marshay Green to cornerback. Green was the team's third-leading receiver last year with 31 catches for 260 yards.
The move gives depth at a position where Nutt felt it was lacking.
Receiver was already one of the Rebels' deepest positions, and Nutt doesn't believe the move of Magee, who sat out last season after transferring from UCLA, will hurt the depth at running back. That's especially true with receiver Dexter McCluster getting more carries out of the backfield.
Junior Cordera Eason continues to run first team at running back. He had a mixed bag of results Friday, showing his power by breaking a tackle of Allen Walker in a one-on-one drill but also fumbling during a brief scrimmage later in the workout.
Ball-protection has not been a problem for Eason, Nutt said. Friday's fumble was the result of trying to change arms in traffic.
Green and Magee showed they're adapting to change. Magee had an interception, and Green had a two-handed diving break-up of a pass intended for Mike Wallace.
The Rebels spent a lot of time working on draws and screens on offense Friday.
Nutt said his primary focus for today's scrimmage will be to take a long look at players who could step up and provide depth. He named cornerback Fon Ingram, linebacker Lamar Brumfield and defensive lineman Justin Sanders specifically.
“We want to raise the intensity,” Nutt said. “A lot of times our guys hit a period of just going through the motions. That's not how you play this game. We're getting better, but we have a ways to go.”