Rebels’ players remain confident

By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Ole Miss players disagree with their athletics director regarding their passion, and believe they have the plan for turning the corner.
Ultimately, it’s about execution, they say.
Ole Miss AD Pete Boone met with Rebels coach Houston Nutt on Sunday and told Nutt he wanted to see more emotion from the players.
“I feel like every time we go out there we try to bring enough passion to the game as far as defensive-wise. That’s what we do, and we try to extend to everybody,” defensive end Gerald Rivers said.
Rivers says players have been coached and know what to do, and it’s up to players, whether offensively or defensively, to win their individual matchups and make plays.
“Personally, I think it’s execution. Guys have to execute the plays that are put out there. We have to do what they ask, and everything will go right,” he said.
Running back Brandon Bolden agreed.
“I’ve seen the passion there. Everybody talks about how they don’t want last season to come back again. It’s just a matter of us getting out there and taking that passion to the field. Everybody wants the same thing, and we have to make sure everybody is on the same page.”
It will get better
Backup center Evan Swindall comes from a coaching family and says outside pressure when things are going bad is just an occupational hazard. He knows Nutt is feeling it right now.
Swindall believes things will get better and points to Nutt’s first season as Ole Miss coach to support his argument.
“It makes me want to play harder. My dad was a coach. When something like this happens you have to band together. I don’t worry about him at all, because I think we’re going to be fine.
“This happened what, three years ago, and we upset Florida? Stuff like that happens. It’s life. It’s going to get better,” he said.
Mackey will play
In one of the few questions more specific to the daily grind, Nutt said backup quarterback Randall Mackey will practice this week and will play against Georgia on Saturday.
Mackey, the run-oriented quarterback in the Rebels’ two-QB system, left the Vanderbilt game in the fourth quarter with what was believed to be a thigh bruise. That was confirmed Sunday.
There is no quarterback controversy, however. Zack Stoudt remains the starter after a five-interception performance in the loss.
Not all the interceptions were Stoudt’s fault, Nutt said, and Stoudt was grateful for the support.
“Yeah, it means a lot to have Coach Nutt backing me,” he said.
Stoudt is eager to see improvement on offense and to see the Rebels put some wins under their belt.
“It’s not OK to lose. I couldn’t sleep at all last night or Saturday. I’m not OK with that. We as players need to realize that, wake up and start making some plays,” he said.
parrish.alford@journalinc.com