By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt says his team’s confidence isn’t a problem right now but acknowledges the need for success to keep players together.
Offensive coordinator David Lee addressed the confidence question after the Rebels’ 27-13 loss to Georgia and said he made it a point to encourage each player in the locker room before he left.
Freshman wide receiver Donte Moncrief says the Rebels’ confidence is still “sky high.”
Moncrief has produced the only two touchdowns the Ole Miss offense has scored against FBS level competition, one on a 47-yard pass from Zack Stoudt, the other on a 38-yard pass from Randall Mackey.
Ole Miss has scored only four touchdowns in three games against FBS foes. The other two belong to safety Charles Sawyer on a 96-yard interception return against BYU and to freshman Nick Brassell on an 81-yard punt return against Georgia.
Nutt uses the words “passion,” “energy” and “enthusiasm” when discussing his team’s frame of mind right now.
“After talking to them and watching their body language Sunday, I feel good about these guys, and I feel good about their confidence. You gain confidence with success, so this is hard. You have to keep building, knowing that it’s there, it’s coming. You keep anticipating, keep working to achieve that,” Nutt said.
Bryant enjoys big game
One player who experienced success against Georgia and was beaming with confidence Monday was Sanford, Fla., linebacker Serderius Bryant, another freshman.
Players experiencing SEC football for the first time often speak with awe of the speed of the game. Not Bryant.
“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,” he said.
In his most extensive playing time, Bryant had eight tackles, five of them solos.
“It was a dream come true. I always pictured myself playing against a team like Georgia or any team in the SEC. It felt great to get my feet wet a little bit and get ready for Fresno,” he said.
recruits remain positive
In spite of the early struggles, Nutt says he’s getting good feedback from his recruits.
Rivals.com currently rates an Ole Miss class with 10 verbal commits at No. 40, fifth in the SEC West.
“The ones I’ve talked to, they’ve been really good. The ones that are committed are very firm, staying with us, believe in us.” he said.
Nutt says he’s pointing to the playing time and success of his true freshmen to show prospects how much they could be getting on the field a year from now.
“What I’m saying to them is, ‘If you look at the ones that are playing, we’re not afraid to play a freshman. You’ve got a great opportunity. Hang in there with us.’ We’re getting a lot of good feedback, a lot of positive. What’s good is when they call you too, not only when you call them, they’re calling you. That’s a real sign of a relationship. They’re very very interested in Ole Miss and what we have going,” Nutt said.