By Parrish Alford | Daily Journal
OXFORD – Ole Miss players, Zack Stoudt among them, did not know who the starting quarterback would be when they met with media before noon on Monday.
Roughly two hours later Rebels coach Houston Nutt publicly announced Stoudt as his starter for Saturday’s 5 p.m., kick against Southern Illinois.
Players’ comments, though, indicate a great deal of support for Stoudt, particularly from the standpoint of leadership. Stoudt has his teammates’ attention in the huddle.
“You could tell when people started getting anxious and everything, he came in and settled everybody down,” center A.J. Hawkins said. “Sometimes even cracked a smile in the huddle letting everybody know he had it all under control. It was real good seeing his leadership like that.”
Stoudt said he knew he would get a chance to play against BYU, but he didn’t know for how long.
“I knew because we’ve had this big quarterback battle that’s been going on for a long time that I needed to make the best of my opportunity,” said Stoudt, a Dublin, Ohio, native whose father, Cliff Stoudt, played in the NFL – primarily as Terry Bradshaw’s backup in Pittsburgh.
Stoudt played at Iowa Western Community College last year.
When his time came, he had every intention of taking charge.
“I know those guys would have completely given up on me if I ran in for that first play and called the play timidly. I’m playing for those guys. I just tried to be what they wanted me to be,” he said.
Shuffle at rB
The updated Ole Miss depth chart, without Brandon Bolden, lists the injured Enrique Davis as the starter at running back.
“I’m hopeful, but he won’t practice this week. That’s what’s difficult. My experience says that when you don’t practice it is hard to play,” Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt said.
Davis, also a senior, has been Bolden’s backup the last two seasons. He sustained a hyper-extended knee against BYU.
Nutt said Bolden won’t wear a cast but “will be in a walking boot for at least a couple of weeks. I don’t know after that.”
According to the depth chart, Davis or sophomore Jeff Scott will be the starter with fourth-year junior Devin Thomas as the top substitute.
Nutt said he would work sophomore wide receiver Korvic Neat and freshmen defensive backs Chief Brown and Cody Prewitt with the running backs this week.
Neat signed as a running back and moved to wide receiver last season.
Lockett enjoys return
BYU was the first game back from major knee surgery for defensive end Kentrell Lockett, a preseason All-SEC choice.
He said he had no problem with the knee.
“None. Not at all. I felt good,” he said.
Still, there was a feeling of finding his way again, even for a sixth-year senior.
“He got 49 snaps, which was actually more than we thought,” Nutt said. “The more he got into the game, the better he got. As the game went along, he just started feeling confidence in his leg and got into the flow, especially after the second quarter.
“We need him, and I look for him to continually get better.”
Lockett is the SEC’s career leader among active players with 23.5 tackles for loss. He had two tackles and no tackles for loss against BYU.