The eventual quarterback separation that has been discussed briefly over the last week looks like it is underway.During Saturday’s Meet the Rebels scrimmage at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium all three of Nathan Stanley, Jeremiah Masoli and Randall Mackey got what seems to be their last evenly-divided practice with the first team offense.
Following the scrimmage, Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt said that the time to start dividing repetitions with the first team has come and the Rebels can not afford to give three quarterbacks the same amount of snaps.
“You have to get down to two; you can’t continue to work with three,” he said. “You’re getting down to it. You’re down to that two-week period and you really have to start getting some reps and really zero in on the opponents coming up.”
All signs seem to be pointing to a two-quarterback system with Mackey as the odd man out.
While Stanley is a pure drop-back passer, both Masoli and Mackey possess similar skill sets so it wouldn’t make much sense to pair them together.
“The next two (Mackey and Masoli) I feel like you can put either one of those into the game,” Nutt said after mentioning his pleasure with Stanley’s 10-for-11 performance today. “I just want to evaluate the film real hard and we’ll make a decision come Tuesday.”
When asked, if Mackey could gets moved around — should he indeed be the No. 3 QB — Nutt said “We have to talk about it. He’s such a good athlete, but in my mind the guy is really a quarterback. He’s really a good quarterback. You could put him on the field for a couple plays at receiver, but I think he’s really a quarterback.”
Nutt also did not rule out redshirting Mackey, saying “it’s a possibility.”
BY THE NUMBERS: Masoli completed five of 10 passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns (22-yard pass to Lionel Breaux and a 76-yard strike to Melvin Harris) in the scrimmage, while Mackey was 3-for-8 for 72 yards and one touchdown (42-yard strike to Richie Contartesi). Stanley passed for 117 yards and also had a 25-yard touchdown run towards the end of practice when the team was working on red zone offense/defense. (Masoli also had a 61-yard pass to Breaux that was called back due to offensive pass interference).
STANDING OUT: As has been the case throughout camp, freshman running back Jeff Scott and Harris once again showed out during the scrimmage.
Not only did Harris catch what turned into a 76-yard score from Masoli, but he also pulled in an impressive ball thrown by Stanley from the offense’s 1-yard line that somehow found its way through the arms of Johnny Brown and Marcus Temple and into Harris’ hands for a 38-yard grab.
Scott, meanwhile, made the most of his carries and had a 20-yard touchdown run late in the scrimmage.
Nutt also mentioned redshirt freshman Charles Sawyer, sophomore linebacker D.T. Shackelford, junior cornerback Jarius Williams, freshman safety Brishen Mathews, sophomore receiver Jared Mitchell, redshirt freshman Ja-Mes Logan, freshman fullback Martez Eastland and freshman offensive lineman Jared Duke.
“You have some guys who are very, very young jumping in,” Nutt said, “and are probably going to contribute this year.”
Breaux, a senior receiver, has also shown he can be a solid contributor.
—Masoli 76-yard TD pass to Harris.
—Parker 1-yard TD run.
—Masoli 22-yard TD pass to Breaux.
—Mackey 42-yard TD pass to Contartesi.
—Korvic Neat 11-yard TD run.
—Stanley 25-yard TD run.
—Scott 20-yard TD run.
—Devin Thomas 1-yard TD run.
Ole Miss will have a regular practice on Sunday and will have Monday off due to the start of classes. (August 21, 2010)