Following Thursday’s practice Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt confirmed that offensive lineman Rishaw Johnson has been dismissed from the football team and backup linebacker Brandon Sanders has been suspended indefinitely for breaking team rules.
“It looks like permanently but I still have to further investigate. Right now they’re not on the trip and they’re not on the team,” Nutt said following the team’s practice.
The dismissal is Johnson’s third violation of team policy, having been suspended for the majority of the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
After playing in the team’s first five games last season, the 6-foot-4, 305-pound junior was suspended for the remainder of the season and did not participate in the team’s Cotton Bowl workouts.
Since then, Johnson, a Hammond, La., native, had worked his way back into the coaching staff’s good graces and was a starter against Jacksonville State last weekend.
STEPPING UP: With Johnson’s dismissal, sophomore Josh Tatum will start at right guard against Tulane on Saturday.
Should Tatum struggle, co-offensive coordinator Mike Markuson listed A.J. Hawkins, Patrick Junen, Mike Brown, Evan Swindall, Emmanuel McCray and Chris Gill as possible replacements.
Nutt had said he thought it might be too close to game time to move McCray from left guard to right guard, adding, “but we’ll see. We’re about to have a crash course coming up here in a few minutes.”
Of the aforementioned players, Hawkins started last week at center, while Tatum and McCray made their Ole Miss debuts last week against the Gamecocks.
A native of Suwanee, Ga., Sanders played in 12 games during his Ole Miss career, recording seven tackles in 11 games a year ago after redshirting as a freshman in 2008. Sanders played against JSU but did not register a tackle.
Filling in for Sanders at the SAM linebacker position behind starter Allen Walker will be freshman Mike Marry. (September 9, 2010)