July 24, 2008
NOTEBOOK: Powe remains a hot topic
HOOVER, Ala. _ He hasn't played a down at Ole Miss yet, but former five-star recruit Jerrell Powe made noise again Thursday.
Powe, a defensive tackle from Waynesboro, Miss., who signed with Ole Miss three years ago but failed to qualify academically, is awaiting word from the Southeastern Conference and/or Ole Miss regarding his status for the upcoming football season.
"I hope so," Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt said when asked if Powe would ever play for the Rebels. "I don't know. We're still waiting, just like y'all. I'm anxious to see if this guy can play. I'm told he can."
Ole Miss defensive tackle Peria Jerry, appearing at SEC Media Days along with Nutt and offensive tackle Michael Oher, joked that if he had a dollar every time he was asked about Powe's status, "I'd be rich right now."
Jerry said Powe is "capable of doing a lot. Jerrell is a big guy and I've never seen a big guy move so fast. He's a load. He's in great shape. He's making all his times. He's talking. I think he could be a great thing for us."
SEC commissioner Mike Slive declined to comment on Powe's status when asked Wednesday.
ARKANSAS (NOT) ON HIS MIND: Nutt was asked repeatedly about his thoughts on the Rebels' Oct. 25 date at Arkansas, a date that will mark his return to the school he coached for the past 10 years. Nutt consistently downplayed the game, in large part because of its place in the latter part of the schedule.
"We have a lot of football before that game takes place," Nutt said. "The only thing on my mind right now is Memphis. That game has always been very tough and very close. I'm just really more focused on the very first game and getting our coaches ready. I had 10 great years working with great people. We won three titles and went (twice) to Atlanta. We had great times there so you can't help but think what it will be like from the visitor's side. But quickly, my mind goes back to Memphis."
Nutt was also asked about his thoughts on his successor at Arkansas, former Atlanta Falcons coach Bobby Petrino.
"I don't know Bobby that well," Nutt said. "I've seen his work from afar. I was really impressed with the run he made at Louisville and I know some of the coaches he coached with in Jacksonville. So there's respect there.
NUTT HAS HIGH PRAISE FOR COORDINATORS: Nutt lavished praise on offensive coordinator Kent Austin and defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix Thursday, praising Austin's ability to teach and Nix's ability to motivate.
"He's a tremendous teacher," Nutt said of Austin. "One of the things you don't see much anymore is the teaching of the fundamentals.
"(Nix) still looks like a linebacker and he gives it to his players. His teams play hard and with passion. They play the way he played -- all-out. You could see in the spring that our players were buying in. There was really a smooth transition and that credit goes to Tyrone."
SNEAD'S LAYOFF A CONCERN: Nutt has high hopes for starting quarterback Jevan Snead. However, Nutt said he does wonder how the layoff Snead was forced to endure when he transferred from Texas to Ole Miss will impact his play.
"He's highly intelligent," Nutt said. "He works extremely hard. I love his leadership. I love his decision-making. He has a strong arm and he has all the qualities. But he hasn't played in awhile. You hope he picks right off where he left off."
NUTT PLEASED WITH RECRUITING, RESPONSE: Nutt reiterated Thursday that he believes he'll be able to recruit successfully at Ole Miss. In fact, Nutt said, he's already proven that he can. The Ole Miss coach pointed to the class he signed in February after just two-plus months on the job.
"I love our location," Nutt said. "We have a lot of athletes, starting in Mississippi. Ratings don't matter. We're looking for character, speed and a difference-maker. It's how your coaches evaluate. I think that's key."
Nutt did admit that he expects the response he's getting on the recruiting trail to improve when and if he can guide the Rebels to some wins on the field.
"I think it's very important, but if you go back and look at the way we finished in recruiting, I think you'll see our freshman class is very good. Just about every one of them are qualified and ready to go. There are a lot of young men who are very athletic. I'm excited about where we are. I know we'll find 25 every year, good student-athletes who want to come to Ole Miss. Winning does nothing but elevate that. Naturally, you want to win. Winning solves everything and takes you to another level in recruiting."
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