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November 10, 2010

Masoli's status improving, still uncertain

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OXFORD, Miss. -- Ole Miss quarterback Jeremiah Masoli practiced in a limited capacity Wednesday afternoon, though his status for the Rebels' Saturday date at Tennessee remains unclear.

Masoli suffered a concussion in the second quarter of Ole Miss' 43-21 win over Louisiana-Lafayette this past Saturday. Nathan Stanley replaced Masoli and played the rest of the game. Masoli did not practice Sunday and was limited Tuesday.

"He did a little bit more today," Ole Miss trainer Tim Mullins said. "There's still no contact. Symptoms are improving. Everything's looking a little better, but we just have to see where he is (Thursday)."

Mullins said Masoli was put through exertion tests twice Wednesday and will see how the former Oregon star responds on Thursday.

Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt said Masoli was also "a little sick" Wednesday "on top of everything else," adding that he's "still very hopeful, but we've got two things happening going and we're working them hard."

Nutt said Masoli did more than he did on Tuesday, but the Rebels (4-5 overall, 1-4 in the Southeastern Conference) are essentially installing two separate plans for Tennessee (3-6, 0-5). Saturday's game at Neyland Stadium will kick off at noon EST (11 a.m. CST). It will be nationally televised by CBS.

"I tell you what helped was last week," Nutt said, referring to the in-game transition from Masoli to Stanley under center. "That helped being out there with Nathan got a feel being out there for the first time since the first game. That helped. Now we've just added a few more things for him."

REBS EXPECT QUICKNESS FROM VOLS' DEFENSE: Ole Miss co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Mike Markuson said Wednesday the Rebels will have their hands full with a Tennessee defense that is "very athletic. They can run and they've been very disruptive. They slant. They twist. Their linebackers replace in protection, meaning they'll slant the front and they show up. You have to be very gap-conscious in everything you do. They're going to move and replace. They're very good at it."

Markuson said the installation of two separate game plans this week isn't a problem this late in the season.

"We're just going to do what we do," Markuson said. "I mean, the stuff we did last week, that was just natural recall. …I don't see it as a big problem. We've done enough where we know what we're going to do and what we can do. I think we're in good shape."

REBEL RUMBLINGS: Batesville (South Panola), Miss., four-star wide receiver/athlete Nick Brassell attended the second half of the Rebels' practice Wednesday. Brassell, who has given a verbal commitment to Mississippi State, has been a frequent visitor to Oxford for the past two years. …Ole Miss defensive end Gerald Rivers tweaked his ankle at practice Wednesday. He'll be further evaluated Thursday morning, Mullins said.


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