Ole Miss Media Day

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Former Tigers highlight Ole Miss media day


By Angie Ledbetter

Ole Miss Head Coach Houston Nutt had good things to say about former South Panola players at the annual media day press conference Monday in the indoor practice team meeting room.

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“This is a great time of the year because it’s eat, sleep and football,” Nutt said.

Incoming freshman Nick Brassell will bring a great deal to the Rebel offense, according to Nutt.

“I really haven’t seen that speed since Mike Wallace,” he said. “First time he ran a post it was a blur. He knows how to separate.”

Nutt ran the gamut of what Brassell can do on any side of the ball.

 “To add to that, I’ve never seen a guy flip it and go play corner, intercepts balls, deflects balls, breaks on the ball and acts like he’s been there. It’s natural. Then he can do something in the return game.”

Then Nutt said what many players desire to hear from a coach, “He’s going to play a lot of football for us so you can go ahead and mark that down.”

Nutt continued, “He’s a special, special guy. Coach Lance Pogue has said that since first day that you’re going to really love his competitive spirit. That’s the first thing that jumps out at you is the way he competes and we saw that in camp since the tenth grade.

“He wants to run against the best,” Nutt added. “He wants to cover the best wide out and he wants to go against the best defensive back. He loves that winning spirit that he has. He looks good on both sides as a wide receiver and a defensive back. We’ll have to see how everybody else does to figure out if he can spend some time on defense. It’s a little premature on that yet.”

Nick “Big” Parker saw action in the 2010 Grove Bowl but was reshirted.

“Nick has had a lot on his plate,” Nutt said. “He has a child so we didn’t get to see him this summer very much because he had to work. He’s another guy that’s very, very tough and durable. I’m anxious to see how he does.

“When we get to the first scrimmage, I’ll know more about him,” Nutt added. “I was worried about his conditioning not being here with the team this summer but he looks pretty good for the first two days. You can tell he’s been doing something. We all know what he did in high school. This guy is solid as a rock, tough and very durable. There could be a role for him. He could play fullback or tailback as well.”

Taylor Rotenberry reported to campus last week.

“I’m excited about Taylor Rotenberry from South Panola and Charlie from Jackson,” Nutt said. “I think those two young guys are tough and hard nose guys. They love being here and being Ole Miss Rebels. To me that’s the first start.”

Parker said, “Summer is the summer. It was tough and I had to work hard to get through it. As far as the last two days of practice, it’s been hot but I’ve been out there working hard to get it. I’m excited to be able to get on the field now after being redshirted last year. At first I was disappointed but then after I looked at it, I understood why I was. It means a lot to me to have my former teammates over here with me now. Right now I’m just focusing on BYU, one game at a time.”

Rotenberry said, “To me it feels like a privilege to be here at Ole Miss. It’s hard to get to an SEC school so I feel blessed and God loves me and He’s put me here for a reason.”

Rotenberry said he has always been an Ole Miss fan and loves the atmosphere.

“The team builds around each other so it feels like you’re at home,” Rotenberry continued. “Everybody is on the same page. All I want to do is try. Right now we don’t know much but as a team we’ve just got to work with it and go.”

Knowing the system is not automatic but something to learn, said Rotenberry.

“I can tell you it’s been a big jump from high school to college especially the SEC but I’m going to adjust to it,” he said. “It’s a lot more than I expected. It’s faster and more powerful. There are four of us here that all grew up together playing ball. It’s like our family still coming together and it feels great.”

Brassell agreed with Rotenberry.

“It feels good to be at Ole Miss. It’s a new world. Summer went good but I was behind because I came the second term so it is kind of hard but I came in and just did what I had to.”

Brassell has made an impact on the coaches and the fans at Ole Miss early on.

“I came out full speed because I wanted to give them what they were looking for,” he said. “I didn’t think I would pick up things this quick but you have to learn fast. Making the transition from high school to college was something I just couldn’t think about. You just have to want it and then go out and do it. I have to get use to this environment and be humble now.”

As far as playing different positions, Brassell said he does not mind.

“I just see it as the coaches having a lot of trust in me to get out there and get the job done,” Brassell said. “I’m going to work hard and do what I know to do and anything I think I can do. I’m going to give Ole Miss everything I’ve got.”

Brassell said he likes having high school teammates on the team.

“We still have that chemistry going,” he said. “They know they’re going to give it their all and I know I’m going to do the same.”

Brassell said family was a big part of his life so he’s thrilled about being able to play in front of all of them.

 “It’s going to feel great for me to see them out there watching me play every Saturday.”

Ole Miss opens the season at home September 3, hosting BYU at 3:45 p.m. on ESPN.