Mississippi offensive line hears Nutt's message Print
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Thursday, 04 September 2008 13:15
NCAAF Headline News

 JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -The 10 knockdown blocks Mississippi's Michael Oher had against Memphis were impressive.
It's the 6-foot-5, 318-pound left tackle's sprint downfield to deliver a devastating block on a touchdown run, though, that shows why everyone's predicting Oher will be taken near the top of the NFL draft.
``It's a good look for me,'' Oher said. ``I know I have athletic ability to free up some of our skill players.''
Oher pulled from his left tackle position and sprinted free around the right end ahead of Dexter McCluster on a counter play late in the first quarter of a 41-24 win over the Tigers. McCluster, among the fastest players in the Southeastern Conference, couldn't gain ground on the free-sprinting Oher until the blocker cleared a helpless linebacker out of the way.
McCluster scored untouched from 32 yards out and Ole Miss began to pull away.
``He's a big guy that can move,'' Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt said. ``He's a big body and got out in front of Dexter and got an RBI block that put us in the end zone.''
It was a single moment in a single game, but it also was a statement. Ole Miss will be bringing the fight to the defense this year.
Defenders for No. 20 Wake Forest picked up on that message almost from the moment they turned on the game film and have an idea of what to expect Saturday when the Demon Deacons host the Rebels.
``Very physical, that's the first thing that jumped out at me on the screen,'' Wake Forest defensive lineman John Russell said. ``They've got a great offensive line, very physical, they've got great speed on the edge.''
The Rebels' performance was so impressive Wake Forest defensive tackles coach Ray McCartney said he would learn the name of Ole Miss offensive line coach Mike Markuson and seek him out before the game to shake his hand.
``Because he's got those guys playing,'' Russell said. ``And that's rare for coach Mac to give a compliment like that. So they're definitely going to be a tough nut to crack.''
Nutt began preaching about the need for more physical line play when he took over from fired coach Ed Orgeron last November. The first thing he did was change the blocking scheme.
While beefy - Oher, John Jerry and Maurice Miller all weigh over 315 pounds - and athletic, the group became passive last year as Orgeron tried to introduce a zone blocking scheme. Nutt told the group it was time to go back on the stampede.
``Zone, that's kind of like running side to side,'' Oher said. ``Coach Nutt, he's got more of a downhill offense in and things like that. You have to be physical in that offense and I think we're doing that.''
Along with Oher's double-digit knockdowns, Ole Miss got six apiece from Jerry and Daverin Geralds and four from Miller.
Nutt was pleased with the unit's performance. There were no penalties or fumbled snaps and few costly mistakes. But after 2 1/2 quarters, Nutt felt like the group began to stand around and watch the game.
It will take four quarters of effort to beat Wake Forest.
``We've got to do much, much better,'' Nutt said. ``They saw themselves on film and I think they realize they can improve.''
 

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