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Monday, April 19, 2010
Reviewing Ole Miss' spring game

By staff

Ole Miss' Grove Bowl spring game was a best-against-the-rest format, and the first-team offense (Blue team) put up big numbers in a 49-35 win over the Red team.

The Red team was given seven points every quarter. What's more, it's worth noting that several of Ole Miss' top defensive players sat out the scrimmage.

Still, Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt liked what he saw from his quarterbacks. Sophomore Nathan Stanley was 11-of-16 for 166 yards and two touchdowns and put together consecutive scoring drives to open each half. Redshirt freshman Raymond Cotton was 5-of-7 for 178 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown to Jesse Grandy and a 61-yard touchdown to Melvin Harris.

The quarterbacks took snaps for both teams, and Cotton threw touchdowns for both the Red and the Blue. Stanley attempted two passes for the Red team, both interceptions.

The key for Cotton is that a partially torn labrum in his throwing shoulder gets better this summer. The plan is to put off surgery until after the season if he can stand the pain. And if he can, the Rebels may use both quarterbacks next season. Cotton is the more athletic of the two and can hurt teams rolling out, while Stanley is more of a pocket passer.

The other promising development offensively this spring for the Rebels was how well junior Enrique Davis ran the ball. He came to Ole Miss with all kinds of hype. Maybe he's poised to live up to it in 2010.

With Dexter McCluster gone, the Rebels could sure use another explosive threat out of the backfield.

All in all, there are a lot of promising second-year players in this program. How big they play next season will go a long way toward determining whether or not the Rebels can make a run at three straight nine-win seasons.

The strength of this team, though, will again be a front seven on defense that has a chance to be as good as any in the SEC.