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Scrimmage leaves questions unanswered

Petre Thomas/The Daily Mississippian

Going into the Ole Miss football team’s second scrimmage of the fall camp Saturday, there were several key factors that had yet to be determined.
However, no question loomed larger than who will be the starting quarterback when the season begins.
“All three of them can move the team,” Rebels’ offensive coordinator David Lee said of the quarterbacks. “All three of them can play and all three of them have something they do very well and have a facet to them that can help us.
Lee said the Rebels would name a starter when they are ready, but that it might take a while.
“We’ll keep watching them and keep working through it all, but we are not ready to name a guy yet,” Lee said
Each signal caller had his ups and downs in Saturday’s scrimmage.
Junior Randall Mackey was 4-for-9 for 69 yards with a touchdown and an interception, sophomore Barry Brunetti was 4-for-8 for 73 yards and a touchdown and junior Zack Stoudt was 7-for-15 for 91 yards.
“We’re all anxious, because we all have our times, we all have our glimpses, and we all have our struggles,” Brunetti said. “Whoever gets it, we’re going to support them the best way we can, and we’ll be the best backups we can. Whoever is the starter, we hope he leads the team to a victory.”
The players who stood out on the offensive side of the ball were junior running back Devin Thomas and freshman wide receiver Donte Moncrief.
Thomas, who got a lot of reps due to senior Brandon Bolden and sophomore Jeff Scott receiving limited snaps, had a 5-yard touchdown run as well as a touchdown reception from 26 yards out.
Moncrief had two scores of his own, one coming on a 30-yard rush on an option out of the Wild Rebel formation and the other coming on an 53-yard grab between two defenders on a beautifully-thrown ball from Mackey.
The defense was sloppy at times, but that was to be expected with so many guys out with injuries.
Junior linebacker Joel Kight (hamstring), redshirt freshman linebacker Ralph Williams (ankle), senior safety Damien Jackson (knee), junior defensive end Jason Jones (knee) and sophomore defensive end Carlos Thompson (hip flexor) saw no action Saturday, while defensive tackles Uriah Grant (groin) and Gilbert Pena (broken hand) played in a limited role.
“I thought we got off to a better start and played a little faster early on than we did last Saturday,” defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix said. “I saw some good signs.
“We emphasized getting off to a good start and getting some turnovers and we did that. Those are good signs.”
Something did concern Nix, however.
“The thing that concerned me was that our third-down defense lapsed a few times, and we have to play better on some trick plays they hit us on,” Nix said. “Overall, I thought the kids played hard and got better.”
One of the loudest ovations came early in the scrimmage when the Rebel faithful showed its appreciation for Senquez Golson’s decision to turn down an offer from the Boston Red Sox and spend his next three or four years on the Rebel gridiron and diamond when the freshman defensive back tipped away a deep pass intended for senior tight end Layton Jones.
From here on out, head coach Houston Nutt and the Rebels will turn their attention toward preparing for the Cougars of BYU, who Ole Miss will host in the season opener on Sept. 3.
“We had a really good camp,” Nutt said. “I thought our guys competed hard. We put them through it and did some awfully good things.
“Now as we turn and go to school, we are going to clean up some things, sharpen up some things. Now we are two weeks away.”