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PRACTICE NOTES

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

OLE MISS HOLDS CRISP NEW YEAR EVE'S PRACTICE

The No. 20 Ole Miss Rebels held an efficient 90-minute New Year’s Eve workout for the 73rd AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic.

Practicing in jerseys and shorts, Ole Miss worked at a crisp pace under mild, sunny conditions on the practice fields adjacent to SMU’s Gerald J. Ford Stadium. The Rebels put the final touches on their game plan for the No. 8 Texas Tech Red Raiders, concentrating primarily on 11-on-11 and drills and late-game situations.

“It was a good concentration day,” said Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt. “I think our guys realize now that we’re zeroing in. It’s 48 hours prior to (the game) and it’s time to play.”

When the Rebels hit the field on January 2, Ole Miss will be looking to continue its recent bowl success, having won six of its last seven postseason contests dating back to a 13-0 win over Air Force in the 1992 Liberty Bowl. The Rebels’ only loss during this span came during the 2000 Music City Bowl, falling 49-38 to West Virginia.

Nutt said that his Ole Miss squad will have to do the basics well to earn the program’s 20th bowl victory in its 32nd postseason appearance.

“When you haven’t played in 30 days, it’s blocking and tackling – who’s going to do the best job of that (and) who’s going to take care of the ball,” said Nutt. “When you watch bowl games, you see missed tackles and you see turnovers. You want to be able to take care of the ball and play the way that you finished the last few weeks in November.”

Notable visitors stopping by Ole Miss’ practice today were SMU football head coach June Jones, former NFL and MLB standout and current NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders and current Dallas Cowboy RB Felix Jones, who played three years for Nutt at Arkansas.

The Rebels will enjoy a private team function at their headquarters hotel to bring in the new year before partaking in their final practice on the SMU campus Thursday afternoon. This practice will be closed to the public and media.

The 73rd AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, the final one to be played in Cotton Bowl Stadium at Fair Park, will kick off at 1:15 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. The Classic will be televised for the 11th consecutive year on FOX Sports. Pat Summerall and Brian Baldinger will handle the broadcasting duties, with Jeanne Zelasko and Krista Voda reporting from the sidelines. For the 16th consecutive year, the Westwood One Radio Network will broadcast the Classic, with Brad Sham and Terry Bowden at the microphones. The game is sold out.
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