Houston Nutt, his team having wrapped up its second scrimmage of fall Saturday, strolled into Ole Miss’ lavishly decorated indoor practice facility to meet the media.
His mind was in a million places. He’d seen flashes of dominance from his talented defense, as well as signs of promise offensively. He praised his running backs and offensive line, yet he was still concerned about a lack of depth in the secondary.
But some 9,000 fans in attendance Saturday didn’t brave the sweltering August heat for those unheralded position battles. No, most eyes were focused under center, where Nathan Stanley, Jeremiah Masoli and Randall Mackey were competing for the seemingly wide-open quarterback job.
Nutt knew it, too.
“I feel good about all three of them,” Nutt said. “I feel real confident about putting (Stanley) in a game. I have no problem with it. And now, the next two, I can put either one of them in the game.”
Each did his best to impress. Stanley was 10-of-11 for 117 yards. He didn’t throw an incompletion until his final pass, and led the offense on two touchdown drives. Masoli, meanwhile, was 5-of-10 for 124 yards and two touchdowns, including a 76-yarder to senior wide receiver Lionel Breaux.
“Masoli did real well,” Stanley said. “As you saw (Saturday), Jeremiah makes plays. He’s a big-time playmaker. I feel that’s going to help us out a lot.”
The odd man out, it seems, is Mackey, who was 3-of-8 for 72 yards and a touchdown. However, he’s been referred to by Nutt as the most accurate passer in camp, not to mention another dual-threat quarterback cut from a similar mold as Masoli.
Nutt said he could possibly try the highly-regarded junior college transfer at another position, presumably wide receiver, but that he views Mackey as a quarterback, leaving the possibility of a redshirt open.