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Ole Miss, USM, MSU welcome 03 players

By Staff
from combined reports
Aug. 4, 2003
Players, both veterans and freshmen, reported for preseason practice at Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Southern Mississippi on Sunday.
It marked the first time freshmen and veterans have reported together. In the past, freshmen and newcomers reported a few days early. NCAA rules changed that this season.
It's always an exciting time of year,'' Ole Miss coach David Cutcliffe said. We're in a unique situation with the varsity and freshmen reporting on the same day. We're looking forward to getting on the practice field Monday night.''
MSU head coach Jackie Sherrill and his assistants greeted 85 scholarship student-athletes and 20 walk-ons among the initial group of prospective Bulldogs.
After a team dinner, the team spent the evening in compliance meetings, learning university guidelines for dormitory life, dining hall and campus parking. The squad also met on academic procedures and training protocol before being issued equipment.
The Bulldogs will begin offensive and defensive playbook meetings Monday morning, participate in the NCAA's newly adopted walk-through sessions in the afternoon, before practicing later in the day.
Cutcliffe said two Rebels signees would not be joining the team. Wide receiver Mico McSwain of Richton and tight end Covington Wright of Columbus, Ga., failed to meet NCAA initial eligibility requirements.
Defensive lineman Brandon Jenkins of Memphis, Tenn., is still awaiting clearance and did not report, Cutcliffe said.
The newcomers will be learning on the run,'' Cutcliffe said. From a mental standpoint, we will need to go at a different pace. There will be a lot of meetings taking place.''
At Southern Miss, the first-year players still will practice on their own for the first few days.
During the first week of practice, the varsity players will attend weightlifting sessions while the first-year players practice in the morning. In the afternoons, varsity players will run through specialty workouts, and the first-year players will go through various orientation meetings.
Everyone who was expected to report did, with the exception of incoming freshman linebacker Chaz Richards (Troy, Ala.), who was involved in an auto accident on Sunday.
"Everyone reported in except for Richards," said Golden Eagle head coach Jeff Bower. "He was in an automobile accident on the way to Hattiesburg. He totaled his truck, and the last we heard, he was in a Montgomery (Ala.) hospital, but we don't think that it was anything serious."
The first full practice for all players at Southern Miss is scheduled for Friday.
Two-a-days begin on Saturday, Aug. 9. The new NCAA regulations also mandate that two-a-day workouts may not be held on consecutive days.
Ole Miss opens the 2003 season Aug. 30 at Vanderbilt. Southern Miss also opens the season on the road, meeting California on Aug. 30. Mississippi State begins its season the same day at home against Oregon.