Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How Quickly Things Changed

It's hard to believe that for all intents our season at Ole Miss is over. It's also difficult to comprehend the complete collapse of the Rebel football program at the hands of Houston Nutt. After Nutt achieved significant success at Arkansas, most Ole Miss fans, including Yours truly, were thrilled when he signed with the University of Mississippi. When the Rebs went 9-3 in his first two seasons, including wins over LSU, Florida and Tennessee and 2 wins in the Cotton Bowl, Oxford elation was unbounded. But these results, many suggested, came with Orgeron recruited players. Although we agree Orgeron is not a head coach, he is a recruiter par excellence . But Nutt was unable to maintain that level of intensity, and the performance on the field reflected the lack of talented young players.
Part of the problem is the old saw of having to compete with 2 other major colleges in a small state, something Nutt had to contend with at Arkansas. Both Southern Miss and MSU had young and enthusiastic new coaches who were consistently able to out recruit Ole MIss, thus making the past two seasons the most dismal in our history.
The football was woeful, but the partying on the Grove was also disappointing. With the Rebels playing poorly, many of our friends just did no show up. But they were there in force this weekend for the LSU game, a contest that Ole Miss fans still consider a bitter rivalry although to LSU the rivalry has lost much of its luster. The stands were filled with lusty Rebel fans, too. The team seemd poissed of a noble effort at upset. However, when the Ole Miss QB threw an intercepetion which was returned for a TD, the crowd could sense the wind going out of the Rebel sails. After a long losing season, the red and blue no longer had their hearts in it. The final score 59-3 was no indication of the difference between these two teams and How far the Ole Miss program needs go to just be competetive again.
Although I hate to see it, it is time for Nutt to go. But a clean house also needs to take place. The coaching staff that was not able to recruit should be let go. Ole Miss needs coaches who can attract talent, locally and nationally.
Many cry for the firing of Pete Boone, putting him in the middle of the team's woeful performance. That may be true, but I can't see how an athletic director can be responsible for the performance of a football team. He hired Nutt, but at the time we were all thrilled. Were we all wrong? I don't think so.
I have my own favorties for the job, but I'll discuss that in my next bleg.