1. Paint with as broad of strokes as you want, but what went wrong with the Rebels the last two seasons to necessitate this change at the top?
Former Coach Ed Orgeron's last recruiting class and Houston Nutt's first recruiting class resulted in two back-to-back small senior classes. On top of that, two of Nutt's subsequent signing classes have not yielded what they were expected to. On paper, they looked pretty good – Top 20 – classes, but in reality, due to attrition, they have not panned out in terms of keeping Ole Miss at a competitive level. Nutt has also had a hard time settling in with an offensive coordinator, having three here in four years.
2. When the season began, did you think this team would struggle this much – why and what's created this bottoming out?
Everyone at Ole Miss was anticipating the offensive line being the backbone of the team. They are one of the biggest in the country. Unfortunately, big does not equate to good. For whatever reasons, they have not developed into the kind of unit anticipated. Inexperience at quarterback, the use of several true freshmen at wide receiver, an early injury to bell cow tailback Brandon Bolden, and a defensive front that proved easy to run on have also contributed to the Rebels' woes.
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3. Can you gauge whether the players have any energy left for these last two games against their two biggest rivals?
The desire to compete against LSU and MSU is there, but this team has proven through the course of this year to be very fragile. They have not handled adversity very well at all. Once something goes wrong, it's almost as if they have the here-we-go-again syndrome.
4. As well as you know Houston Nutt, how well do you think he will have his crew motivated for the No. 1-ranked Tigers?
With the tailspin this team is in – having lost 27-7 to Louisiana Tech last Saturday – and with the way this season has unfolded, it will be difficult for the Rebs, who are a 30-point underdog, to muster a real challenge to the Tigers, but Nutt has been known through the years to pull some rabbits out of his hat and he has had success in his career against LSU, both at Arkansas and at Ole Miss.
5. What does this current Ole Miss team do well enough to make things interesting against LSU?
When they are on, the Rebels are pretty good. The problem has been consistency and making huge, game-changing mistakes. If they can avoid the mistakes and come out hot, you never know. Last year's game between Ole Miss and LSU is a prime example. Ole Miss, a heavy underdog, pushed the Tigers to the limit before falling in the end.
6. How do you think this game will play out?
With the roll the Tigers are on, guarding the top spot in the nation, there is little chance they will risk having a down game due to looking past the Rebels. With the way Ole Miss has been playing, it seems almost inconceivable the Rebels will drastically and miraculously change overnight. This one doesn't bode well for the Rebs, but you never know in rivalry games.