Nutt: 'A lot of coulda'

It's the most difficult November yet for Houston Nutt in his brief tenure at Ole Miss, even with a 1-1 record. With two games left, it remains to be seen how things will finish.

Normally this is the time of year his teams are at their best. Not so this season, at least not yet.

The Rebels are 4-6, and the carryover from Labor Day weekend and a season-opening setback to Jacksonville State has lingered through losses to Vanderbilt, Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, and the latest, a lopsided setback at Tennessee.

The Rebels, who have to beat LSU and Mississippi State to become bowl eligble, get ready for a trip to Baton Rouge. The list of injured Rebels continues to grow. Another key player is out for the season after an injury in Knoxville.

"Lawon Scott is out for the year with a broken bone in an ankle," Nutt said of the defensive lineman.

Others continue to be banged up. Charles Sawyer may be able to go this week.

"He's got a pretty good sprain there, an MCL sprain," Nutt said of the cornerback. "He will miss practice today and we'll have to check Monday to see how he's going to be.

Lawon Scott

"We've got a few banged up ankles and shoulders. Jesse Grandy went down on a shoulder on a kickoff return. He was catching punts there for a while and took another hit. So we took him out. We've got quite a few banged up that were in here today."

Nutt said although quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was not on his game, he didn't think last week's concussion was the reason.

"He was down, but I don't know about concussion related," he said. "He was cleared (to play), so we felt good about putting him out there. But he just wasn't himself. I think you saw that. We all saw it. He's had much better days, and we count on him a lot, especially those quick throws. And they just weren't very accurate."

Nutt had hoped his team would not dig another early hole, but it did again on Saturday, down 21-0 in the first quarter to the Volunteers.

"We've been talking about that for a long time," he said. "It seems like when we do get off to a good start, like the Auburn game, then they come right back. Or when we get momentum back, then we kick (off) out of bounds. It's those kinds of things that have really hurt us. We've been our own worst enemy throughout the year.

"The only thing I know to do is keep teaching and keep harping and keep focusing on taking care of the ball and doing things the right way. You can give them examples of when you do it the right way, how quickly we can score, or how we can get a three and out. We just haven't been consistent."

Jeremiah Masoli

The Rebels won the opening coin toss ar Tennessee, received, and were able to move the ball for a few plays. But they couldn't produce any points in their first drive. Tennessee scored on its first offensive play, a tipped ball pass and catch that resulted in an 80-yard scoring play. It was a microcosm of the Rebels' season in 2010.

"I was just so hoping to get ahead in the game, because I felt like this was our best chance," he said. "I really thought our offensive line played well in the running game. This was not the biggest (defensive) group we've played. You could see there were some holes there. If we could have just gotten ahead, I think we could have controlled the ball with the running game and worn them down. That was our plan. But we could never in a thousand years dreamed of putting ourselves in a 21-0 hole. That's just devastating."

Now it's on to LSU and a meeting with the Tigers in Baton Rouge. Ole Miss has won this game the last two seasons.

"We'll always talk about attitude and playing hard," Nutt said. "But it hurts when you've lost as many as we've lost. That's a tough pill to swallow. We have to start it as coaches. Each day we take the field, we have to take it with enthusiasm. We're going to give them the best plan possible. We're going to fight as hard as we can fight. We're looking forward to the Magnolia Bowl."

Nutt said the season to date has been tough for all concerned.

"It was painful to watch it on Sunday morning, because that was a game, like a few others, that we could have won. There's been a lot of coulda, and that's a word we can't keep using."

OM Spirit Top Stories