Nutt: 'You Evaluate Everything'

Houston Nutt said Monday he hasn't thought about any job anywhere but the one he has at Ole Miss since his team lost to Mississippi State 31-23 Saturday in Oxford.

"When you have a year like we just had, you start all over," the third-year head coach of the Rebels said. "You go back to the very beginning and you evaluate everything, starting with myself and go all the way down from there."

He joked a bit about the fact that rumors are out there with him being interested in other jobs.

"I got a call last night from my wife and she said ‘Are we going skiing in Colorado, or what are we doing? I hear we're on a plane.' So there's rumors and a lot of them are ridiculous. There's no truth to that."

Nutt was asked specifically about rumors, including Colorado, but also Minnesota, the Dallas Cowboys, and the fact that many have said his agent, Jimmy Sexton, has tossed his name out and about throughout.

"Jimmy Sexton gets a bad rap," Nutt said. "He gets a bad rap. He has a lot more to do than worry about me every minute.

Houston Nutt

"There's just so many things thrown out there, and people jump all over it. It's just sad, and it's just not true."

Nutt said this year's season, which was a 4-8 overall and 1-7 Southeastern Conference disaster record-wise, had its tone set not long after the Cotton Bowl win against Oklahoma State.

"I want to mention one thing that really had an effect, and that was the first workout after Bennie Abrams passed out here. That was a really tough way to start our offseason. It affected us a great deal (players) and coaches as well. That's the first time we've experienced that, and you have a tendency to pull back a little bit.

"Our thoughts were with Bennie Abrams' family, and we wanted to dedicate the season to Bennie. We didn't do a very good job with that."

Nutt said he has not been through many late Novembers and early Decembers when a team of his wasn't preparing for a bowl game.

This is only my third time to experience this (no bowl game as a head coach), and that's what's so frustrating, because this is a time you get excited. Right before finals, it's about getting young people a lot of work which we'll miss – the scrimmage time and developing those guys.

"Now it's more on their own, and they've got to take an awesome responsibility to go to work on their own. It's what you do after we have the hours with (strength and conditioning coach) Don Decker; it's what you do on your own."

Nutt was asked about the possibility of coaching staff changes.

"I've been doing a lot of thinking and soul-searching," he said. "I don't know that yet. I'm still looking hard in that area to look at everything that we've done. The thing that's tough in our profession is this was a pretty good group for two years. And you have a bad year, and all of a sudden they're bad coaches. That's what's really hard for me, because I know what these guys stand for. I know what they're about. They're good people, good family men that try to make a difference in a young person's life. They're good coaches; they didn't become bad coaches over night.

"The bottom line is we didn't have a good year, so you've got to look at everything. They're all out on the road right now. They're working in recruiting. So we'll just go this way for right now, because we have time on our side."

Nutt was asked if he would try to "save himself" by changing some assistants.

Houston Nutt

"I don't want to; that's the most difficult thing there is at our spot. You're talking about families, people you know and love, and it's hard. That's where you separate that and do what's best for Ole Miss. I'm not worried about it that way. I look at it as what is best for Ole Miss. How are we going to get to Atlanta? How are we going to win an SEC Championship? How are we going to get the best players in here? I look at it that way."

Nutt has met with athletics director Pete Boone.

"I met with Pete this morning, and we talked about the season. We talked about a lot of things with our program, whether it be the training room to academics to everything, from A to Z."

As far as his own name popping up with jobs, Nutt says it has a lot to do with other successful coaches he played for and worked for.

"It hasn't really started happening until the past three or four seasons," he said. "You go by the body of work. The thing that has been a real connection to me is Jimmy Johnson, Lou Holtz, Frank Broyles, and they call those guys. They talk to them. They're going to mention my name, and they've done it before. These former coaches get calls. That's a tremendous connection. They know football. They know people. They respect their opinion. I think that's probably the start of it."

Nutt and his players met this afternoon for the first time since the Egg Bowl.

"We'll talk in a team meeting today at 4 o'clock. We'll talk about the road map and which way we're going.

"I'm excited about the guys coming back. I'm excited about our program. We're ready to roll up our sleeves, go to work. And we're excited about the future."

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