Inevitable Change

Houston Nutt was informed Monday he won't be retained as Ole Miss head coach in 2012. A change was inevitable.


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Ole Miss lost in a blowout Saturday, 30-13, to Kentucky -- the Rebels only competition for worst team in the Southeastern Conference. Kentucky. K-E-N-T-U-C-K-Y.

The same Kentucky that entered the game winless in league play. The same Kentucky who beat Western Kentucky 14-3, Jacksonville State 38-14 and Central Michigan 27-13 for its three previous wins. The same Kentucky that South Carolina beat by 51. And Florida beat by 38. And LSU beat by 28.

That Kentucky.

Ole Miss has never lost 10 games in a season. It's in serious danger of losing 10 this season. And, yes, I understand the next opponent is Louisiana Tech. But Louisiana Tech took Mississippi State to overtime, losing by only six, and easily handled Fresno State -- a team Ole Miss squeaked by a month ago.

Attendance will be understandably bad for the game, even challenging Ole Miss-Northwestern State in the swan-song season of Ed Orgeron, for college football's version of two hobos fighting in an alley.

Houston Nutt came to Ole Miss without his fastball. His off-speed stuff was there, sure. Like, say, his motivational speeches. Or his energy in practices. He's a nice enough guy. But he was/is on the backside of his coaching career, and it showed in this disaster of a season.

His recruiting classes, or what remains of those classes and save for this impressive crop of freshmen, have been abject failures.


Houston Nutt
File Photo

Remember the class of 2009? You know, when Nutt signed 37 players, drawing the ire of the SEC and national media?

Well, 20 of those players are either gone from the roster or never arrived, including four of his most highly-ranked signees in Darius Barksdale, Pat Patterson, Craig Drummond and Raymond Cotton.

The 2010 class wasn't much better in terms of attrition. Ten of 25 signees are nowhere to be found, some gone due to discipline (Delvin Jones, Clarence Jackson, Tony Grimes) and others gone due to either poor staff evaluations (Terrence Hackney) or inability to meet enrollment requirements (Quadarias Mireles, Cordell Giles, etc.).

Even those players who are on the team from those classes have made little impact. Wide receiver Vincent Sanders, a four-star recruit out of Noxubee County. He's the exact same player he was when he arrived on campus two summers ago. Carlos Thompson, another four-star prospect, can't crack the two-deep rotation at defensive end. Offensive tackle Bobby Massie is the only four-star or better prospect left from the 2009 class.

Of course, the downfall of Houston Nutt, who won back-to-back Cotton Bowls in his first two seasons, isn't entirely on recruiting. He handled his staff poorly the last two seasons, as well.

David Lee wasn't the right hire. He was an unnecessary hire. The hire should have been at defensive coordinator. Tyrone Nix hasn't fielded a competent defense in two seasons. His struggles started at Mississippi State in 2009-10 and carried over not even a year later when the Rebels were upset in embarrassing fashion by Jacksonville State in the first game of the season.

Ole Miss boasted the No. 104 defense in the country prior to the Kentucky loss, allowing 438.63 yards per game. In each of the previous three weeks, the running back Ole Miss opposed earned conference player of the week.

Kentucky had 398 yards of total offense Saturday. Its running back, Coshik Williams, had 111 yards and two touchdowns; this from a player who wouldn't have be starting if not for injuries in the Wildcat backfield.

Unthinkable, really.

Of course, I could ramble further, bringing the deficiencies of Pete Boone into the argument. But you, the reader, already know the situation surrounding Boone; the failures of his tenure as athletics director. He, too, is on his last leg. That much is clear.

No positive can be found with this program right now. Nothing. Zip. Zero. Nada. To borrow from the movie Moneyball but adding my own personal twist: There are good programs, and there are poor programs. Then there's 50 feet of crap. And then there's Ole Miss.

Houston, they do remember in November. However, Ole Miss fans, I can safely assume, would much rather forget what happened in the first weekend of November in 2011. Ole Miss should never be blown out by Kentucky. Sorry, it shouldn't. But it was.

Change was inevitable.


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