Quick Change

Houston Nutt said after Ole Miss was 2-0 against LSU during his tenure and had just won a 25-23 thriller in Oxford, things were surely a lot different. His 2009 team was 8-3 at that time, and Nutt's popularity as Rebel head coach was high.

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"I never will forget so many letters and e-mails we got, ‘Hey, usually we don't win those games. We lose those games at the end.' That was a big, big memorable moment," Nutt said of the close win against the Tigers, a year after Ole Miss had rolled over LSU 31-13 in Baton Rouge.

"There were also some e-mails I got at that time that said I was going to be here as long as Johnny Vaught," Nutt continued, and with that comment bringing smiles and laughter to the media room, now that Nutt has been dismissed from his job effective the end of the season. "That comes to my mind. It's amazing. I had to throw that out, because it popped in my mind. That just shows you how quickly our game is. Those games are in the rearview mirror."

The game dead ahead is arguably Nutt's and Ole Miss' biggest challenge during his tenure. LSU comes back to Oxford and is ranked No. 1 in the country. The Tigers, 10-0 overall and 6-0 in Southeastern Conference games, have been the most impressive team in the nation this season.

The Rebels, meanwhile, are 2-8 and 0-6 and have been as unimpressive as any team in major college football. The only two wins are against Southern Illinois, 42-24, a lower division program, and Fresno State, 38-28.

Last Saturday night was as low a point for the program as there's been in many years with a 27-7 loss to Louisiana Tech.

Nutt said in spite of it all, they continue to try to win games.

Houston Nutt
Bruce Newman

"The most difficult thing right now is a team like last week, and no disrespect to Louisiana Tech, they have a very good team. But you've got to be able to win that game. Our defense played really well, only gave up 13 points, and had a lot of three and outs. Did a good job.

"But you can't be a team that continues to stop yourself," Nutt continued. "That's where we just haven't done a good enough job of really getting that across to them. The team that makes the fewest mistakes is going to win. That's the bottom line."

More Nutt Notes:

On if there was a lack of effort in the Louisiana Tech game: "If you go back and watch it, there's some guys competing awfully hard. You'd like to see a game this year where we put it all together."

On comparing the LSU defense to the Alabama defense: "Boy, I'll tell you. Flip a coin. They're both very, very good. LSU looks so good, so fast, so quick at every position. That's really hard to say."

On why the lack of production this season from the offensive line: "That's a hard question. It puzzles us a lot. Hard question. We were really counting on those guys. We just didn't get it done. That was supposed to be the backbone of our offense. There were times they did play well. But the consistency from game one on hasn't been there."

On the Ole Miss-LSU tradition and how that might help this weekend: "We've talked about that. It's always been a very physical, tough game. These (LSU) guys are riding on an awfully big high and fighting for a national title. We're on the flip side of that. Bottom line is, we've got an opportunity against the best team in the country, and it's the last home game for our seniors. We've got a lot to play for, and I'm expecting everybody to give it everything they have."

On what he and his staff are telling commitments and recruits now: "The main thing I'm getting is ‘Coach, who you think's going to be the coach?' and ‘Should I come to the LSU game?' Things like that. What we're telling them is to come on to the LSU game, especially the ones that are committed. It's hard to answer them, because we don't have the answers right now. But come to the game, because this could be your future home. Come on and enjoy the game and the campus. I would check out the depth chart and see who all is playing in my position, see how many true freshmen are playing. You've got a lot of things to check out and do some investigating. We're just trying to encourage them. This is a big decision. I think it's important that they keep coming to the game. Some (of them) have already made a commitment to Ole Miss. So I would keep (Ole Miss) first and keep investigating your choice. This is the biggest decision of your life so far."

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