Powe Perspective

Jerrell Powe was surprised to hear Houston Nutt had been fired. Hugh Freeze replaced Nutt as Ole Miss head coach earlier this month.

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Powe played all four seasons under Nutt. However, he was recruited to Ole Miss by Ed Orgeron. Actually, Freeze was one of the coaches to walk into his living room during his days as a standout defensive lineman at Wayne County.

Powe is with the Kansas City Chiefs now. But Powe, who left prior to the Rebels' 2-10 showing last season, still refers to Ole Miss as "we." Even more, he's more than willing to give his opinion on all matters Ole Miss.

"It was very surprising. I felt the same way about Coach Orgeron," Powe said of the decision to fire Nutt. "(Orgeron) recruited a great deal of talent to Ole Miss. He brought in the best recruiting class we ever had at Ole Miss, when Ed Orgeron was here. I think they should've given him another chance. He had two 3-9 seasons, but we come back and go 8-4 the next year under Coach Nutt. He's a good coach, but a lot of those guys were Ed Orgeron's players.

"You go back to Coach Nutt, you give the man four years, he's takes us to the Cotton Bowl twice. He had to play with a lot of young talent. But that's the nature of the business. You don't win, you're out. I'm not in control of that or nothing, but I'm happy with the new coach. I was surprised to see Coach Nutt fired. I thought he could have used another year to utilize the talent he was bringing in. You had a freshman (Nick Brassell) starting at cornerback and receiver. Me personally, I thought he could've used another year."

When he looks at where the program is now, two years removed from back-to-back Cotton Bowl appearances, he draws back to his own experiences. Prior to the arrival of Nutt, Ole Miss won no more than three games in any of its three seasons with Orgeron at the helm. The reason? The Rebels, he said, didn't know how to win.

Jerrell Powe
Associated Press

Learning how to win. Powe said that's what Freeze is tasked with: teaching his players to believe again, to come together as a team.

"We had to find a way to win. That's what Coach Nutt preached to us. We have great talent there. I think he did a great job of getting athletes in there. But it was a disappointing season. Heck, we played with a lot of freshmen," Powe said.

"I've never played with or seen a freshman start on offense and defense. That speaks for itself right there, with the talent that we got and guys that are going to have to grow and learn to play the game. I think we got a great chance to be a good football team. We're going to have to get the kids to believe. We gotta learn how to win again and get that bitter taste out our mouth."

The in-house division doesn't end with the team. No, Powe, a sixth round pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2011 NFL Draft, said the fans have to come together, as well. A rallying cry, if you will.

"Don't jump off the bandwagon," he said. "The only way we're going to get this program back right is we've got to be one. A divided house can't stand. It's like coach used to always say, ‘I got gaps, you've got gaps. But together, we have no gaps.' We gotta come together and not have no gaps. That's the only way.

"I'm in the (Kansas City) locker room every day. Glenn Dorsey, Tyson Jackson, Javier Arenas, Wallace Gilberry. All those guys, how they interact with their fans and how their fans just stick together, we gotta continue to do that through the good and the bad. We've had bad and we've had good. Now we're tasting the bad. We can bounce back from this, but we gotta stick together. We've got to be there to support our players and just continue to uplift them. To the fans, I'd say be patient and believe in Coach Freeze's system. Be there and continue to cheer the guys on."

Powe has seen little playing time in his rookie season with the Chiefs, appearing in just one game. He's yet to record a tackle. However, the Buckatunna, Miss., native said the experience he's gained this season has been invaluable as he forges on through his professional career.

Kansas City is 6-9 on the year, but suffered season-ending injuries to, among others, starting quarterback Matt Cassell and running back Jamal Charles. Head coach Todd Haley was fired. Romeo Crennel, who coached defensive ends for two seasons at Ole Miss in the 70s, is the interim head coach.

"It's been great. I had a chance to experience a lot of stuff with a lot of guys. I've had a great mentor in Kelly Greggs, who's a 13-year veteran. It's been fun," Powe said. "We're not having the season that we planned on having. We lost four starters. We're having to deal with a lot of the same things (as Ole Miss). We're real young. We're just asking our fans to continue to support us. Through it all, it's been fun. I really have enjoyed it, going from city to city and seeing a lot of players I grew up admiring."

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