When there's an open date for football, Coach Houston Nutt backs up the weekly press conference a day. This week, like the week after the South Carolina game, we gathered on Sunday afternoon instead of the usual Monday.
Unlike the day after the loss to Carolina, Sunday after beating Auburn things were different, especially when we went to practice late in the afternoon.
But it doesn't appear to be any "wow" that the players have now that they've beaten Florida and Arkansas on the road and Auburn at home. They express confidence that they know they're playing better and believe now they can win games like those.
Winning breeds confidence and more winning.
They even talked about how important the Louisiana-Monroe game is to reaching their season's goals. They know UL-M went to Tuscaloosa and beat Alabama last season.
When somebody pointed out to one player that there should be a bigger crowd in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium for the Louisiana-Monroe game than there was last year for Northwestern State, which as we all remember was embarrassing, the player replied, "And we almost lost that one, too."
I don't see the Rebels taking Louisiana-Monroe lightly, even after an open date. I look for them to play well and become bowl eligible at 6-4. But that's all a few days away.
Student tickets went on sale this morning for men's basketball. The end of the court where those enrolled for classes sit at basketball games now has been an active locale the past two years under Andy Kennedy and staff.
There wasn't any type of long line out there this morning before the ticket office opened, and that could be described as disappointing, I suppose. But as long as students fill up the seats to support the team, I don't guess it matters when they buy their tickets.
They won't have to wait long to be a part of a marquee matchup. When West Virginia comes to town for a Wednesday, Dec. 3 game, the contest will be televised by Fox Sports South and will start at 8 p.m. K-Ville should be a happening place for that one as Kennedy's friend and one of his mentors, Bob Huggins, brings his team to Oxford.
The Mountaineers made it to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen last season. They are picked ninth among the 16 Big East teams this preseason by the league's coaches. Many observers feel they are better than that.
Louisville, another Rebel opponent (Dec. 18 in Cincinnati) has been picked to finish second in the Big East behind favored Connecticut.
The Rebels travel to UAB this Saturday for a closed exhibition game with the Blazers.
The Vaught statue unveiling Saturday morning was meaningful for a lot of reasons and to a lot of people. Many of Coach Vaught's former players were there. Most of them were emotional to some degree. It was a reunion of sorts.
And then for the Rebels to go out and beat Auburn capped a fine day for many.
Gerald Morgan, a former Vaught player and a retired Presbyterian minister now living in Oxford, was in attendance. He had preached Coach Vaught's funeral back in early 2006.
"I visited with him quite a bit the last couple of years of his life after we moved here," said Morgan, who also has the distinction of coaching Archie Manning when the future Rebel All-American was in high school at Drew.
Morgan was on Ole Miss teams from 1954-58. He ran the scout team as a quarterback and knew his chances of seeing the playing field were limited.
"But I always wanted to be a part of the Ole Miss Rebels, and so I stayed with the team," the Mendenhall native said. "Coach Vaught was one of the great coaches who has ever been a part of the game of football. He had an affect on several generations here."
Many of them from several generations gathered Saturday morning for the unveiling. It is a nice addition to the front of the Starnes Center, or as I still like to call it the "Doc" Knight Field House.
The statue certainly honors Coach Vaught. But collectively it could also honor Knight, the team's longtime trainer under Vaught, and many, many more. In a way, it also honors the men who gathered around it Saturday morning, like Morgan, and many others who were not there but played a part.
A salute to those who were involved in the project from its beginnings to its unveiling.
The Ole Miss women's soccer team advances to the eight-team SEC Tournament for the 12th straight year, ending the regular season with impressive wins over Kentucky and Mississippi State, both by 3-1 margins.
The Rebels play LSU, ranked 11th nationally, in the first round of the tourney, held at Orange Beach, Fla., Wednesday at 12 noon.
Ole Miss beat LSU 1-0 in the regular season in a game played in Oxford.
The Lady Rebel basketball team has two exhibition games here in the next six days. DT-3 is the competition Tuesday at 7 p.m., while Christian Brothers University is in town for a Sunday game at 2 p.m.
The DT-3 Exhibition Travel Team was formed in August, 2005, in Tallahassee, Fla., and competes against some of the nation's top collegiate programs during the NCAA Division I exhibition season.
Christian Brothers is a Division II team and a member of the Gulf South Conference.
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