What Now?

There's no question QB Raymond Cotton's sudden departure this close to the season has left the Rebels in a bind at quarterback. But what is done is done. Time to move forward. What now? Read about it inside.

With the sudden departure of redshirt freshman Quarterback Raymond Cotton still fresh on our minds, it's time to move forward.

Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt is certainly doing that.

"We were fine with Nathan Stanley, Raymond and Randall Mackey, but now we are not," said Nutt. "We are going to be considering all options now. I don't want to use the word desperate, but Raymond left us in a dire situation.

"Nathan has done a great job of leading this team during spring and summer, and Randall has a lot of ability, but we're unsure of his readiness to play QB at this point. We will certainly try the hurry-up approach in getting him ready, but that still only leaves us with two," Nutt noted.

It's obvious Nutt will look within first.

Walk-on Witt Haggard is on campus and has been throwing in 7-on-7 drills some. Now that duty will be re-doubled until August begins.

Walk-ons Pack Toler and Sam Noblin were quarterbacks in high school. While they are both penciled in at other positions now - Noblin at safety and Toler at wideout - there will be consideration to move them to quarterback.

Also possibly re-entering the picture would be former Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli, a ligthning rod on and off the field.

Nutt is forced to rethink his position on Masoli, but he's not forced to make a quick decision. In fact, he can't afford to, even if Masoli won't wait on him and opts to go somewhere else while Nutt ponders.

He doesn't want to disrupt the chemistry the team has built in the past few months, he does not want to do anything to damage the respect the Ole Miss football program has gained in the last two years and he certainly does not want to rock the boat with Stanley and Mackey.

All reports are that Stanley and Mackey have taken a team stance, as in, coaches have to do what they have to do and it's up them to compete in whatever situation they are presented with.

Masoli, it's well-documented, carries some unfortunate history with him, no matter where he goes for his final year of collegiate eligibility.

Nutt will have to do a thorough, very thorough, background check on Masoli before he considers the risk/reward. He will also talk to Oregon coaches and administrators and his own administrators before going any further in that endeavor.

In the meantime, Stanley has to keep plowing ahead, Mackey has to keep learning in a hurry and maybe all three newcomers - Haggard, Toler and Noblin - will have to limber up their throwing arms.

This will not be an easy decision for Nutt and company. All parties will be torn in many directions until it's made.

Nutt fully understands all the pros and cons of the situation. He also understands, and has lived this same scenario in the past, the bind he is at QB as the season rapidly approaches.

What's next? Stay tuned. This is about to get real interesting.

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