What A Week

Sometimes you wonder, how do they keep up with it all? Here it is - just past mid-July - and things are popping in the football program at an astounding rate, some good, some not so much. Read about it inside.

Just eight days ago, the Ole Miss football program was anticipating a huge senior camp and the possibility of "a few commitments."

Everything else seemed calm - not much drama going on since earlier in the summer when Coach Houston Nutt axed WR Pat Patterson for what amounted to insubordination - after a couple of other disrupting transgressions earlier in his career - in the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back.

The senior camp ended and, lo and behold, there were no immediate commitments.

How could that be? Mumble, mumble.

Then, like lightning, Raliegh WR Donte Moncrief, a prime target, pulled the trigger on his verbal to Ole Miss and the dominoes started falling.

In a flash, it seemed, LB Marcus Mayers and QB Maikhail Miller - two other prime cut athletes - joined Moncrief.

A day later, two-sport star Senquez Golson, WR T.J. Worthy and DT Woodrow Hamilton, all major targets of the Rebs, swam to the boat, as Nutt sometimes says.

For good measure, the following day, the Rebs plucked an Arkansas CB, Artez Brown, out from under Arkansas. Icing on the cake.

Suddenly, the Rebs had parlayed that senior camp into seven new, excellent, commits, bringing the total now to 14, well over halfway done for the next signing period, if everything holds.

But lurking in the background some drama was developing.

Houston Nutt

Backup QB Raymond Cotton started putting out the word he was about to bolt. At first, the thinking was that he would be OK, that Nutt could persuade him to stay and that his Mom and Dad, who proclaimed they wanted him to remain a Rebel, would intervene.

At one point, Houston thought things would be OK.

The very next day, not so much.

Then, it was off to SEC Media Days. Besides being bombarded by the Cotton talk, and scrambling to confirm the Brown commit, that went as smooth as silk, with Jerrell Powe, Bradley Sowell and Kentrell Lockett, who kept the media in stitches, holding court and making a tremendous impression on the throng of reporters, over 800 strong.

Back to reality Friday night and Saturday morning, what was Cotton going to do?

That drama played out quickly Saturday morning when his Dad told another news source Raymond was indeed leaving and Nutt followed up with quick confirmation.

Certainly, that put a damper on the week.

All good things must come to an end, it's said.

Cotton's retreat was dissected over and over. Tons of speculation to the "whys" melted into no real, concrete answers and then into "what now?"

The Rebels are left with Nathan Stanley and Randall Mackey, which ain't shabby by any means, but it is thin and it is a situation nearly devoid of SEC experience.

Cotton wouldn't have given the Rebs any experience either, but he would have given them quality depth and profound potential, not to mention insurance and a possible starter.

Nutt and company are now scrambling for some help at the all-important QB slot.

It's not a knock on Stanley or Mackey that the staff is uneasy about the situation. They have a lot of faith in those two, as they should. It's more a common sense issue. Depth in this league, especially at QB, is as essential as Gatorade at an August practice.

Nathan Stanley

Will Nutt now pursue former Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli? Will be have the green light from the administration to do so? Is it in the best interest of the team and the chemistry that has already developed?

Those are things the administration and Nutt will have to sort out. We can all spout opinions, but really that is a futile exercise at this point.

If it's decided the risk is higher than the reward and they go in another direction, what direction is there to take?

On campus, there are three new walk-ons - Witt Haggard, Sam Noblin and Pack Toler - who have quarterback in their pedigree, and some who have seen them play in high school believe - while not ideal due to their age and lack of experience - they have the mettle to handle things in an emergency.

So, that's that. We'll see how it plays out.

In the meantime, at least three more prime targets came up to Oxford for an unofficial visit yesterday amidst the QB angst - WR Tobias Singleton and OL Aaron Morris and Justin Bell. Nice surprise considering Mississippi State was having their Super Bulldog recruiting thing-a-ma-jig at the same time.

That was the week that was.

In mid-July.

Exciting to think what this week might bring.

Never a dull moment, it seems, in Ole Miss football.

And, I guess, I'd have it no other way.

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