During this afternoon’s press conference Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt confirmed that the internet-based rumors suggesting he was interested/had accepted the head coaching position at Colorado to replace Dan Hawkins were just that — rumors.During his 23-minute press conference at the Indoor Practice facility Nutt touched on several topics. Here are the quick hits. A more in-depth article will be in tomorrow’s Oxford EAGLE.
—NO TRUTH TO RUMORS: Nutt essentially laughed off rumors that he was headed to Colorado saying, “I got a call last night from my wife and she said, “Are we going skiing or something in Colorado or what are we doing? I hear we’re on a plane?” There’s rumors and a lot of them are ridiculous and there’s no truth to that.”
—NO STAFF CHANGES, YET: While there has been speculation that there will be several assistant coaches moving on, Nutt did not announce any changes today and said he’s still looking into it.
“The thing about what’s tough in our profession is that this was a pretty good group for two years, then you have a bad year and all of a sudden they’re bad coaches… They’re good coaches. They didn’t become bad coaches overnight.”
—EMPHASIS ON RECRUITING: With several holes being blatantly obvious in the depth chart this season, there will be an added emphasis on landing another top recruiting class.
“As difficult as our league is, that’s why those recruiting classes each year need to be in order. You can’t slack.
Houston listed safety, cornerback, defensive tackle, linebacker and receiver as the biggest need areas.
—QUARTERBACKS: Speaking of need areas, Nutt implied that Nathan Stanley and Randall Mackey will be with the team next year and added that walk-on freshman Evan Ingram impressed him this season running the scout team. Nut also said he’s interested in adding a junior college QB and a high school QB (presumably Itawamba AHS QB and current Ole Miss commit Maikhail Miller) to this year’s signing class.
As far as who leads to take over for Jeremiah Masoli, Nutt said he hadn’t thought about it and that it would work itself out.
“It’s going to be the guy that makes the plays, the guy that takes care of the ball, the guy that gets the team in the end zone. It goes back to that leader in the huddle who’s going to say, ‘hey, it’s third-and-7, I’m going to find a way to get eight’ on a consistent basis.”
—SUSPENDED PLAYERS: So here’s a roundup of the status of several suspended players. Receiver Melvin Harris and linebackers Clarence Jackson and Brandon Sanders look like they’ll be back on the team next season. Rodney Scott, as has been reported, won’t. As for the status of defensive end Delvin Jones and cornerback Tony Grimes, Nutt said he’ll have to check into their grades “and some different things.”
I found it interesting that while listing the players statuses, Nutt felt the need to — without being asked — elaborate on why Jackson deserves another shot on the team. Here’s what he said: “Clarence Jackson, we’ll probably get him back going, get him in our program. He has done everything we’ve asked him to do. He’s done some community work. He’s done much better in school and getting his life in order. He’s going to have to do some extra things for us.”
A full write-up on today’s press conference plus a column from EAGLE Sports Editor John Davis will be in the Tuesday edition of the EAGLE. (November 29, 2010)