Blog Entry

Houston Nutt is out at Ole Miss: now what?

Posted on: November 7, 2011 11:53 am
Edited on: November 7, 2011 1:04 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The SEC has its first (and possibly only) coaching casualty of the 2011 season as Houston Nutt has gotten the ax at Ole Miss. Here's the essential questions that need answering in the wake of the Rebels' decision, and our best attempt at answering them:

Two seasons ago Nutt won his second straight Cotton Bowl, the best back-to-back seasons for the Rebels since their 1960s heyday. Now he's staring an 0-8 SEC season in the face and unemployed. What happened?

Several things, but none more damaging than that Nutt's last couple of recruiting classes weren't nearly as good as advertised. Ed Orgeron left the cupboard well-stocked for his successor, and to Nutt's credit he made far more use of Dexter McCluster, Jevan Snead, Peria Jerry and other stars than Orgeron ever did. But his seeming emphasis on quantity over quality -- unfortunately, the 2009 38-member signing class that spawned the SEC's 28-signee "Houston Nutt Rule" may be as much his Oxford legacy as those two bowl victories -- left the 2010 and 2011 Rebels entirely devoid of difference-making SEC stars. (It didn't help that several of his highest-profile signees, like now-exiled receiver Patrick Patterson, wound up being total busts.)

Nutt hasn't done a good job of day-to-day coaching (by any stretch of the imagination) these last two seasons, and his utter failure to develop a reliable quarterback for this 2011 campaign may have been his single biggest mistake of all. But on a broader level, his losses and misssteps on the recruiting trail meant that once Oregeron's players graduated, he was starting down the barrel of a sizable talent disadvantage against nearly every SEC team he faced in 2010 and '11.

Why now? Why not wait until the end of the season?

If the Rebels have the funds necessary to buy Nutt out of his ginormous contract, it really doesn't make any sense to wait--with LSU still on the schedule, Ole Miss's best-case scenario at the end of the season is a 4-8 overall, 1-7 record in the SEC. Coming off of last season's disappointment and with no reason to think next year will be dramatically better, that sort of record should result in Nutt's canning as long as the athletic department has the cash to get rid of him. Since they apparently do, now the coaching search can start in earnest ... and the sooner the new coach is hired, the sooner he can try and salvage something out of the Rebels' 2012 recruiting class.

Speaking of: who will the Rebels target?

Until he actually moves on from the Plains, the first name on any list of candidates for a mid- to lower-tier SEC job is going to be Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, even with his Tigers taking a step back offensively this season after Cam Newton's departure. The former Arkansas high school coach may not be able to resist the chance to prove he could outperform his old boss (and now bitter coaching rival, according to many) at the same position.

But the job is attractive enough that the Rebels may be able to pick-and-choose if they decide Malzahn's not the right fit (or vice versa). According to one report boosters have already contacted Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin, and Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables. It would make sense for current Southern Miss head coach Larry Fedora to be in the mix, too, after taking his Eagles to 8-1 on the year. And of course there's always Mike Leach, who'll be along any minute to mention how much he'd love a shot at coaching in the SEC.


Since: Sep 20, 2009
Posted on: November 8, 2011 10:10 pm

Houston Nutt is out at Ole Miss: now what?

Bret Venables would be a good easy pick as Mike Stoops would take over his old job as def cord of Oklahoma. I like Kevin Sumlin too another Bob Stoops assistant who knows football and winning

Since: Nov 8, 2011
Posted on: November 8, 2011 1:40 pm

Houston Nutt is out at Ole Miss: now what?

No need to take potshots at the Arkansas fans - we didn't tell you to hire Nutt.  If you had been smart you would have studied the situation a little harder and figured out why we were trying so hard to get rid of him.  Instead you were so excited because you thought you were one-upping us that you hired him without checking it out.  Now he's the one doing the checking out and he's doing it with 6 million of your dollars - happy now?

Since: Nov 4, 2011
Posted on: November 8, 2011 12:01 am

Houston Nutt is out at Ole Miss: now what?

as an oklahoma fan i say take brent  venables so we can get mike stoops back

Since: Aug 30, 2007
Posted on: November 7, 2011 11:15 pm

Houston Nutt is out at Ole Miss: now what?

One of the sorriest people in college athletics. Arkansas and now Ole Miss can tell you that. If any school is considering hiring this guy, they will live to regret it. WOW! North Carolina and Colorado? Seriously? With his track record. Do your homework. Ole Miss didn't and look how they're paying. He's ethically bankrupt and no player wants to play for him. Add to the fact that he cannot recruit and he ALWAYS gets outcoached and that's the sum of this Nutt.

Since: Nov 1, 2006
Posted on: November 7, 2011 10:34 pm

Houston Nutt is out at Ole Miss: now what?

Nutt is a bum! Always have been a bum! The funny thing about Nutt is Saban recommended Nutt as his replacement at LSU when he left. Thank God that didn't happen. Geaux Tigers!!! Still #1

Since: Aug 29, 2010
Posted on: November 7, 2011 10:23 pm

Houston Nutt is out at Ole Miss: now what?

I'm actually kind of excited for the Ole Miss fans. It's like Christmas came early. Now many of them are restless with thoughts about who they will get. Truth is, anyone will be better for you than the Clown.

Don't worry. It may take your program two years to get back to full strength, but you'll get there.  

Since: Oct 17, 2010
Posted on: November 7, 2011 10:04 pm

Houston Nutt is out at Ole Miss: now what?

I hope Leach gets the job, not only for the fine job he did at Texas Tech, but for sheer entertainment value.  The current SEC is home to some good coaches, but they are about as exciting as a tin plate personality wise.   We need at least one flake and for my money that's Leach.

Since: Jan 1, 2011
Posted on: November 7, 2011 9:08 pm

Houston Nutt is out at Ole Miss: now what?

     Friend s and family work me over about being the weirdo liberal in the family; but this flag thing?  As long as there are "Malcom X " hats out there...My older brother (from Mississsippi) says, They've got their "X", we've got ours ("Stars and Bars").  I don't harp about it, but his "arguement" has its' merit strictly on a base level.

Since: Nov 5, 2008
Posted on: November 7, 2011 9:05 pm

Houston Nutt is out at Ole Miss: now what?

Larry Fedora should be the choice, He's a solid proven HC already and is worthy of a better job. Malzahn is a flash in the pan with little substance. He should have taken the Vandy job when they offered it to him last year. He thinks he's better then that and is holding out for a bigger job. Big mistake Gus......big mistake!

Since: May 9, 2009
Posted on: November 7, 2011 8:31 pm

Houston Nutt is out at Ole Miss: now what?

Totally agree about Craig James and his pasted smirk on his face. Not saying Mike Leach wasnt guilty of something but whatever happened should not have spilled over to ESPN. CJ used his job at ESPN to further his cause and that is outrageous. I have heard Mike Leach on College Football sirius radio and while he is far from eloquent he does know the game. Not sure any school though wants to take a chance with him given what happened at Texas Tech because you will be dealing with the parents of these athletes and how many parents are willing to take the risk ML did exactly what he was accused of? Havent read his book but I heard it was scathing against TT and Craig James. And by the way CJ was a royal pain at TT when his son was there trying to tell Mike Leach what he should or should not do concerning his son. I also read a lot of the players on that team didnt like his son. Cant imagine why....Not that easy to hire a coach these days no matter what school you are. Ohio State has been in the upper echelon for years but how many coaches want to take on that proverbial land mine with NCAA penalties looming? It took Alabama years to find the right coach and Notre Dame may have finally gotten the right guy although they are still a work in progress. Oxford is a cool town and the fans are rabid so he will have a lot of support. There is a lot of money in the Delta so make no mistake they can afford to pay for a good coach but this coaching carousel has to stop. Not good for recruiting thats for sure. Regardless of the kind of coach Houston was I wish him good luck..

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