July 27th, 2011 03:50 PM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Mississippi State, Ole Miss
Tags: Dan Mullen, MSU, Ole Miss, recruiting
Houston Nutt knew just what to say to a gathering of Ole Miss fans last night in Jackson. The Rebel coach looked ‘em in the eye, apologized for a subpar 2010 season… and then took a couple of shots at Mississippi State.
First, Nutt’s apology:
“I was wondering if you really wanted to come tonight after those last few ballgames. I want to apologize to you. We didn’t play with that passion and that intensity of the Ole Miss Rebels.”
Mea culpas never hurt. And firing barbs at MSU — a school that’s been throwing all the verbal punches in recent months — always helps.
Nutt said that this year’s Egg Bowl game with the Bulldogs is “personal.” According to Ross Dellenger of The Jackson Clarion Ledger, Nutt then “took a not-so-subtle shot at an MSU video called ‘Golden Days: A Day in the Life of the Egg Bowl Trophy.’”
UM’s coach said that after whipping State 45-0 in 2008, “Nobody had to carry around the trophy to show everybody.”
He then said — as he did at SEC Media Days last week — that Ole Miss’ recruiting class in 2010 was “the best in the state… the best.” (He was channeling his inner-Kenny Bania, apparently.)
Sounds like Nutt has grown a bit tired of answering questions about those “Welcome To Our State” billboards MSU put up around the Magnolia State.
Nutt also chose to tell the story of linebacker CJ Johnson’s recruitment. The in-state prospect had been committed to Dan Mullen’s program for more than a year heading into the home stretch. According to Nutt, Johnson told Lance Pogue — a Mississippi high school coach who was coaching Johnson at the US Army All-American Game — that he might like to open up his recruiting again. Pogue gave Johnson Nutt’s phone number. Naturally, that story has spread quickly on the internet today and upset more than a couple of Bulldog fans in the process.
Brandon Marcello of The Clarion-Ledger tracked down Pogue today for comment:
“I’m a Mississippi guy. I’m not Ole Miss, I’m not State. I’m for this state. I graduated from Delta State and Holmes Community College.
We’re out at San Antonio, Texas, and there’s a kid from Mississippi who I’m kind of partial to because he’s from my state. We’re at the all-star game, the coach who’s recruiting him from Mississippi State (Manny Diaz) leaves (for Texas) and he says, ‘I’m kind of unsure.’ I said, ‘If you’re unsure, check them all out,’ and he wanted to talk to Coach Nutt. Here’s the thing: I’ve got Dan Mullen’s phone number, he’s got mine and I’d do the same if it would have been the other way.”
The coach went on to point out that his own top player from the past two seasons is now at State. You have to wonder, though, if he appreciates Nutt bringing up his name in the first place.
Either way, for the first time in a long time, Nutt set the day’s sportstalk agenda in the state of Mississippi. Mullen has been winning games and marketing his program with his mouth for the better part of two years. Perhaps yesterday’s comments show that Nutt is ready to do a little talkin’ too.
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