For a month, the anonymous fan group “Forward Rebels” has been pouring money into a campaign to oust Ole Miss athletic director Pete Boone. The group’s newspaper ads have stated that UM’s individual coaches aren’t as big a problem as the man who hired them.
But Boone has received the backing of chancellor Dan Jones. And Boone got a lengthy standing ovation from a booster club in Jackson just this week.
Whether Forward Rebels like it or not, it seems as though football coach Houston Nutt is in a bit more trouble than the man who brought him to The Grove. After all, a good way to save one’s self is to feed someone else to the sharks first.
Check out what Nutt had to say about the schedule Boone has handed him… a schedule that included last week’s road game at Fresno State:
“We’re closer to UAB. We’re closer to Memphis. But I don’t get to make the schedule. Next year we’re gonna play Texas. Whew. I don’t mind playing one (tough game), on out of four. But I’ll tell you, when you play BYU and Fresno at Fresno, come on. I want to keep my job, y’all.”
From what we’re hearing, the coach isn’t exactly thrilled with some of the support — of lack thereof — he’s recently gotten from his boss, either. Remember, after UM’s loss to Vanderbilt, Boone let the public know that he’d asked Nutt to come in and meet with him the following Sunday.
“Houston and I met yesterday, and had a good discussion,” Boone said back on September 19th. “Certainly he’s disappointed and committed to correcting some of the issues he sees are correctable and fixable within the program. That’s what his job is, and that’s what he’ll be doing.”
Boone also said he wanted to see “a little bit more fire, a little bit more attitude” from Nutt’s players.
Nutt knows the lay of the land (having apparently been tipped to it by Mark Richt). He understands that fans want wins today, not yesterday:
“My Cotton Bowl victories are in the rear-view mirror. They don’t talk about ‘em no more. So every not and then I’ve got to bring ‘em up. Every now and then. But I know you’re only as good as your last one.”
And he also knows that Boone isn’t yelling “Remember the Cotton Bowls!” from the top of the Lyceum.
However you slice it, things don’t look too peachy for Nutt at the moment. Not only has his own boss handed him a tough schedule and publicly hung him out to dry post-Vandy, but Boone himself is under the gun. That pressure on Boone might lead him to do something drastic if things don’t turn around quickly in Oxford — like fire a coach after four seasons despite a pair of Cotton Bowl wins in his first two.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Think Boone couldn’t win a little fan support for himself by holding his nose and hiring proven-winner-but-known-wild-card Mike Leach?
It’s a long season and the Rebels certainly have time to turn things around. But if we had to put money on one man surviving at Ole Miss this fall, we’d put that cash on Boone, not Nutt.