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Nutt searches for answers, preaches patience

Petre Thomas/The Daily Mississippian

 

When Ole Miss head football coach Houston Nutt got back to Oxford, he was still thinking about the disappointment he experienced this past Saturday in Nashville, Tenn.

“Anyone who was disappointed Saturday, you can multiply that times 99 for me,” Nutt said. “It all starts with me. Now the bottom line is, it’s up to us as coaches (and) players, to do our job.” 

Saturday’s 30-7 loss to Vanderbilt featured an Ole Miss offense that committed five turnovers and gained only 234 yards of total offense.

“I’ve been here once before, and I understand what it takes,” he said. “We’ve got some good young men who are playing hard, (and) we’ve got to get more.”

Nutt said all 11 players have to show up and go all out on each play, and many times that is not happening, especially on offense.

“Even though Vanderbilt is better than they’ve been in the past, there’s just no excuse for the way we played offensively,” Nutt said. “There’s just none — can’t play like that.”

After the game, Ole Miss offensive coordinator David Lee talked about simplifying the offense. On Monday, Nutt echoed those same sentiments, agreeing that the Rebels needed to make some changes to the offensive playbook.

“Obviously, we can’t get lined up — that’s what frustrates me the most, don’t get lined up, substitutions not right, illegal procedure,” Nutt said. 

“That can’t be a part of our personality. We will cut back a little bit to make sure we know exactly what we are doing.”

Nutt said he will not be taking over the play calling for Lee after this past Saturday’s struggles on offense.

“I’m going to leave that with David (Lee) right now,” he said of play-calling responsibilities. 

“I’m going to be more involved, really with everything, especially on offense. But I still believe in these coaches, I know that we’re better than that, and I just know that they’re going to get it done.”

One of the most the troubling aspects of the Rebels’ loss to the Commodores was that the coaches and players knew the game was incredibly important to the season, but looked flat and failed to respond to adversity and mistakes.

“We’ll get the effort; we’ll get the right attitude, and that wasn’t it Saturday,” Nutt said. “I understand that, I fully understand that.” 

Having a bad week was a curve ball, Nutt said, because the Rebels’ had their best week of practice.

“If you came to practice last week, we had our best week,” Nutt said. “For whatever reason, we didn’t do it. We did not get the job done on Saturday.”

Even with a 1-2 start to the season, Nutt preached patience with this team.

“I want to win for our fans, for our players,” he said. “And I don’t want our fans to give up on this team.”

Nutt said the team has 33 players that are freshmen or redshirt freshmen.

“Thirty-three first-time players,” Nutt said. “There are a lot of good things that are going to happen, but you have to hang in there.”

In the short term, Ole Miss hosts a Georgia team this Saturday going through nearly the same season of tribulation and uncertainty as the Rebels are.