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Friday, April 30, 2010

Two-A-Days: Ole Miss Rebels

Last year, we spent two weeks talking with beat writers from around the SEC to get a feel for how Georgia's competition stood at the end of spring.

To read previous entries, click HERE.

Ole Miss in a flash:

Head Coach: Houston Nutt, 3rd year
2009 Record: 9-4 (4-4 SEC), beat Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl
2009 Stats: Total offense, 402.38 ypg (5th SEC, 44th nationally); Total defense, 314.69 ypg (4th SEC, 21st nationally)
Coaching Changes: Offensive coordinator Kent Austin left following the 2009 season to take over as head coach at Cornell. In his place, Nutt hired Dave Rader, who last worked as OC under Mike Shula at Alabama. Rader will coach QBs and share OC duties with O line coach Mike Markuson.
Starters Returning: Offense (4), Defense (6), Special Teams (1)
Key Player Losses: QB Jevan Snead, RB Dexter McCluster, WR Shay Hodge, DE Greg Hardy
Big Games: @ Alabama (10/16), Arkansas (10/23), Auburn (10/30), @ LSU (11/20)
Non-Conference Slate: Jacksonville State (9/4), Tulane (9/11), Fresno State (9/25), Louisiana-Lafayette (11/6)

Houston Nutt took Ole Miss to the Cotton Bowl in each of his first two seasons, but the job gets much tougher this year with the departure of the bulk of his offense from last year's team. The schedule isn't particularly daunting aside from a three-game stretch in October against Alabama, Arkansas and Auburn, but there's definitely going to be a lot of work for the Rebels to get done between now and then.

As for how far Ole Miss progressed this spring, I checked in with Rebels beat writer Parrish Alford of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. Here's what he had to say…

David Hale: Jevan Snead's decision to leave for the NFL caught a lot of fans by surprise, but how much has this left Ole Miss in the lurch? How impressive were Raymond Cotton and Nathan Stanley this spring? What's the status of Cotton's labrum injury?

Parrish Alford: Ole Miss is left in the lurch, because Snead was 18-8 in 26 starts. There is only one QB on the roster, Nathan Stanley, with game experience, and Stanley received more than mop-up duty just once in five appearances last year. Snead threw 20 picks, but his 20 touchdowns can't be overlooked. He has the tools, and if you're a coach, you'd choose to take an 18-8 veteran and take the chance of working him through his problems, rather than go into a season inexperienced under center.

That being said, the question was asked of Houston Nutt in the spring if he thought he could be better at quarterback. Stanley had a good spring with accurate throws and improved decision-making. In his two seasons of practice he's thrown a nice deep ball, and he'll surprise some folks with his mobility.

Stanley won the job with his own performance, but getting there was certainly made easier by the absence of his primary competition, Raymond Cotton. It was discovered late in spring that Cotton has a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. It may or may not require immediate surgery. If it does not, Cotton showed enough in the spring game to indicate he'll continue to push Stanley in August. If surgery is required this summer, the Rebels become very thin at QB. Two inexperienced quarterbacks are definitely better than one inexperienced quarterback.

Junior college transfer Randall Mackey will arrive in the summer. He's extremely athletic, and he'll help out. Nutt has mentioned him as in the mix for starter, but it's hard to believe a guy who won't practice with his teammates until August will win the job. It didn't work out well when the previous administration tried that with Brent Schaeffer.

Needless to say, Mackey's role will increase greatly if Cotton has surgery.

DH: I'm guessing no one can step in and replace Dexter McCluster, who did a little of everything for Ole Miss last year. But from what you saw this spring, is there someone who can at least help bridge the gap as the Rebels transition their offense?

PA: Dexter McCluster will have to be replaced with several people. Sophomore wide receiver Jesse Grandy will do some of the same things as far as getting on the edge with short passing and taking off with a shotgun snap. Grandy had a really good spring and showed good hands downfield as well.

As far as what McCluster did between the tackles, there are a three backs, all with some SEC experience, but none who has been “the guy.”

Brandon Bolden enters spring at No. 1. They tried to make Bolden “the guy” last year, and had he taken over, McCluster would not have become the McCluster that people remember. He'd have still played a key role as a wideout and utility player but not as a 25-carry a game tailback. Enrique Davis and Rodney Scott are the other top backs. They're mostly straight-ahead runners. The wiggle comes from deeper down the depth chart with converted DB Derrick Herman and redshirt freshman Korvic Neat. That difference could get Herman or Neat on the field.

DH: With so much transition on offense, how much pressure is on defensive stalwarts like Kentrell Lockett and Jarrell Powe to carry the team? How have they responded this spring to that pressure?

PA: Kentrell Lockett and Jerrell Powe had really good springs. The DL typically dominated the OL, although the OL improved and got in some licks later in the drills. There's no question the defense will have to carry this team early. There are four seniors on the 2-deep at tackle, but only Lockett with game experience at end.

DH: How much will the Rebels be counting on some of the JuCo transfers -- both the spring arrivals and the ones getting to campus this summer -- to help make up for all the personnel losses from last year? How did the JuCos already on campus perform this spring?

PA: JuCo transfers will play a key role. Wayne Dorsey will start at the end opposite, Lockett, and Damien Jackson could be a starter at safety.

The Rebels basically rotate three safeties between the strong and free positions, and Jackson will definitely get lots of action. He turned heads in the spring with his hits and his ability to break on the ball and make big plays.

Dorsey had a good spring too, and when his knowledge allows him to turn it loose, his speed will take over. He's quicker than a 6-8, 255-pounder should be.

That being said, there's an acclimation period for all newcomers. Dorsey and Jackson – and Mackey on offense – are expected to move through this pretty quickly.

DH: What's the mood from Houston Nutt at the end of spring practice? With so many new faces in key places, was he genuinely pleased with what he saw or is there still a good dose of concern heading into the summer?

PA: Houston's feeling coming out of spring is a mixed bag. He's further along in the secondary than he thought he'd be after seeing the play Jackson and redshirt freshman cornerback Charles Sawyer along with the veterans. He believes he has a good quarterback situation and is cautiously optimistic about his offensive line. He can't afford an injury there, and really needs good play from Rishaw Johnson at right guard.

The Rebels are a little more experienced at the tackles, but Johnson – who was suspended the back half of last season – can bring a more physical nature to the interior – where there will be three new starters. He can't afford an injury on the OL.

The plus side is the schedule, with Jacksonville State and Tulane out of the gate, gives a young team a chance to grow before opening SEC play at home on Sept. 18 against Vanderbilt.


Ah, "cautiously optimistic." Aren't we all. Many thanks to Parrish for the great insight. You can read his Ole Miss coverage HERE, check out his blog HERE and follow him on Twitter HERE.

So, what are your thoughts on Ole Miss this year? Can the Rebels' soft early schedule help them overcome the losses of Snead and McCluster? Or will this be a rebuilding season for Houston Nutt's crew?

And don't forget, we'll be wrapping up Two-A-Days with an in-depth look at Georgia, so if you have questions you want answered, leave them in the comments section here or send me an email at

NEXT UP: Georgia Tech on Monday.


Anonymous said...

Your curse is reversed! We got LeMay!

Anonymous said...

Well that is not exactly true that we got Christian LeMay.

"Unless Coach Richt or Coach Bobo are not there, or something else unforeseen happens, I will be a Georgia Bulldog.”

Ok. We can keep Mike Bobo.

National Junior Football Player of the Year according to MOST publications has chosen Coach Richt and The University of Georgia based upon the hook-up between Coach Richt and Christian LeMay.

17-year old Junior from North Carolina talks to Coach Richt about Life this week not football, and decides this is the place for the Quarterback who is going to enroll January 1 in time to play in the next G-Day Game next year. He will be the best QB on campus January 1, as he leaves Butler in December.

Florida, Louisiana State, Texas, Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, Notre Dame, Miami of Florida, Texas A&M, and Clemson all rather figured they had him.

His announcement came from his Church at 7 p.m. last night.

This legitimizes our Recruiting Class for 2011. A group of wide receivers, running backs, tight ends, and offensive linemen will follow this announcement with great interest and hope to join him here.

There is no way he Redshirts next year. He will not be here 4 years. He said he will Redshirt, but you have to look at the man, as that is his nature to say that, all the while inside he is burning it up to get ready for the 2011 season. Send him the playbook now. This will save Mike Bobo’s On-The-Job-Training.

It is what this football program has needed for 4 years before this 2010 season we must do without him.

State Champion 15-0 Butler High School North Carolina last year as a Junior, LeMay is the Gatorade Player of The Year in North Carolina. Now he has his Senior Season, and then January 2011, here.

2 Interceptions and 44 Touchdown Passes last season for the State Championship, he is a Pro Style Quarterback.

Christian also brings with him 2 younger brothers Uriah, Sophomore, and Benny 3 years behind that, and both of them will look hard here as well. Uriah could be the Starter this season at Independence, as their home becomes Independence District without them moving.

Coach Richt has gone into North Carolina and stolen their top talent every single year. Charlotte is just up I-85 from Athens, more than an hour, less than 2.

There is no question that Jeff Driskel is 2 inches taller, 25 lbs heavier, and frankly not as quick as Christian LeMay, but where the real difference is, is that Christian LeMay has a much stronger Pro-Style Arm.

It’s a 50-million dollar NFL arm.

Anonymous said...

Christian LeMay is considerably taller than Aaron Murray and faster. He is also quicker and has a better arm. In addition, he does line up under Center. Christian LeMay sort of commits and sort of doesn’t, but generally is considered to have committed, if we keep Mike Bobo, keep Coach Richt which was assure all along, and if nothing unforeseen happens – not exactly sure what that means, but Coach Richt I would certainly take that to mean, were I you Coach Richt, do NOT get another Commitment at Quarterback between April 30, 2010 and January 2011 when he enrolls.

Our Offensive Commitments for 2011 Recruiting Class were looking really looking poorly again, just as they did in 2010. The Defensive Commitments for the 2011 Recruiting Class were looking Fantastic again, just as they did in 2010 after bringing 11-year NFL Veteran Todd Grantham as our Defensive Coordinator. I still think our Running Backs’ coach and our Wide Receivers’ coach, need to switch positions. I am also totally unimpressed by the Quarterback coaching our Tight Ends, given our production at Tight Ends his 1st season with not 1 single Tight End catching more than 5 passes all of 2008 with Matthew Stafford, and especially given the fact that it took him until Game 12 of our 13-Game Season again last year to determine to start Orson Charles who only had 20 more catches his Freshman Year last year than Aron White (defending Zach Mettenberger) caught his freshman year 2008.

This changes everything.

THIS is the Most Significant Football Player to come to Georgia.

Mike Bobo, say thank you.

This is going to be fun the next 3 years starting January.

Hey vols, you did NOT get him.

Neither did Alabama, Louisiana State University nor Florida.

We are going to sign some big-time Recruits on Offense now for 2011.

Isn’t it amazing how 1 Player can change how you view the whole entire Program.

We will not be 3-8 over the next 11 games against Top 10 Final AP Poll teams, not after January. Aaron Murray needs to hope that he doesn’t get injured again, because Christian LeMay is bigger, better, stronger, faster and far more accurate with a far better arm and quicker than Aaron Murray.
He will be on the field 9/3/2011 ‘Tween The Hedges against Louisville, the week after against South Carolina, the week after that against Coastal Carolina, go on the road for the 1st time in his career against Ole Miss the week after that – all in September 2011.

When you throw only 2 Interceptions and 44 Touchdown Passes as a Junior in High School, Under Armor All-America Quarterback, you are certainly a Pro-Style Quarterback. And, Matthew Stafford was the # 1 Pick in the NFL Draft with nearly $50 million Guaranteed Dollars last year here, never mind what he did not do here on the field for us. In fact, that says more about us than anything that despite the fact that Matthew Stafford sucked here at UGA, he still was the # 1 NFL Draft Pick – just as he had been announced to be coming out of High School.

Guess what ?

So is Christian LeMay, and I predict great success for Georgia with Christian LeMay starting January.

He certainly has an Infectious Smile.

We will NOT be Number 21 in Recruiting Rankings 2011 now, like we were this 2010 season, and we will NOT be Number 15 in Rivals like we were for this 2010 season either, because we will sign Significant Offensive Players now with Christian LeMay saying unless something happens, he is coming here. Thank you Coach Richt. I hope he can beat Florida a couple times.

Anonymous said...

if uga puts up another 8-5 record, this kid might reconsider.

King Jericho said...

Thanks for all the info Thomas Brown. The first read I could find about Lemay coming to UGA. Granted I did only check here and GTP.

Anonymous said...

GTP is a worthless site, run by a lawyer who does not understand football and who wants to control what is said on his site.

He puts the most stupid title on every post, and he has like 4 or 5 thoughts during the day, he considers an entire blog point by itself.

He started at online athens a couple years after Coach Richt got here.

It is a waste of time trying to figure out his COME ON title for every blog.

Anonymous said...

Way too early to be getting excited about this. These kids change their minds at the drop of a hat no matter what they tell the press. I'll believe that he is playing for my Dawgs when I see him on the field and not a moment sooner.

Anonymous said...

patrick M. Sulley,

You want to talk about Coach Richt's SEC games.

So, too, does chazzo.

4-4 vs SEC 2009.
4-4 vs SEC 2006.

Doesn't have a Losing Record at UGA vs SEC teams any year ?

Those are not winning records against The SEC and are 2 of the last 4 years.

9-0 Alabama vs SEC 2009
8-1 Alabama vs SEC 2008.

9-0 Auburn vs SEC 2004
7-1 Auburn vs SEC 2005.

8-1 Florida vs SEC 2009
8-1 Florida vs SEC 2008
8-1 Florida vs SEC 2006.

8-1 LSU vs SEC 2003.

8-1 UGA vs SEC 2002, eight (8) years ago.

7-1 Ole Miss vs SEC 2003.

10 different SEC teams have gone through The SEC with 1-Loss or Less.

1 is Coach Richt.

That was 8 years ago, now this season.

By the way, this is not statistics :

Here is where we are in the last 4 years :

1-A Wins 2006-2009 (4 years)

1. Boise State 49
2. Florida 48
3. Texas 45
4. Ohio State 44
5. Brigham Young 43
6. Southern Cal 43
7. Oklahoma 42
7. Texas Christian 42
9. Cincinnati 41
10. Virginia Tech 41
11. Louisiana State 40
12. Penn State 40
13. Utah 40
14. West Virginia 40
15. Boston College 38
16. Central Michigan 38
17. Missouri 38
18. Wisconsin 38
19. Georgia 38
20. Texas Tech 37
21. Houston 36
22 Hawaii 36
23. Oregon 36
24. Oregon State 36
25. Rutgers 36
26. Georgia Tech 36

THESE are called WINS.

Wins are NOT statistics.

We are Number 19 in wins the last 4 years.

vs SEC East teams the last 4 years we are :

1-3 vs Florida
1-3 vs vols
2-2 vs Kentucky
3-1 vs South Carolina
3-1 vs Vanderbilt

THIS also is NOT a winning record the last 4 years in our own division of our own conference.

Therefore, UGA is NOT RELEVANT on the NATIONAL STAGE having NEVER beat a Top 10 Final AP Poll team in any bowl game.

3-8 overall Coach Richt Era vs Top 10 Final AP Poll teams David Greene beat # 4 Final AP Poll vols 2001, DJ Shockley beat # 6 Final AP Poll LSU for SEC Championship 2005, Matthew Stafford beat # 9 Final AP Poll Auburn. Coach Richt LOST the other 8 games vs Top 10 Final AP Poll teams.

We have NOT EVEN BEEN to The SEC Championship Game since 2005. This is 2010.

The last 4 National Championships have all 4 been by SEC teams. That is MY point. Coach Richt knocked the LID OFF THIS PROGRAM in 2001 when he beat # 4 vols with Verron Haynes wide open in the checkerboard end zone at Neyland Stadium; how is that knocking the LID OFF THIS PROGRAM when the SAME YEAR 2001 he LOST to South Carolina, Florida, Auburn and to Boston College ?

David Greene LOST 3 of 4 vs Florida including 2002 when he was 0-13 on 3rd down conversions.
Matthew Stafford LOST 2 of 3 vs Florida including his last year 49-10 yanked without TD.
Joe Tereshinski III who would be named Starter # 1 Depth Chart 2006, LOST in 2005 to Florida.
Joe Cox LOST to Florida last year 2009 by 41-17.
2-7 vs Florida.

2 National Championships as a DIRECT RESULT by Florida.
2 National Championships as a DIRECT RESULT by LSU.
2 National Championships as a DIRECT RESULT by Nick Saban.

We cannot get out of our own Division of our own Conference, let alone beat Top 10 Final AP Poll team in any bowl game.

2008 he LOST to Georgia tek with Knowshon Moreno and Matthew Stafford, without the win tek would have been 8-5 and NOT RANKED in the Final AP Poll Top 25.

Anonymous said...

8 Losses to NOT Top 25 Final AP Poll teams in 9 years Coach Richt Era :

One. 2009 he LOST to Oklahoma State playing Joe Cox with the flu and his chronic sore arm, with the win over UGA Okie State STILL WAS NOT RANKED in the Final AP Poll Top 25.

2009 he LOST to LSU who would have been 8-5 without the win, with the win LSU still beat NO Top 25 Final AP Poll team; but they beat us.

Two. 2009 he LOST to the vols 45-19 a 7-6 vols' team who would have been 6-7 without the win over us a losing record, with the win over us the vols STILL WERE NOT RANKED in the Top 25 of the Final AP Poll.

Three. 2009 he LOST to Kentucky a 7-6 team who would have been 6-7 without the win over us a losing record, with the win over us Kentucky STILL WERE NOT RANKED in the Top 25 of the Final AP Poll.

Four. 2007 he LOST to South Carolina a 6-6 team who did not even play in a bowl game, without the win over us a losing record, with the win over us USC STILL WERE NOT RANKED in the Top 25 of the Final AP Poll.

2007 he LOST to the vols 14-35 with Knowshon Moreno and Matthew Stafford. Starting 2002 the vols have NOT been ranked ahead of UGA any year in the Final AP Poll Top 25 but he has LOST to the vols HALF THE GAMES. Not 1 year has he beat both the vols and Florida. We cannot get out of our own division of our own conference.

2006 he LOST to the vols 51-33.

Five. 2006 he LOST to 4-8 Vanderbilt at HOME. 4-8 with the win over us and STILL YET ANOTHER NOT TOP 25 FINAL AP POLL team who beat us. 8 of these and none worse than this one. This one in a string the last 4 years of 5 CONSECUTIVE LOSSES vs SEC East teams. EVERY SEC EAST TEAM in a ROW beat Coach Richt in the last 4 years.

Anonymous said...

Six. 2006 he LOST to Kentucky an 8-5 team with the win over us and with the win NOT RANKED Top 25 Final AP Poll, and without the win 7-6 the same as they were last year when they ALSO BEAT US.

2003 he LOST to Florida an 8-5 team with the win over us and with the win RANKED Number 24 Top 25 Final AP Poll, and without the win 7-6 yet even this crappy Florida team beat us to run their record to 7-2 over us with 2 National Championships the last 4 years. Florida would NOT have been ranked in the Top 25 Final AP Poll without the win over us.

Seven. 2002 he LOST to Florida an 8-5 team with the win over us and with the win NOT RANKED Top 25 Final AP Poll, and without the win 7-6 yet even again this crappy Florida team beat us, holding David Greene to 0 of 13 on 3rd Down Conversions including the awful overthrow of Terrence Edwards wide open over the middle for the winning touchdown and for the National Championship. This game stands out. The very worst Florida team of the Coach Richt Era. How in the living hell did we go 0 for 13 on 3rd Down Conversions to have you come yelping in here that we were UNLUCKY against an UNRANKED should have been 7-6 team.

Eight. 2001 he LOST to a 7-5 Auburn team who with the win was NOT RANKED in the Top 25 Final AP Poll. Without the win over us Auburn would have not had a winning record at 6-6 just as UGA has NOT HAD A WINNING RECORD 2 of the last 4 years vs SEC teams at 4-4 in 2006 and 4-4 last year 2009, failing to have a QB ready in 2006 and 2009. Now, we don't have a QB ready again 2010. And, we have accomplished this throwing 3 men off the team since just the Start of Spring Practice, 38 over the last 3 years Arrested / Suspended according to David Hale of and 94 I have the URL Links for Arrested / Suspended in the Coach Richt Era including 2 of the last 4 kicked off the team in the last 2 weeks for beating up a girl and accosting a girl – 1 ranked Top 10 QB in the nation and the other also ranked in the Top 10 at his position, two 4-Star Top Recruits. So, now Coach Richt announces that he has fired his entire defensive staff except the recruiting coordinator DT coach, all the special teams’ coaches, and is taking OVER ENTIRELY the offense from those misfits all coaching positions they themselves NEVER PLAYED.

8 teams NOT Top 25 Final AP Poll teams have beat Coach Richt in his 1st nine years.


It is NOT the BEST TEAMS in The SEC that have beat him that has prevented him from actually being what you ascribe to him anyway, although it is quite clear that they too have beat him 8 of the 11 games Coach Richt has played against Top 10 Final AP Poll teams, but these 8 LOSSES to NOT TOP 25 Final AP Poll teams who have prevented him from being what you say he is anyway with obviously a LOUSY COACHING STAFF Coach Richt “assembled” here for 9 years now. So a recruit who can change all this says keep Mike Bobo and I will come there, maybe. So, keep him. But, 14 interceptions a year for 4 years, 21 fumbles a year for 4 years, and # 96 in Penalties for 4 years, I would have FIRED Mike Bobo before now. So, too, would have Coach Richt, or he would NOT have taken away ALL HIS RESPONSIBILITIES to do that and to NOT LOSE TO 8 teams NOT RANKED Top 25 Final AP Poll already in 9 years.

Anonymous said... are ruining a perfectly good UGA blog with your asinine post.