November 29, 2007

Rebel players talk about Nutt hiring

While Ole Miss fans hung on every word, reacted to every rumor and made every prediction about whom the next Rebel head coach would be, the Rebel players waited in a state of flux.

Friday, they suffered a devastating loss at Mississippi, and Saturday, they were without a coach.

Uncertainty was in the air.

"A lot of things can go through a young player's head," junior Maurice Miller said. "They need to know what's going to happen so they can think about their future plans and the possibilities they have."

Wednesday, the Rebels got a chance to discuss those plans and possibilities with Houston Nutt - their new head coach.

Nutt met with players inside the team meeting room at the Indoor Practice Facility.

After the meeting, one-by-one players strolled in to meet the media, and something was different.

"You can look around, everybody's feeling good. They can relax and be themselves," sophomore Cordera Eason said. "No one is worrying too much - you just do your job and play your role. Everyone can breathe."

That collective sigh of a relief didn't come as much of a shock to wide receiver Marshay Green.

"Coach Nutt comes from a winning program. I know he can bring winning here," Green said. "Winning can be with the players, and it can be all around us. I felt like he was going to say what was really on his mind."

The turnaround from uncertainty to confidence in the program's new direction got made Miller's head spin.

"With the fast pace of everything, it's weird because I'm still trying to catch up," he said. "I'm very excited and interested in seeing how the program turns around."

Whatever Nutt told his players had them believing. Wide receiver Mike Wallace said he's convinced he'll make even more plays in Nutt's offense.

"He's going to work with what we have and the players he has," Wallace said. "I think I'll get a nice bit of this offense because I'm going to come out everyday working hard."

And most of the Rebels who spoke Wednesday are ready to get that work started.

"My body's still hurting; I mean, our season just ended Friday. But with a new coach, it gives you a whole new outlook," Wallace said. Give me a week or two, and I'll be ready for some more games - a whole new season."


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