Response to an Irrelevant Blogger | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Response to an Irrelevant Blogger

This week, John Yargo writes in the JFP about The Ole Miss Rebels and their Irregular Season. You can follow him at The Irregular Season Blog. As you can see, this "prolific writer" has all of two (2) followers.

Irrelevant Blogger,

The misconceptions presented in this article are frankly astounding. You cunningly pass off half-truths and half-baked notions which are not only refutable by statistics and recent results, but also by common sense. Though I'm sure from the friendly confines of Orlando Fla. you've painstakingly researched a football team which hails from another time zone, I have trouble believing you crossed every 't' and dotted every....lower case 'j'.

In fact, I wonder if you wrote this article several weeks ago, and it's just now being featured in this paper. Taking this possibility into account, it's funny how irrelevant your article becomes after Ole Miss begins to once again succeed.

You begin this aberration by comparing the Egg Bowl to the Apple Cup.

Currently, The Washington Huskies are 3-5 and the Washington State Cougars are 1-6.

The Ole Miss Rebels are 5-2 and ranked #25 in the latest polls. Miss. State is coming off of a tough loss to the Florida Gators, the 2009 National Champions. Given a few bounces of the ball in State's favor, they could have pulled out a miracle.

Egg Bowl > Apple Cup. Always. There is no comparison. Perhaps the juxtaposition was your petty attempt at humor. Perhaps if the two Miss. schools had more dismal records, the statement would have been humorous. Instead, it appears you failed at hyperbole.

You then paint the Ole Miss Rebels as the biggest pre-season disappointment in all of college football. That may be true. However, it was people like yourself who planted the Rebels at the top of the polls, not the Rebels themselves.

Next, you decide to take potshots at Coach Houston Nutt. Very strange indeed. You label him as one of the worst front-runners in college football, citing his inability to develop quarterbacks.

First, you say he lacks leadership. Well, maybe while researching this article on wikipedia.org, you missed the part in Houston Nutt's personal entry where it lists his two (2) SEC Coach of the Year awards, the same amount of people who follow your blog, and also his National Coach of the Year award. Though I may be mistaken, I'm pretty sure it's not an easy task to accumulate three coaching awards while also possessing sub-par leadership skills. Talent can only get you so far.

Consider the three years prior to his arrival. At Ole Miss, Head Coach Ed Orgeron recruited some special talent, yet never won an in-conference contest. A year later, with virtually the same players, Nutt shows up in Oxford and leads the Rebels to a Cotton Bowl victory while also garnering a SEC Coach of the Year award.

This amazing turn-around mirrored his first year at Arkansas. In 1998, he was placed with a Razorbacks squad that was picked to finish last in the division. Instead, the 'backs finished 9-3. In his first six seasons at Arkansas, his teams went to a bowl game each year. Again, talent can only get you so far. Each year, USC and Florida succeed thanks to a mix of solid coaching and All-Galaxy recruits. But when you are coaching in the state of Arkansas, for heavens sakes, it takes some superb coaching.

Nutt is also not a "quarterback killer." You listed a few quarterbacks who failed to meet expectations, but also omitted former NFL quarterback Clint Stoerner who set several school records while under the direction of Houston Nutt. Why the omission?

Also, one quarterback you mentioned, Matt Jones, didn't even deserve to be listed as an underachiever. He also set schools records while in college. He, too, went on to the NFL, though as a wide receiver.

Mentioning the infamous prima donna of all prima donnas, quarterback Mitch Mustain, is most amusing. Both Mustain and his mother became critical of Nutt's coaching methods, and Mustain decided to leave Arkansas for greener pastures to 'star and lead' the University of Southern California.

Currently, Mr. Mustain is the Trojan's third-string quarterback, 'leading' the scout team.

Mr. Irrelevant Blogger, you had to have known about Mustain's current status. It is certainly national news, and also widely accepted that he is not as talented as his ego would have you think.

My most cherished blunder of this article comes next. You gush over the coaching 'genius' of Gus Malzahn, the "top candidate for the Frank Boyles Assistant Coach Award," even going as far as pimping out his book, "The Hurry-Up No-Huddle: An Offensive Philosophy" (Coaches Choice, 2003, $19.95). Do you collect royalties or some sort of commission? Well, I hope you still collect royalties when this page-turner gets relegated into the local bargain bin.

After a surprising 5-0 start, the Malzahn-led Tigers have lost three straight games. The offense went from incredible to atrocious, quickly. In those three losses, the Tigers have been outscored 47-96, mounting only 10 points in last week's horrendous loss to LSU.

You applaud Malzahn for "the wildcat" formation, which his credit is due, but then criticize the Rebels for not utilizing Dexter McCluster enough. Maybe you are new, chief, but Dexter was named SEC Player of the Week after racking up 260 all-purpose yards last week again Arkansas. That means he is being utilized.

Again, I wonder if you wrote this weeks ago, because most of this hardly makes sense. You pass along half-truths and half-baked notions, most likely stolen from other ill-informed bloggers and internet message boards.

The best part of all? You might have actually been paid for your contribution.

Previous Comments

ID
152953
Comment

Nutt lead Ogeron's team to the Cotton Bowl. They beat Texas. Ogeron had lead the team to that point, but got fired before the Cotton Bowl. If I recall the timeline right, I don't have time to google it all.

Author
Ironghost
Date
2009-10-29T16:47:21-06:00
ID
152958
Comment

Iron- Ogeron got fired after going for it on 4th down with a 14 point lead against State and not making it when he should have punted and turned the ball over to State in great field position. That was the last straw in his lousy coaching. He might be a great recruiter but he isn't a head coach. Ole Miss went to the Cotton Bowl last year, Nutt's first year and beat Texas Tech not Texas.

Author
BubbaT
Date
2009-10-29T17:36:30-06:00
ID
152961
Comment

Man, something got under Jackson's collar.

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2009-10-29T17:56:02-06:00
ID
152963
Comment

I was thinking they had Nutt hired before Ogeron was even out the door good. He came in and coached the Cotton Bowl the same year Ogeron was booted.

Author
Ironghost
Date
2009-10-29T18:31:53-06:00
ID
152965
Comment

Iron- you might be thinking of David Cutcliffe, he replaced Tuberville before the Independence Bowl in 98.

Author
BubbaT
Date
2009-10-29T18:56:02-06:00
ID
152972
Comment

Yeah. What compounded the problem was Nutt led Arkansas to the Cotton Bowl, but resigned and went to the Rebs practically hours later. Vaugely Similar circumstances and lack of time to sort it out. :)

Author
Ironghost
Date
2009-10-30T08:19:29-06:00
ID
152995
Comment

Dear reader: Thank you for your kindly response. Not to be too sensitive, I would like to address a few of your concerns. Mostly, Nutt's poor "natural leadership skills" refers to his lack of personal accountability and his unreliability in adverse situations. That does not mean he can't lead. It means he avoids opportunities to lead. In each of the last three years, his teams have backed down from adversity and lost to inferior opponents. (Note: I did not place Ole Miss "at the top of the polls," though I welcome any chance to over-hype teams in the future.) Nutt is a good coach and a good coaching fit at Ole Miss. Also, he has a reputation for emphasis on academics and protects his players, both admirable strengths. But he could be an elite coach if he became more adaptable and a better leader, though. But history shows that he won't. He will fire someone, have meager success, fall short, and repeat, with the predictable results of an 8-4 record. The 5-2 record of the Ole Miss Rebels is a bit misleading, too, with victories over UAB (2-5, 2-2 in Conference USA), Memphis (2-6, 1-4 in Conference USA), SELA (2-1 in Southland Conference), and Vanderbilt and Arkansas, who currently share a total of 1 SEC victory. Probably, at best, Ole Miss will have an SEC record of 4-4, with a signature victory over Tennessee??? That's an abject failure in terms of the talent they have. Let me go ahead and put my neck out: I believe Auburn will pull the upset at home over Ole Miss tomorrow, on Saturday. Wouldn't that be interesting? (Note: I do not receive royalties from Malzahn's book, though I would be in the market for a bargain bin copy.) Snead and McCluster had a great day against Arkansas (3-4). So did the mediocre offenses of Georgia and Alabama. Granted, Mitch Mustain did not have the make-up to succeed as a college quarterback. You cite Clint Stoerner and Matt Jones as NFL level talents? Combined, they spent a total of eight years in the NFL, which is almost as many days as Jones has spent in prison (6) during his illustrious career. Moving on. Let me further cite record-setting quarterback Stoerner's momentary mental collapse (see the Stoerner fumble) against Tennessee on November 13, 1998, as evidence of Nutt's poor leadership skills. Also, that 1999 team's collapse over the last few games (1998); his Arkansas team's last minute loss to Alabama (2007); a loss to Florida that would have secured a spot in the national championship (2006). Big game, big loss. Mr. Nutt, it's not a fluke if it's also a habit. And, one last thing, pointing out the scarceness of blog followers and attacking the rigor of sports journalism in the city of Orlando seems in poor taste. Not to further alienate any potential blog followers, I conclude by saying that I eagerly anticipate both the Egg Bowl and the Apple Cup, as major college football events. Hope to chat again soon.

Author
John Yargo
Date
2009-10-30T23:24:31-06:00
ID
153007
Comment

The problems of perception and regional disadvantages that Ole Miss face are legitimate. I lived in Massachusetts for two years, and heard casual accusations of racism and ignorance on occassion. Of course, Ole Miss doesn't have to reach too far outside the Deep South to accumulate enough great talent. But, no offense, most 18-year-olds would take SoCal over Oxford (or Athens, or Baton Rouge, or Gainesville, or Austin) most of the time anyway. Furthermore, Bruce Feldman suggests in his book, "Meat Market," that Ole Miss's current athletic program has higher academic standards than USC (SoCal) or Miami. Might it be reasonable to claim that Ole Miss's athletic department has given those claims of racism and parochialism extra juice, baquan2000? Look at the last two football head-coach hires. Ed Orgeron had no business being a head coach, never, anywhere. Ever. He's a great recruiter and position coach. Nevertheless, no major college football program would gambled on someone with no head-coaching or coordinator experience and a dark history of domestic abuse and alcoholism. After that debacle, the hiring of a retread coach with a 44-39 record in the SEC, 0 BCS Bowl appearances, and 0 conference championships to replace him (Houston Nutt) was equally puzzling. That usually doesn't work (see Jim Mora, Jr., in the pros). Where is the chutzpah, the creativity, the vision? As Ironghost and BubbaT suggest above, they didn't even try to snap up a sharp young coach, like DeWayne White, Charlie Strong, Chris Peterson, or Steve Sarkisian, and hired Nutt almost immediately. After all, to an impartial football fan, Nutt's resume doesn't exactly scream "Can't Miss!". A reasonable conclusion? That Ole Miss's athletic program wants to hire pedestrian white conservative Southern coaches that can cozy up with alumni and boosters. Less important is winning games, winning the conference, attending a BCS Bowl, or occassionally being in the hunt for a national championship. In its own way, the Ole Miss athletic program has given legs to the charges of parochialism and racism leveled at the state and university and they have a 5-3 record (with the 77th most difficult schedule-that's the easiest in the SEC and easier than the overall competition that Rice, Tulane, FIU, and New Mexico face this year) and no wins against winning teams to show for it. See you in a mediocre postseason bowl again, All-Time Great Coach Houston. Again, I am not calling for his head!

Author
John Yargo
Date
2009-11-02T14:45:42-06:00

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