Nutt's Off! Ole Miss Coach Thinks His Team Is in Contention in SEC West

Charlie MillsonCorrespondent IOctober 13, 2010

Nutt's Off! Ole Miss Coach Thinks His Team Is in Contention in SEC West

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    In his weekly remarks to the press before facing the eighth ranked Alabama Crimson Tide this coming Saturday, Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt made comments that might give even the most ardent Rebel fan some pause.

    Regarding the SEC Western Division crown, Coach Nutt said his team can possibly go on to Atlanta to face the East's champion.

    "It is all jammed up," he said, and added, "Anybody can win.  Its tough.  This western side is very, very difficult.  We're right in the middle of it."

    "Anybody can beat anybody," the coach said.

    In addition, Nutt spoke about his team's chances against the wounded Tide squad, 'Bama's running game, coach Nick Saban, and what his team looks like now that Jeremiah Masoli is under center.

Facing 'Bama's Rushing Game

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    "We know that there is a Heisman Trophy player in Mark Ingram, and Trent Richardson is not far behind him.  We fully expect the ball to be in their hands."

    "You have to be careful when you try to overpopulate that line of scrimmage (to stop the run).  They have good receivers. You have to pick and choose your times.  I fully expect the ball to be in the hands of those (running backs) a lot."

    "(South Carolina) didn't let the Alabama (running backs) get going."  

The Bye Week: Good or Bad?

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    "I have seen bye weeks work both ways.  When you've been in this league long enough, you see them go both ways. What I mean is that sometimes bye weeks are disruptive."

    "In our case, we needed it because we have never had this many concussions and injuries.  We had a lot of things happening, so we needed it.  It came at a really good time for us."

    "Each team is different, but I'm glad we had a bye week."

Can the Ole Miss D Stop the Tide?

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    "We are looking at a couple of different (defensive) scenarios.  We want to challenge (defensive end) Wayne Dorsey to be at his best and get going.  I think he has improved."

    "We're trying to build depth.  Between (freshman DE) Cameron Wiggam and (DT) LaMark Armour, we're always trying to have the right chemistry.  We're always going to play around eight guys, and keep them fresh and fast."

    "If (defensive players with injuries) are back, I'll feel really good.  I'm hoping that they're going to stay healthy and keep going.  We haven't had contact, but they moved around well and were fresh.  I'm excited that they're back on the field.  Now they can take the next step and do a little form tackling on Tuesday and we'll see how that goes."

    "It looks good right now."

On The Rebels' Improvement and Chemistry With Masoli

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    "I feel like we've made a lot of progress.  I wish we could start over today.  We have gotten better.  We got back to fundamentals and got back to doing the little things right.  You can never take that for granted."

    "I think we're tackling better and are being more physical.  You have to as you get into this conference stretch.  We are taking care of the ball better.  We have to keep winning the turnover margin.  I feel like we've improved a great deal.  We have to keep improving though."

    "I think that the chemistry between Masoli and the team has always been there.  He is a guy we haven't had to worry about.  He has earned his way in with hard work and tremendous attitude."

    "He wants to please and fit in.  He is a play-maker."

On Saban and Facing 'Bama at Homecoming

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    "We know what kind of atmosphere we're getting ready to walk into.  We know the environment and how good they are.  Nick [Saban] and their football team is good, and we know that."

    "I don't know if there is that much of a difference (in a later start).  There is a lot of time during the day leading up to the game.  If you had your choice, you would like to play a little earlier.  We don't have that, so we just have to deal with it and get ready to go.  Our guys like playing at night.  Eight o'clock is a little late though."

    "I'm excited about our guys being back on the field.  They were excited about being out there, and we know now we're going into the teeth of our schedule."