There were many questions about Houston Nutt's job status coming into the 2011 college football season. Nobody was happy after a 4-8 season; that included fans, alums, players, and administration.
Nutt failed to help his job security Saturday in a 30-7 loss to Vanderbilt in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.
“I’m just real disappointed, very disappointed because I know we’re better than that,” a dejected Nutt said.
Scoreless midway through the second quarter, the Rebels allowed Vanderbilt to pull away with 21 points inside the final six minutes before halftime. The Commodores (3-0) now have won five of the last seven games in this series.
The Rebels looked far from sharp with five turnovers, six penalties and a bevy of missed tackles.
If there was just one aspect of the game the Rebels needed improvement in that would be one things. The problem is Ole Miss isn't doing anything well.
The Rebels showed a lack of discipline with four false start penalties by three different offensive linemen. Center A.J. Hawkins also sailed a snap high over Mackey’s head early in the third quarter, leading to a safety when Jeff Scott kicked it through the end zone.
Nutt said he was most disappointed in the offense after a good week of practice. He even got senior running back Brandon Bolden back from a hairline fracture in his left ankle in the opening loss to BYU. Bolden ran eight times for 39 yards, though not nearly enough.
To Nutt's credit, he didn't sugar coat the situation. “We could never get anything in synch, could never get anything going offensively,” Nutt said. “That’s what was frustrating. Just looked bad, looked really bad.”
It doesn't get any easier for the Rebels in the coming weeks. The first four SEC opponents on the schedule are Georgia, Alabama, Arkanssas, and Auburn. At 2-6, can Nutt keep his job?