As spring football begins Monday, with it begins the process of the Rebels trying to distance themselves from a 4-8 season and trying to climb back into relevance in the toughest division of the toughest conference in the country.
Moving on is what everyone wants to do, and the two big questions are will the Rebels be better, and how.
There are easy answers for neither, and not a lot of hard facts or experienced playmakers to rally around for the idea of a quick fix.
To start with, I think the Rebels will be better for a couple of reasons. Typically in his career, Houston Nutt has followed a bad season with good or at least better. That wasn't the case in 2005 when Arkansas followed a 5-6 season with a 4-7 campaign. Depth was not good and was affected by NCAA sanctions.
Nutt understands he needs to follow bad with good this time.
I think pride comes into play on the coaching staff, and a lot of eyes will be on the new hires, coordinator David Lee and receivers coach Gunter Brewer on offense, secondary coach Keith Burns on defense.
From a personnel standpoint, there's not a position on defense in which Ole Miss can say it was very good last year. Only three starters return on that side of the ball. Could be a mixed blessing, but you arrive at the point of depending on inexperienced players, even if they are talented.
Will there be new technique in the secondary (less cushion defensive backs in man coverage), and will it make a difference?
It's possible though not automatic that Kentrell Lockett will be granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA. If so, that's a huge pick-up for the defensive line.
It's possible that linebackers could be pretty good. Clarence Jackson is back in the picture. Mike Marry has a year under his belt. D.T. Shackelford is back. C.J. Johnson is signed. Only Shackelford brings a good deal of experience to the position.
On offense it's easier to see possible improvement based on the anticipated health, stability and depth along the offensive line, but there will be a new starting quarterback, no matter who it is.
I'm thinking junior college transfer Zack Stoudt emerges, but it remains to be seen. Nathan Stanley has been in the program for quite some time, and that's an advantage.
Both are pocket-style quarterbacks. More mobile options in Randall Mackey and Barry Brunetti will be in the mix too.
Brunetti could really push for the job, but he too is awaiting an NCAA ruling, asking for the body to waive its requirement that he sit out a year after transferring from West Virginia. It's wait-and-see on Brunetti's status.
If they can get productive play under center and on the line, it looks like the Rebels could be pretty good on offense. There's depth and talent at running back with Brandon Bolden, Enrique Davis and Jeff Scott, and it appears Nutt helped himself at receiver in the signing period.