Depth is a problem for Ole Miss football right now, as Houston Nutt noted when asked Saturday afternoon what his program is missing that would allow it to get over the hump in the SEC.
The Rebels will carry a 10-game conference losing streak to Auburn Saturday night.
“We just don't have depth right now. We've got some guys banged up. I'm not going to sit here and go through it. You know all that. It is what it is right now. We're playing a lot of young people, and we don't have the word 'next.' We can't say, 'next,' especially when you lose a Wayne Dorsey, a Marcus Temple. That hurts. That's hard.”
Clearly the losses of Dorsey and Temple were big. It was surprising to see the secondary play as well as it did in pass coverage considering all the shuffling and pondering that went on during the week. Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson did not throw an interception but also did not throw a touchdown pass nor did he reach 250 passing yards.
The depth issue is real, though, and it isn't only about Dorsey and Temple. It's deeper than that and goes back to a blog post I had in May regarding retention of recruiting classes. By my count in the spring, 27 of 83 combined signees from the 2008, 2009 and 2010 classes either did not make it to campus or left with eligibility remaining.
Some of those were signed for PR reasons, knowing they wouldn't become eligible. Some who left with eligibility remaining needed to leave.
But the common denominator for all 27 is that they're no longer in the program. Among the departed are defensive backs Lekenwic Haynes, Jared Mitchell, Tig Barksdale, Ryan Campbell, Dele Junaid, Tony Grimes and Eric Mitchell. Also gone are defensive linemen Mike Thomas, Delvin Jones and Craig Drummond. None of these were PR signings.
The attrition has slowed with the 2011 class. As Nutt says, it's a very strong and productive class, but it has to be backed up with another class or two to bring the “next” word back into the picture.