OXFORD – The passage of time may eventually make the Arkansas game a less emotional encounter for Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt, but that time hasn’t arrived.
Nutt compiled a 75-48 record in 10 seasons at Arkansas before he was hired following the 2007 season to replace former Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron.
Kickoff for the Razorbacks (3-3, 1-3 SEC) first visit to Oxford with Nutt as coach of the Rebels (4-2, 1-2) is set for 11:21 a.m. Saturday.
The circumstances surrounding Nutt’s departure at Arkansas were not ideal, and last year’s meeting, a 23-21 Ole Miss win in Fayetteville, was marked at game’s end by fans from both schools shouting their coach’s names to both support the new hires and to taunt one another.
“That’s just the way the game is,” Nutt said. “It’s important, because it’s the next game on our schedule. Who it’s against makes it more special.”
Nutt’s decision to leave Arkansas was not received favorably by most of the Arkansas players, some of whom he still keeps in contact with.
“There are a few who still call,” Nutt said, but those calls come mostly in the summer.
Nutt is 13-6 in 11⁄2 seasons at Ole Miss. His replacement at Arkansas, Bobby Petrino, is 8-10.
Patterson in, Johnson out
– Sophomore offensive lineman Rishaw Johnson is suspended for the second straight week.
Nutt said in August that Johnson would miss games because of unspecified team rules violations but didn’t say at that time what games the player would miss.
Freshman wide receiver Pat Patterson, who was suspended for last week’s 48-13 win over UAB, will be available this week.
Patterson has seven catches for 104 yards and one touchdown.
– Cornerback Marshay Green met with his doctor on Monday and was awaiting results of that examination to determine his availability for this week.
“If it was up to me I’d have played last week,” said Green, who sustained a cracked rib and a bruised kidney against Alabama on Oct. 10.
There had been concern over the severity of the knee injury for true freshman running back Tim Simon, who sustained a torn ACL at South Carolina on Sept. 24. On Monday Nutt said indications are that Simon’s injury was not career-ending.
– The good times Ole Miss fans enjoyed last season can be attributed in large part to the Rebels’ win at Arkansas, quarterback Jevan Snead said.
“I definitely think it was our springboard game. It got us on a roll,” he said.
The Rebels had lost 24-20 at No. 2 Alabama the week before. The Arkansas game was the first of what became an eight-game win streak that did not end until this season’s 16-10 loss at South Carolina.
Now Snead is hoping the springboard game has already come.
“Hopefully last week was that game for us, and we can pick it up and get rolling,” he said.
Snead was 15-for-22 for 240 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in the Rebels’ 48-13 win over UAB.
Seven of his nine interceptions came in a two-game span, three in a win over Vanderbilt, four in a loss to Alabama. Snead’s other two interceptions were in the season opener, a 45-13 win at Memphis.
For the season Snead is 80-for-161 passing for 1,108 yards, 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions. His 120.91 efficiency rating is ninth among SEC starters.
– In the most extensive action he’s seen since suffering a high ankle sprain against Southeastern Louisiana, freshman linebacker D.T. Shackelford had seven tackles, four solos, and a half tackle for loss against UAB.
“I’m still going to treatment, and it’s still getting better. That was the first time since Southeastern that I was able to play like I could,” he said.
Shackelford has 13 tackles and two tackles for loss as the backup to Jonathan Cornell at middle linebacker. He did not play against Vanderbilt and played very little against Alabama.
He says preparation has helped him get off to a good start with early playing time.
“The playbook is tough. In high school you don’t get a thick book and say learn this. If you don’t know it the first day of practice, it’s complicated. That’s just one of the challenges of playing college football. It’s the next level up. Our coaches stress teaching you a lot, so it’s not as hard as it seems. They work with you a lot and go the extra mile with you.”
Contact Parrish Alford at 678-1600 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal