The message from Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt to his players is simple: Hang on.
One less player is hanging on this week after Nutt announced Monday that junior wide receiver Melvin Harris had been dismissed.
At 6-foot-6, Harris created match-up considerations for opposing secondaries. He was second on the team with 30 receptions last year, first in receiving yards with 408.
He missed the first three games of the season with back problems, but Nutt, without specifics, cited other issues that led to the dismissal of the metro Atlanta native.
"We've really tried to help him for three years. I don't want to get in to all that was involved. He will continue to go to school and hopefully get his life in order," Nutt said.
Harris will likely transfer, but no official word on that was announced. He could transfer to a lower-division school and be eligible to play in 2012.
"It's just sad. We did everything we could to help him, I know that."
In a team meeting Sunday afternoon Nutt talked to players about leadership, telling them someone needed to step into the void created when cornerback Marcus Temple and defensive end Wayne Dorsey, both seniors, sustained season-ending injuries in the blowout loss to Alabama.
Nutt said he feels like a season that began with the arrest of his current starting quarterback, Randall Mackey, followed by injuries to his top two running backs and now recent off-field issues have left him wondering what could happen next.
"There's a lot of truth in that. I wake up in the middle of the night saying, 'Can we have a perfect week?' Then something like Dorsey and Temple happens, and it just hurts your team, hurts everything," he said. "The only thing I know to do is take the guys you have, get them better and compete hard.
"I know there will be light at the end of the tunnel, and it's not a train coming."