Expect very little enlightenment from Archie Manning and the committee tasked with finding the replacement for Houston Nutt and the coach who will guide the Rebels into the bold, new Southeastern Conference frontier.
It will be a very different process than the post-David Cutcliffe search that produced Ed Orgeron.
That search had “co-leaders,” too. Sometimes, if athletics director Pete Boone wasn’t talking, then-chancellor Robert Khayat was.
Rather than the who, the important element here is the “what.”
The name of former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach has been tossed about – even by Nutt himself, who name-dropped Leach to Tim Brando on the radio and told Brando the next Ole Miss coach would need to do something “a little different” on offense.
Leach was successful with a wide-open, spread offense, and he is a little different in more ways than one. It’s hard to envision the conservative Manning recommending the free-spirited coach to Ole Miss chancellor Dan Jones.
Again, it’s the what, not the who.
The next Ole Miss coach needs to embrace some of Leach’s philosophy. He needs to install an offense that increases the tempo and forces opponents to defend the entire field.
Leach had some big wins at a program with a meager history and facilities. He was 84-43 in 10 seasons. He went 4-4 in Big 12 play four times but had a sub-.500 conference record just once, his first season.
That’s an important note for a program that has lost 13 of its last 14 SEC games.
Another important note. Leach never reached the Big 12 championship game, the standard by which Ole Miss fans will judge themselves until they can get to Atlanta for the SEC showcase.
Leach proved at Texas Tech that a diverse, well-coached offense that can score can also compete and win games.
The Rebels need to get back to 4-4 in the league before they can get back to dreaming about Atlanta.
Hiring for offense should be Priority 1. Priority 1A should be to have the defensive discussion up front with the offensive-minded coach.
On the defensive
Sometimes defense can get lost in the shuffle with a spread offense team. If the new coach is an offensive genius, he needs to find the defensive coordinator he can trust, then get out of his way.
Offense, though, should be the motivating factor in the hire. It’s easier to sign a quarterback who can fit a system and receivers and running backs who can make plays than to sign linebackers who can cover receivers on crossing routes and defensive linemen who can chase down quarterbacks outside the pocket. Those are the athletes at LSU and Alabama right now.
Ole Miss is trying to rise from bottom to middle before it can dare to dream higher.
Something a little different on offense could yield vastly different results in the win column.
Parrish Alford (email@example.com) covers Ole Miss for the Daily Journal. He blogs daily at NEMS360.com.