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Assistant coaches react to Monday's news

Austin McAfee/The Daily Mississippian

One day after Athletics Director Pete Boone and Chancellor Dan Jones announced Houston Nutt’s tenure as Ole Miss head coach would end after this season’s Egg Bowl, some of the assistant coaches shared their thoughts on the turn of events.

“I was surprised and disappointed because I know the amount of time and effort that has been put into it, but, if you’ve been in the game long enough, you know these things happen,” Ole Miss defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix said after practice Tuesday.

Wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer, who came to Ole Miss this past offseason after six years of coaching at Oklahoma State, echoed a similar statement.

“It’s a performance business, and we didn’t perform as a staff and as a team,” Brewer said after practice Tuesday. “It’s not individuals; it’s about a team, it’s about the university and it’s about Ole Miss. It’s about these players that are here, that give their life blood for this program and for an education and for what you bring them here for.”

There haven’t been many bright spots for Ole Miss this season, but one of those has been the play of the Rebels’ wide receivers. Freshman Donte Moncrief leads the team in both receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, while fellow freshman Nick Brassell is second on the team in both those categories. Brewer talked about his group of young receivers, including Moncrief and Brassell, have handled the news.

“I’ve got a lot of young players, and they need guidance,” he said. “I think they are disappointed because they see the progress that they’ve been able to make as a unit and they see that the future is bright.

“So therefore, they would like things to keep moving forward, and they think their future is bright.”

Many have wondered whether Brewer would like to stay at Ole Miss since he is the son of former Rebel head coach Billy Brewer and previously coached at Ole Miss as a graduate assistant.

“Well, I think everybody likes to be employed,” Brewer said. “(Ole Miss) is a school that is close to me. It’s family. Everything is about timing and everything’s about the personality of the fit.

“Like coach Nutt says, he appreciates how Ole Miss has treated his family and he has daughters that graduated from here. It’s a place that gave him an opportunity when he needed one and things didn’t work out.”

Brewer said that you do the best you can do, and if that is not good enough, at the end of the day, just know you have peace with yourself because you did what was right.

It’s that kind of loyalty that was on display at Monday’s press conference. Secondary coach Keith Burns, who also came to Ole Miss this past offseason, stood up for Nutt, whmo he also served under as defensive coordinator at Arkansas from 1998 and 1999.

“This may not be protocol in this situation, but I love you like a brother,” Burns said. “I’ll say this: I worked under Lou Holtz and played for him, hall of famer. I worked for Dick Tomey, hall of famer. I worked for John Robinson, hall of famer. I worked for Bill Snyder, hall of famer. You are the best of all of them.”

As Ole Miss heads into Saturday’s game against Louisiana Tech, Nix said that even with the announcement that happened on Monday, Tuesday’s practice was “business as usual.”

“We tried to come out and get better,” he said. “We tried to teach, we tried to communicate and tell the guys the game plan and they seemed to have a positive attitude. The attitude of the kids today was great. I think they’ll keep competing.”