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Letter from the sports editor

Football Preview 2011


In a word, last year was a disappointment for Ole Miss athletics. 

From the start, with a 49-48 double-overtime loss to Jacksonville State, Rebel fans left stadiums and arenas on this campus and across the South shaking their heads in unison. There’s enough blame to go around, from the coaches to the players to the fans, but it’s time to move on. With the start of 2011, there is reason for optimism.

It’s football season, so let’s talk about football.

To help with ideas and play-calling on offense, Houston Nutt added David Lee and Gunter Brewer to his staff, and after giving up the most points in school history, Nutt brought on Keith Burns to coach the secondary.

There are freshmen and other newcomers throughout the depth chart, including starting quarterback Barry Brunetti and a trio of freshman receivers from our own state. 

Andy Kennedy completely overhauled his coaching staff, and Jelan Kenrick headlines a youth movement on the hardcourt for the Rebels. Senquez Golson, a two-sport athlete that turned down the Boston Red Sox, is one example of the many baseball signees that are now on campus, looking to move on from last year’s absence from the SEC and NCAA Tournaments and make it to Omaha for the first time under Mike Bianco.

Off the field, Michael Thompson spearheaded an overhaul of the look and feel of Ole Miss athletics with the 100 Improvements in 100 Days. Michael White unveiled a new capital campaign for football renovation and expansion, in addition to the construction of a new basketball arena. 

The impact of these changes cannot be understated, particularly the latter. If you want to compete in the best conference in the country, you have got to have the resources to get the coaches and players to win.

Coaches, players and administrators are not settling for “second-best,” “just good enough” or even “the best team in the state.” 

The goal is to play for SEC and National championships. That may not be an immediate goal for this year, but it’s a foreseeable goal in the future. Administrators and staff are doing their part. Coaches are doing their part. Players are doing their part. 

Fans now need to do their part.