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Outgoing UM A.D. Boone Wants Unity

Ole Miss athletic director Pete Boone has been the target of the largely anonymous fan group “Forward Rebels” for the past several months.  Newspaper ads have called for his ouster.  Threats have been made regarding giving and donations. 

Two weeks ago, Boone announced that he would be stepping down in 2012.  Today, UM’s AD spoke with Parrish Alford of The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal and he spoke of a need to unify the Rebel fanbase:

“… Anything I might say about that group might appear to be self-serving, but I will say this as an Ole Miss fans, and I can say it, because I’m not going to be the AD, it’s absolutely devastating to have the Ole Miss fan base divided.  We’re not big enough to have that sort of divisiveness.  We’re competing with schools that have 25, 30 and 40,000 students, 300,000 active alumni, $100 million budgets… and we’re going to split up?  It’s the silliest thing I’ve every heard of.”

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SEC Headlines – 10/24/11 Part Two

1.  They’re letting the hype begin in Alabama.

2.  Nick Saban says his team enters its bye week “pretty banged up.”

3.  Gene Chizik liked the fact that his young team didn’t quit in the midst of an LSU spanking on Saturday.

4.  For Auburn, it’s time to put this weekend’s drubbing in the rearview mirror.

5.  Arkansas is getting into a nasty habit of starting slow.

6.  This writer thinks the Hogs got “jobbed, badly, in the current BCS standings.”  (Of course it could be that playing a poor Ole Miss team simply pulled Arkansas’ strength of schedule score down.)

7.  LSU has given Alabama a whole lotta things to think about.  (Including last week’s uniforms which looked pretty bad after all.  What was this the purple sweat stain look under the arms?)

8.  When told his team is a five-point underdog to Alabama, Les Miles said, “I love it, I love it, I love it.”  (Ah, but did he say it like this?)

9.  Houston Nutt might’ve been a little too critical of Donte Moncrief’s dropped pass in Saturday’s loss to Arkansas (the Rebels’ 10th SEC loss in a row).

10.  Quarterback Randall Mackey is earning the respect of his teammates and coaches.

11.  The “Forward Rebels” group has placed another ad explaining why they’re anonymous and they’re using print ad to go after UM athletic director Pete Boone.

12.  When MSU travels to Lexington this weekend, the Dogs will face a team rife with troubles.

13.  Dan Mullen says this “could be a turning point game” for State.

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Another Group Now After Boone’s Scalp At UM

The group Forward Rebels now has some company.  A new movement is utilizing Twitter to bring about the dismissal of Ole Miss athletic director Pete Boone.  The word they’re spreading via social media — make it a “Black Out Boone” day on Saturday.

All season, Ole Miss fans have been encouraged to wear red to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.  The Black Out Boone folks are asking like-minded individuals to show up in either black or Rebel navy.  They want them to cheer on the Rebels… while simultaneously showing a lack of support for school’s top athletic official. 

Boone wouldn’t comment on the movement when asked about it by The Jackson Clarion-Ledger.  But Houston Nutt’s not in favor or it.

“Let’s don’t do that.  Let’s wear red like they’ve asked you to all year long.  I don’t want Arkansas coming up, being the only ones in red.  This is our stadium, let’s wear red.  Let’s get into the game.”

From what sources tell us, Nutt and Boone don’t have the very best of relationships at this point, but Nutt probably realizes the more pressure is put on Boone, the more likely he’ll whack some underling in order to appease the masses.  And Nutt could very well be that underling.

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“Forward Rebels” Group Still After UM’s Boone

The anonymous fan group known as Forward Rebels has placed another anti-Pete Boone ad in Mississippi newspapers today.  The group continues to angle for the dismissal of Ole Miss’ longtime athletic director.

According to Parrish Alford of The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, the ad asks, “How much money is Pete Boone costing Ole Miss? … Find out soon.”

While UM is making a push to raise $150 million — and claims to have already raised $40 million — the people behind the Forward Rebels ad claim that “Pete Boone and Co. are happy to ride inflation, increased student enrollment and new ticket taxes as successful fund-raising,” adding, “We disagree.”

The ad then calls for people to share with Forward Rebels how much money they’re withholding from UM due to Boone.  Future ads will no doubt feature claims of people withholding thousands upon thousands of dollars.

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Our Money’s On Boone To Outlast Nutt At UM

For a month, the anonymous fan group “Forward Rebels” has been pouring money into a campaign to oust Ole Miss athletic director Pete Boone.  The group’s newspaper ads have stated that UM’s individual coaches aren’t as big a problem as the man who hired them.

But Boone has received the backing of chancellor Dan Jones.  And Boone got a lengthy standing ovation from a booster club in Jackson just this week.

Whether Forward Rebels like it or not, it seems as though football coach Houston Nutt is in a bit more trouble than the man who brought him to The Grove.  After all, a good way to save one’s self is to feed someone else to the sharks first.

Check out what Nutt had to say about the schedule Boone has handed him… a schedule that included last week’s road game at Fresno State: 

“We’re closer to UAB.  We’re closer to Memphis.  But I don’t get to make the schedule.  Next year we’re gonna play Texas.  Whew.  I don’t mind playing one (tough game), on out of four.  But I’ll tell you, when you play BYU and Fresno at Fresno, come on.  I want to keep my job, y’all.”

From what we’re hearing, the coach isn’t exactly thrilled with some of the support — of lack thereof — he’s recently gotten from his boss, either.  Remember, after UM’s loss to Vanderbilt, Boone let the public know that he’d asked Nutt to come in and meet with him the following Sunday. 

“Houston and I met yesterday, and had a good discussion,” Boone said back on September 19th.  “Certainly he’s disappointed and committed to correcting some of the issues he sees are correctable and fixable within the program.  That’s what his job is, and that’s what he’ll be doing.”

Boone also said he wanted to see “a little bit more fire, a little bit more attitude” from Nutt’s players.

Nutt knows the lay of the land (having apparently been tipped to it by Mark Richt).  He understands that fans want wins today, not yesterday:

“My Cotton Bowl victories are in the rear-view mirror.  They don’t talk about ‘em no more.  So every not and then I’ve got to bring ‘em up.  Every now and then.  But I know you’re only as good as your last one.”

And he also knows that Boone isn’t yelling “Remember the Cotton Bowls!” from the top of the Lyceum.

However you slice it, things don’t look too peachy for Nutt at the moment.  Not only has his own boss handed him a tough schedule and publicly hung him out to dry post-Vandy, but Boone himself is under the gun.  That pressure on Boone might lead him to do something drastic if things don’t turn around quickly in Oxford — like fire a coach after four seasons despite a pair of Cotton Bowl wins in his first two. 

Desperate times call for desperate measures.  Think Boone couldn’t win a little fan support for himself by holding his nose and hiring proven-winner-but-known-wild-card Mike Leach?

It’s a long season and the Rebels certainly have time to turn things around.  But if we had to put money on one man surviving at Ole Miss this fall, we’d put that cash on Boone, not Nutt.

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Boone Says He’s Not Stepping Down At Ole Miss

Ole Miss athletic director Pete Boone — appearing on the Head-To-Head radio network across the state of Mississippi yesterday — addressed the criticism that he has been receiving and his job status:

“Absolutely our fans are frustrated as I am and certainly any of the Ole Miss family is frustrated.  And the Vanderbilt game, obviously, was a very low point because of just the game itself and how it was played.  But at the same time, we picked it back up last week a bit and there are a lot of emails that come in… It is a lot of passion.  And thank goodness the Ole Miss folks have passion.  But we’re gonna get it done…

No, I have no plans to step down… I will retire at some point and time.  I’ve got two and a half years left on this contract.”

Asked if he’s the best man for Ole Miss job, Boone said, “I think I am.  If I didn’t I would leave.”

Boone also said his door is open to everyone, including groups like Forward Rebels that have been placing ads in Mississippi newspapers calling for the AD’s job.

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Boone Still Under Fire At UM; Says There’s No Truth To Resignation Rumor

Will it be one, the other, or both? 

Pete Boone and Houston Nutt are both under fire in Oxford and at this point it’s questionable whether either man will remain in his current position past the fall. 

Rumors that Boone would step down grew so prevalent in the Magnolia State last night that Parrish Alford of The Northeast Mississippi Journal put in a call to the Ole Miss AD just to make sure his job status wasn’t changing.  When Boone called him back, he left this message:

“There’s absolutely no accuracy to the question you were asking me about (my) resignation.”

But the fan group “Forward Rebels” keeps turning up the heat.  Today they placed a new newspaper ad featuring the words “It’s time for a change, Ole Miss” just above a photo of Boone.

“Under Boone’s leadership, Ole Miss has routinely underperformed in the SEC,” the ad reads.  “Coaches have been fired.  A generation of athletes have come and gone.  But Pete Boone stays?  And continues to earn over $429,000 per year.  We at Forward Rebels believe THAT is unacceptable.  Ole Miss leadership must be held accountable.”

If you’re Boone and the natives are restless enough to place ads calling for your head, it’s doubtful that you’ll be able to hang on to Nutt for another year if the Rebels finish as poorly as they’ve started. 

How might UM’s AD buy himself more time?  Perhaps by hiring a Gus Malzahn or Mike Leach to excite Rebel fans.  Of course, what coach is going to walk into a situation where his boss is on the hot seat?

No matter how you slice it, Boone and Nutt are in for the fight of their lives over the next couple of months.

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SEC Headlines – 9/20/11 Part Two

1.  Alabama’s got the red-zone blues.  (Not to be confused with The Madison Blues, The Hobo Blues or even The Rescue Blues.)

2.  The Tide is pumped up for its matchup with Arkansas on Saturday.

3.  Mike Dyer is ready for more carries at Auburn.

4.  Gene Chizik is ready to simplify AU’s defense.

5.  Seeking his first win against Nick Saban, Bobby Petrino says his team is “all right” after a 38-28 win over Troy.

6.  Quarterback Tyler Wilson will need better protection against Alabama.

7.  West Virginia’s schemes on offense will present LSU’s defense with a new challenge on Saturday.

8.  Playmaking receiver Russell Shepard will be back from his three-game NCAA suspension against WVU…

9.  But the Tigers already have a pair of receivers who’ve made their mark this season.

10.  Ole Miss athletic director Pete Boone told Houston Nutt that he wants “to see more attitude, to see some fire in some eyes” when the Rebels play Georgia.

11.  Boone and Nutt are both in hot water… so hot that Nutt’s buyout clause is now a topic of conversation in the local papers.

12.  How’s this for luck?  Mike Leach was in Jackson yesterday to sign copies of his new book and to speak to a touchdown club.  Nutt had to have loved that one.

13.  Dan Mullen wants more big plays from his veteran secondary.

14.  MSU coaches are trying to mix-and-match to find their best offensive line combo.

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UM’s Boone Talks SEC Expansion, A&M

Texas A&M and the SEC continue to dance closer and closer to one another… without actually touching.  Sort of like Baptists.

A&M athletic director Bill Byrne blogged yesterday and listed the “Bigger Ten,” the Pac-12 and the SEC as possible landing spots for the Aggies.  Today, Ole Miss athletic director Pete Boone shared a couple of quick notes on SEC expansion and A&M… without ever really connecting the two:

“The SEC has to be very mindful of any institution that would seek to come in.  A lot of it has to do with location.  So much of it has to do with culture.  Texas A&M has a rich culture and history, not just with its agriculture and military but also in athletics and academics.”

Am I the only who wishes A&M and the SEC could just work this out, make an announcement, and let the rest of us focus on football?

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SEC Headlines – 6/24/11 Part Two

1.  ESPN’s Edward Aschoff has ranked the SEC’s kick returners.

2.  Tennessee’s football staff got some raises yesterday, but as a whole the nine coaches at UT still make less than Alabama’s Nick Saban.

3.  Tobias Harris was a first-round pick, but Scotty Hopson will have to go the free agent route.

4.  We’ve been beating the drum since we launched and now more and more writers seem to realize the downside of allowing college athletes to tweet.

5.  Alabama defensive lineman Darrington Sentimore is thinking about transferring.

6.  Auburn and Wisconsin are still waiting to learn if Russell Wilson will play college football this fall.

7.  Lindy’s preseason guide says Arkansas could be heading back to another BCS bowl.

8.  ESPN’s writers don’t seem to think too highly of Ole Miss’ football roster.

9.  The “Colonel Reb Road Tour” still has folks stirred up over UM’s decision to switch mascots from an old Southern gentlemen to a black bear.

10.  Fans at one tour stop chanted “Go to hell Pete Boone.”  You stay classy, Mississippi.

11.  Looks like Urban Meyer will mostly be doing Big Ten games for ESPN.  (While everyone else seems to think he’ll be at Ohio State next year, we still think he’s going to be in the broadcast booth longer than expected… a la Jon Gruden.)

12.  Ready for a 2012 NBA mock draft?  (Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis is already penciled in at #1.)

Once again, sorry for quickie links today. 

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