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Boone Says Its Time For UM To Dust Itself Off, Move Forward

Yesterday we told you about the troubles facing Ole Miss athletic director Pete Boone.  You know, these:

* For the first time since 1995-96, UM missed out on postseason play in football, basketball and baseball.

* Rival Mississippi State is piling up wins over the Rebels in recent years.

* Various fan groups are firing off letters, complaining to the chancellor, and starting websites that promote “change.”  (We assume that means “change” at the top of the UM athletic department.)

* And lets not even get started on the Black Bear mascot nonsense.

So what’s Boone saying about all this?

“It’s one of those years you dust yourself off and move forward.”

Sound advice that can be applied after any stumble in business or life.  We doubt many Rebel fans will be moved however.

And now we’ll be left with this song in our head for the rest of the weekend, too.  Thanks, Pete.

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UM’s Boone Says The SEC Isn’t Looking To Copy The Big Ten On Oversigning

Ole Miss athletic director Pete Boone was a member of the committee Mike Slive created to study the league’s “roster management” issues.  He was involved in drafting the proposal that will go before the league’s football coaches, ADs and presidents this week at the SEC meetings in Destin. 

Boone says the SEC isn’t looking to copy the Big Ten’s oversigning rules.

“I don’t think there is an intent to use the Big Ten policy, which says you can sign no more than 25 and may go further to say that if you only have 18 scholarship available to get to your limit of 85 that you can’t sign more than 18.  I don’t think we want to do that.  I do think everybody wants transparency in everything we do in dealing with our prospective student-athletes.”

If the league isn’t interested in creating a hard-and-fast signing cap — currently a school can sign up to 28 players and back count to an even higher number — then there are some other possibilities… in theory.  For example, schools could be forced to tell prospective students in writing that there’s a chance they could be grayshirted (though some schools would get around that by handing every signee such a document).  Or scholarships could become four-year contracts rather than renewable one-year pacts (though that would be very expensive and would require NCAA legislation).

There are options out there and for now no one knows exactly what the SEC’s administrators will accept.  That will no doubt depend on how this week’s discussions evolve.

But if Boone is to be believed, the league’s schools will not leave Florida next weekend with a Big Ten plan.

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No Extension For UM’s Kennedy

There will be no extension for Ole Miss basketball coach Andy Kennedy this year.  His current $1.3 million deal (that’s per year) is still set to expire after the 2013-14 season.

Athletic director Pete Boone tried to put a good spin on his decision.  He told Kyle Veazey of The Jackson Clarion-Ledger today that “The measuring stick is pretty good out there, overall.”  He made note of Kennedy’s high winning percentage, his four 20-wins seasons, his four NIT berths, a good graduation rate, and a clean bill of health from the SEC.

All true.  But the coach has yet to reach an NCAA Tournament in five tries and the lack of an extension now makes his buyout all the more manageable should push come to shove next March.

“I still have an absolute ton of confidence in Andy.  But at this time, as (Kennedy) said, it’s a business.  We’re both excited about going forward.”

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UM A.D. Boone Says Nutt Still Harassed By Arkansas Fans

You’d think that reaching a BCS bowl for the first time ever would help Arkansas fans forget all about the Houston Nutt era in Fayetteville.  You’d think Bobby Petrino’s 10-win season and a Golden Boot game victory (to boot) would have ended all talk of the Hogs’ ex-coach.

But according to Ole Miss athletic director Pete Boone, that’s not the case.  in a long interview with The Jackson Clarion-Ledger, Boone opens up about his critics.  It’s an interesting read.  But what caught our eye was something he said about folks who spread negativity on messageboards:

A lot of that’s just come about in the last couple of years.  And I think there can also be some groups that form — and Houston saw this over at Arkansas.  Where a mother didn’t like what he did so she formed a group that absolutely has harassed him.  I still get emails about him from Arkansas people that are keeping up with what he’s doing here.  I’m sure he understands that as much as anybody does.  I believe that’s the case here.  I think that if you look at messageboards, they’re not driven by the majority.  They’re driven by the minority.  But they certainly can keep things stirred up enough where people think ‘there’s got to be some truth in that.’

Why on earth would any fans at Arkansas still be concerning themselves with a coach who was run off three seasons ago… whose successes have already been surpassed by his replacement?  You got us.  Time to let it go and enjoy the current regime.

A line from that Cold War classic “Red Dawn” comes to mind: “All that hate’s gonna burn you up, kid.”

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SEC Headlines – 3/7/11 Part Three

1.  Whether Arkansas keeps John Pelphrey or lets him go, this writer says returning UA to national prominence won’t be easy.

2.  With Vanderbilt on deck, LSU’s basketball season will probably come to a close on Thursday.

3.  At worst, it looks like Mississippi will be back in the NIT this year.

4.  Ole Miss fans might not truly known athletic director Pete Boone.

5.  As usual, Rick Stansbury’s Mississippi State team seems to be peaking just in time for the SEC tourney.

6.  “We don’t have to be the best team for 16 games no more, we’ve just got to be the best team for three games,” Stansbury said.  Good thing its not for 16 games no more.

7.  MSU AD Scott Stricklin has faced an awfully rough first year on the job – the Cam Newton scandal, cowbells, a fight (on ESPN) between two State basketball players, and even the death of football player Nick Bell.

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UM Reps Fly To Auburn To Tour AU’s New Arena

Just one week after a women’s basketball game was rained out — yes, rained out — at the 45-year-old Tad Smith Coliseum, several Ole Miss officials flew to Auburn yesterday to tour the Tigers’ brand new Auburn Arena.

You don’t think the rain out helped Pete Boone kickstart talk of a new roundball arena in Oxford do you?

The Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports that Boone told the paper that conversations regarding a new arena are “positive.” 

“Right now, we’ve got a pretty strong vision as to what we need to do,” UM’s AD said.  “There’s no question we need a new arena.  No question.  By the time you build one, it could be three to five years from now, if you start and go through the process.”

The paper also asked Boone about plans to create “new dining and student recreation facilities” as part of a new arena complex.  He said a consultant would like be brought onboard to coordinate those ideas, “But it’s on, as far as those things are concerned,” he said.  “It’s on full speed.”


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SEC Headlines – 2/25/11 Part Two

1.  This writer believes Lane Kiffin owes Tennessee AD Mike Hamilton an apology.  (A pound of flesh might be more like it.)

2.  Meet the 12-member NCAA committee on infractions that will decide UT’s fate later this year.

3.  Meanwhile, Bruce Pearl’s basketball players say they’re not distracted by the NCAA mess.

4.  The Vols need to play better at home when they host Mississippi State Saturda.

5.  Vanderbilt’s Jeffery Taylor is dealing with a sore wrist.  “It kind of flares up and gets really sore when I dunk a lot.”  (Has the kid never heard of a lay-up?)

6.  Mississippi State will be without freshman guard Jalen Steele when they visit his hometown of Knoxville tomorrow.  Steele is out for the year with an injured ACL and meniscus.

7.  Here’s another good salute to longtime MSU play-by-play man Jack Cristil (who’ll call his final game tomorrow).

8.  Cristil had hoped his health would allow him to complete the season, but that’s not the case.

9.  Andy Kennedy is on the hot seat for not reaching the NCAA Tournament in five seasons… but he’s also the first Ole Miss coach since the 1920s to lead the Rebels to five-straight winning seasons.  And he’s the fastest coach in program history to reach 100 wins (102-61 overall).  Tough call, Pete Boone.

10.  UM running back Brandon Bolden has been pushing “The Prowler.”

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Nutt To Replace Two Coaches At UM

It was a bit of a giveaway when the University of Mississippi posted two job openings for assistant football coaches on its official website this week.  Someone was going to have to call the moving vans.

With David Lee coming on board and Dave Rader heading out, the only question was as follows: Was that one of the openings or not?

Well, it appears as though Nutt has two more moves to make in addition to that one.  UM athletic director Pete Boone told Kyle Veazey of The Jackson Clarion-Ledger that, “It’s obvious that Houston’s going to replace two coaches… I don’t know any other way to say that.”

So the new question is: Who’s going to be replaced?

Nutt is at the American Football Coaches Association convention in Dallas.

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UM’s AD Liked Nutt’s Speech

Ole Miss athletic director likes what Houston Nutt had to say about “gloom and doom” surrounding the Rebel program yesterday — namely that there’s no reason for it.

On his Twitter feed, Pete Boone wrote the following today:

“I really like Houston’s spirited press conference yesterday!  He said what needed to be said.”

So there’s at least one guy in Nutt’s corner.

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Defense Dragging Ole Miss Down

Ole Miss
Content provided by The Ole Miss Blog – It’s not the official Ole Miss blog, but it should be.

The Ole Miss defense has been a colossal disappointment this season. Of the five losses to date, each was accompanied by defensive fails of epic proportions – for the most part busted assignments and/or  missed tackles run for at least 20 yards (many were much further) for a score. All of them have been game changers that could not be overcome by a pretty good offense.

The most frustrating thing about these seemingly tremendous offensive feats is that they are being accomplished by a collective group of nobodies. The truth is, these offensive performances aren’t the result of incredible talent, genius coaching, or even amazing speed. These are the result of a very suspect and disappointing Ole Miss defense. The unit that was to be the “strength” of the Rebels this year, is currently ranked 81st in the nation in total defense, giving up 395 yards per game.

It’s time to call this defense what it is – a disaster.

Are you a college football player hidden in obscurity? Need a chance to showcase your talent? Want to be a star for just one day? Well call up Pete Boone and schedule a game against this Rebel defense. They’ve been creating stars all year:

1. Vanderbilt: Duck hunter/interim head coach Robbie Caldwell had his shining moment against Ole Miss. The Commodores had what looked like a dynamic offensive attack on that day, gashing the Rebels for several long touchdown runs. Since then, the Commodores have been so pathetic moving the ball they switched offensive play callers mid-season.

2. Jacksonville State: That quarterback who managed to convert the 4th down for a touchdown and shock Ole Miss in the opener…what was his name? You’ve forgotten? That’s because his shining moment came in early September. After a week of giving interviews on every sports talk show in the country he’s back to FCS Division nobody-cares status now.

3. Arkansas: Before facing Ole Miss Razorback runner Knile Davis was averaging seven carries a game. He was a side show on Petrino and Mallett’s high-powered offense. Against the Rebels he took center stage, busting runs off tackle as though the Rebels were playing with nine men instead of eleven and carrying the ball 22 times for 176 stars. He’ll probably never be heard from again. I hope you enjoyed your moment Knile.

4. Auburn: Nobody in the country new Auburn had tailbacks before this game. I know I didn’t. Yet there were Onterio McCallebb and Mike Dyer running around the area where the linebacker or defensive end is usually found (Ole Miss is currently trying to locate these players). The duo racked up 279 yards on the night. Expect to hear nothing from either of these guys the rest of the year.

5. Alabama: Okay, Trent Richardson was already a star, but his 85-yard touchdown on a screen pass, a screen pass for goodness sakes, must be mentioned in order to round out the string of losses and accompanying defensive busts.

So, there it is. Now, pretend you’re Houston Nutt and/or Pete Boone six months removed from begging defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix not to leave for Georgia or Florida and tell me what you’re going to do about it.

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