FOOTBALL: 53 minutes to kick

This isn’t only Houston Nutt’s homecoming. Several of the Ole Miss assistants, inluding James Shibest and Ron Dickerson.

The Ole Miss specialists have just come on the field.

You can sense a lot of animostiy for Houston here. Some people I’ve run into are eager to tell their side of why he needed to leave.

Gregg Doyel’s column has made the rounds with most folks taking offense over here, and it’s hard a sort of rally the troops effect. But these troops aren’t playing in the game.

There’s a popular opinion that Houston, the motivator, will have the Rebels sky-high for this game. These folks seem to think a lot of the game will ride on the health of Hogs running back Michael Smith and how much he plays — how effectively he plays — after last week’s concussion against Kentucky.

I tend to think it will ride more on how the Rebels’ DL plays and if they can get pressure on Casey Dick. These guys didn’t pressure Chris Smelley and virtually catapulted the South Carolina quarterback into the Heisman race, or so it seemed. Smelley hasn’t been heard from since his career day in Oxford.

If common opponents mean anything, Ole Miss won at Florida and almost won at Alabama. Both of those teams throttled the Hogs here.

Arkansas lost 21-20 which was just manhandled by Florida today. I think the Gators are playing better than they were when Ole Miss was there.

Anyway, these questions and others will be answered by about 9:15 or 9:20 this evening.

— PA

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