Wednesday, October 12, 2005

From Robert Cook's Hometown Newspaper

We all know the Neal McCready story about him and the SID job if Langston would have left. This guy continues to take his frustration out on us in his weekly columns he did last year when he reported on the rape case that came out of no where. McCready is an Ole Miss graduate and he hates us. I would love to know what this guys looks like and meet him in the Grove and give him a piece of my mind. Some of the points he makes in the article below are valid, but I think the last sentence controdicts himself.

Because David Cutcliffe is a University of Alabama alumnus, there will be criticism this week for Ole Miss firing its former head football coach.
No. 6 Alabama should maul the Rebels Saturday, and many will say that things aren't so rosy in Oxford these days without Cutcliffe.
While it's true the Ole Miss program is a mess, most have the Cutcliffe saga all wrong. Cutcliffe, who coached for six seasons in Oxford and led the Rebels to five winning seasons, basically fired himself last November when he refused to acquiesce to his superiors' requests for him to make changes to his coaching staff in the wake of a 4-7 season and several sub-par recruiting campaigns.
Cutcliffe and athletics director Pete Boone never got along, and after Cutcliffe nearly bolted for Kentucky in December 2002, it was just a matter of time -- or a few embarrassing losses in the post-Eli Manning era -- before Cutcliffe was run out of Oxford.
Besides, even if Cutcliffe had survived the series of end-of-season meetings, he probably wouldn't have been on the sidelines Saturday when the Crimson Tide goes to Ole Miss to administer some payback to the Rebels, who beat Alabama at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in 2001 and 2003. Cutcliffe accepted a post on Charlie Weis' staff at Notre Dame but had to resign after having heart bypass surgery in the spring.
Cutcliffe is back in Knoxville, Tenn., these days, working to get healthy and waiting for another opportunity to be a head coach. Cutcliffe is most certainly a class act, but he underachieved during much of his tenure at Ole Miss and left the program in shambles. While you're in Oxford over the weekend watching a national power dispose of a team that wouldn't win the Division I-AA title, check out the Rebels' roster. It has precious little SEC-caliber talent -- and that's Cutcliffe's fault.
If you're looking to criticize Ole Miss, it's not hard. Just look in the right place. Look at Cutcliffe's successor, former Southern Cal assistant Ed Orgeron, and put the microscope to the botched coaching search that ended with his hiring.
When Cutcliffe was let go, many Rebel fans believed the next coach had already been lined up. One prominent booster had initiated contact with Louisville coach Bobby Petrino, going so far as to discuss a financial package with Petrino's agent. Ole Miss contacted former Washington coach Rick Neuheisel, who wanted the job, but UM chancellor Dr. Robert Khayat put the kibosh on that, implying that the school wanted nothing to do with Neuheisel's baggage.
Neuheisel, now the quarterbacks coach with the Baltimore Ravens, would have been a perfect fit in Oxford. He would have been a sophisticated, creative guy in a town that fashions itself as sophisticated, upper-class and cutting edge.
Toward the end of the merry-go-round search, Ole Miss appeared to have then-San Francisco 49ers coach Dennis Erickson lined up. Several UM officials flew to Santa Clara, Calif., to meet with the former Miami and Oregon State coach. But he, too, was passed over.
In the meantime, qualified assistants such as LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher and then-Auburn defensive coordinator Gene Chizik weren't given the time of day. Ole Miss officials said they wanted an experienced head coach and implied they wanted to make a high-profile hire.
One day after the Erickson meeting, however, they settled on Orgeron, who had never even been a coordinator, had plenty of personal baggage and had no profile of any significance in the Southeast. The hire, to say the least, was baffling.
Months later, the Rebels are 2-3, including losses to Vanderbilt and Wyoming, two assistants have been run off because of embarrassing alcohol-related offenses, there are various reports of behind-the-scenes turmoil on the team and rumors of chair-throwing and coaches fighting in pre-game meetings -- rumors that Orgeron, quarterback Micheal Spurlock and wide receiver Taye Biddle denied Monday.
In short, Ole Miss football has become the laughingstock of the league.
Throw in the blowout losses to teams such as Alabama, Auburn and LSU that are likely on the horizon and things could get even uglier very soon.
However, no one should blame Orgeron for taking a job that landed in his lap. It was an opportunity he had hoped for and he jumped at it. Further, no one can blame Orgeron for the losses that have happened or the blowouts that are yet to come. Bear Bryant couldn't win with the team he inherited.
Khayat justified Orgeron's hire by trumpeting his recruiting prowess. So Orgeron's judgment must wait until February. If he brings in a solid recruiting haul, he'll be viewed as eccentric but Rebel fans will tolerate the rebuilding process. If not, Orgeron's hiring will go down as one of the worst in the history of the SEC and the already low Ole Miss program will have suffered significant long-term damage.
None of that, however, has anything to do with Cutcliffe.