[ED: Yep. We're selling out again for ice cold delicious bottled tea. Drink it. It's summer. Please? Somebody's gotta pay the bills around here. Just don't let the ads get to you.]
Is Houston Nutt a bold coach? What exactly is bold coaching, anyway? Is bold coaching even a good thing? Should Ole Miss be more or less bold this season?
Why in the hell are we so obsessed with the word bold today, anyway [ED: money]? These are some questions Juco and I are going to look at over today and tomorrow. Hopefully this will give us some good offseason coaching discussion going or, better yet, it just may take our minds of South Carolina winning the College World Series again (WHY CAN THAT NOT BE US?).
So is Houston Nutt bold? It's an yes/no question that yields, frustratingly, a yes/no answer. On the one hand, we've got a wacky play calling, insanely gesticulating, recklessly 'crootin maniac. At times, though, we've got a stubborn, grouchy, complacent good ol' boy, but I'll focus, for this piece, on the former.
First, let's consider Houston Nutt's oftentimes erratic playcalling.
Remember the 2008-09 season? Of course you do. Remember when we got our fist glimpses at the Wildcat formation, with Dexter McCluster throwing wild interceptions and Jevan Snead slung out wide? Remember how the Rebels ran about a bazillion fake punts or kicks that season, converting all of them - the most notable of which were a fake field goal which led to a touchdown against Alabama and a fake punt which converted a long fourth down against LSU? Remember the deep passes to Mike Wallace and the bubble screens to McCluster?
Remember how... bold all of that was? I don't think that after that season, anyone would have described Houston Nutt as anything but a bold playcaller. "Dude's a maniac," we all thought. "Oh and he also takes risky playcalls." Sometimes they'd work, sometimes they'd fail, but they'd almost always shock the shit out of anyone in the stands.
"Is that Jason Cook completing a pass to Kendrick Lewis? The Hell? Am I on peyote?!"
Wacky offensive personnel and fourth down gutsiness is when bold playcalling works. When it doesn't work or, rather in our case, doesn't at all show up. It becomes a problem. Think of fumbled wildcat snaps in the red zone on third downs which were set up by telegraphed ace formation runs to understand what I mean here. One of his biggest criticisms is that his playcalling is too vanilla which should perhaps better be phrased as "it's too vanilla at the wrong times."
The man trusts his line and halfbacks, and trusts that, if given painfully simple schemes, they'll get the job done. That's not an incorrect assumption to make at places like Alabama or Ohio State. But at Ole Miss? The Rebels aren't always going to have the personnel necessary to play a more traditional fooball - hence the more bipolar nature of the playcalling.