Ole Miss' Nutt Makes Contrast With Petrino Even More Apparent

by Chris Bahn  on Friday, Jul. 23, 2010 2:30 pm  

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

HOOVER, Ala. — Ole Miss was the media darling in the Southeastern Conference West Division a season ago. The Rebels had a presumed Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback and were seen as a Top 10 program before the season began.

It didn’t take the Rebels long to come crashing back to reality. Three weeks into the 2009 season Ole Miss had its first loss and wound up settling for a 8-4 regular season, 4-4 in the SEC, and a return to the Cotton Bowl despite a heaping helping of preseason championship talk.

Keeping that in mind, does Rebels coach Houston Nutt have any advice for teams in a similar position? What would he tell the coach at a program like — let’s say Arkansas — that is drawing national acclaim and significant attention with the 2010 season looming?

Nutt, who coached the Razorbacks for 10 years, essentially said his best advice was to prepare for the worst.

“You want to embrace it, but you’ve got to be ready when the bubble pops,” Nutt said. “…When that bubble pops, you better have some Dr. Phil in you.”

Not that folks in Arkansas needed a reminder that Razorback Coach Bobby Petrino and his predecessor are different, but, well, there you go. That’s all the evidence anybody could ever need to establish the fact Nutt and Petrino are — to put it as simply as possible — nothing alike.

Contrast their two approaches when big things are expected. Nutt, as he did last season while hype was being thrown at his team and players, made no secret about his dislike of people expecting a lot from him.

Nutt, who to be fair does hold a 2-0 record against Petrino, even thanked the media on Friday for picking the Rebels sixth in the SEC West. Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU and in-state rival Mississippi State are all picked to finish better than Ole Miss and Nutt, who is 18-8 overall since arriving in Oxford, wasn’t the least bit upset.

Anybody else reminded of the Gin Blossoms song that includes the line “If you don’t expect too much from me, you might not be let down”? That line perfectly sums up Nutt’s approach to his football program.

Expect the worst. Hope for the best.

And Petrino? He all but begged media to judge his program by the same standard as Alabama and Florida, programs that have met in the last two SEC title games and the programs responsible for three national titles in the last five years.

Petrino, whose team is coming off a Liberty Bowl victory, wants expectations higher than they have ever been since the Razorbacks joined the SEC. Each stop Petrino made with media during a Thursday appearance he mentioned how high his hopes are for the season.



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