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October 17, 2011

Monday Morning Quarterback with Romaro Miller

Former Ole Miss quarterback Romaro Miller shared his thoughts on the overall landscape of the Ole Miss football program with RebelGrove.com's Neal McCready. Here's the latest installment of Monday Morning Quarterback.

As former players, we sort of stand back.

But here's one time I'm going to say how I've been feeling the last three, four or five years. It's going to be my first time saying it. It's going to be my last time saying it. Here goes:

We've got a major problem at Ole Miss. Everybody talks about how it starts from the top down. Right now we have the most divided fan base I've seen probably in football history. Dan Jones has been here 2-3 years and he has shredded every bit of school spirit we have out of this fan base. Can he repair it? I think it's beyond repair by him.

Now you go to the next guy, Pete Boone. Listen to all the ex-coaches. You've got Tuberville's staff of 10 guys and 10 guys don't like him. You've got Cutcliffe's staff of 10 guys that don't like him. You're got Orgeron's staff of 10 guys that don't him. You've got Nutt's staff, and I'm hearing there are a lot of problems with those 10 guys. So roughly you've got 44 coaches out there throughout the country who really have a problem with Pete Boone.

If we fire Nutt and let's say we call Kirby Smart, Kirby Smart is going to call one of these 44 coaches and these coaches are going to tell him, "Do not come to Ole Miss." So if Houston Nutt is gone, can Pete Boone go out and make the right hire? I don't know.

As for the coaches, I could care less about Nutt and his staff. One thing that we've shown in the past is if you don't win football games at Ole Miss, you're going to get fired. So at the end of the year if we end up 2-10 or whatever, Houston Nutt will take care of himself.

Being an ex-player, I support the players 130 percent. Each player that we have on our team had an option to go to another school. They made a commitment to go to Ole Miss and as a university, we repay them by giving them a coaching staff that with a minute to go before halftime runs the ball up the middle with Enrique Davis and gets stopped at midfield? It blew my mind but it didn't surprise me. It's what we've been saying all year.

A friend was talking to me about Garrett Gilbert (the former Texas quarterback who recently announced he's leaving the Longhorns' program). He said, "Man, do you think we ought to go get Gilbert?" The guy actually knows the kid. I said, "Man, I would not let that kid come to Ole Miss. We have no identity. I don't know if we're a drop-back team, a spread team. We don't even know what we are."

I'm 33. I have a lot of friends who are 55 or 60. They all say, "Ro, I've been following Ole Miss football a long time. The way you're feeling right now, I've been feeling that for a long time. I don't know if we'll ever win." I told my wife, "I don't want to look back when I'm 55 and 60 thinking the same thing."

This morning, me and one of my buddies were walking our dogs. We saw a guy with an Ole Miss shirt on. I said, "Man, how's it going?" He said, "Man, I could complain, but I don't think anybody will listen." I think that pretty much sums it up for our entire fan base. Everybody knows there is a problem. Everybody's complaining. But the leadership we have, they don't hear and couldn't care less to hear it.

Former players in the NFL say they're from their high school rather than Ole Miss. There's a disconnect between the administration and fans. There's a disconnect between the administration and former players. So it doesn't surprise me when they claim their high school and not Ole Miss.

There comes a point where if you love the university, you have to do right by the university. We've got a lot of people running the university who couldn't care less. The only thing they care about is their check. And it's time for them to go.

Being an ex-player, I talk to a lot of alumni. I know so many who have stopped donating to the university. Each alumnus needs to ask themselves how many alumni do they know who have stopped donating.

I was one of the first to sign on to Forward Rebels. People talk about Forward Rebels and say they're bad guys, the message is wrong, this and that. My thing is when Forward Rebels came out with that first ad, it took the chancellor two weeks to come out with a reply. In his reply, he didn't say anything about fixing the problem. He said Forward Rebels were evil men.

Now Forward Rebels are growing. You've got LSU fans posting, talking about they hate seeing what's going on at Ole Miss. You've got Alabama fans on Forward Rebels talking about how they hate to see our tradition being ruined like it is right now. That's tough. Everybody can see it. You've got all these national articles talking about Ole Miss and leadership.

Sooner or later, there comes a point where if you love the university, you have to do what's best. Right now, our leadership is not doing the right thing by the fan base. I have no confidence. I hate to sound defeated. Eventually it's going to change, but I hope it's in my prime years.

I was asked if I'm hopeless. I think a change is going to come, but I just don't know when. I love this school to death. I love those players to death. But I told my wife Thursday, "After this Alabama game, we have to really evaluate whether we're going to come back to the Arkansas game."

For me to think like that, what does that say? It has nothing to do with what happened on the football field. Alabama has a great team. My thing is, even if we were losing and everybody was doing what's right for the university, I would feel a lot better. But when you go down there and you support and give your last dollar and your last nickel like a lot of our fans are doing and see the lack of effort, the lack of leadership from your chancellor, your A.D., your coaches and even the people behind the scenes, you have to ask, "Do I come and continue to support this or do I try to reach the leadership another way by not coming to the ballgames?"

I'm quite sure I'm not the only one asking himself that. Starting this morning until Saturday at 11, my family and I and a lot of alumni, we have some major decisions we have to make. Honestly, right now, I don't know. The only thing that keeps me around is my love for those football players. Those guys, regardless of what happened Saturday, they deserve way better than what we're giving. These players could have gone to Alabama, to Auburn, to Tennessee. They chose to come to Ole Miss, and look how we repay them.

Dan Jones has a chance to either build his legacy or hurt it the next 2-3 months. He can either make all the right moves and go down as one of the best chancellors ever or he can stay the course with what he's doing right now and go down as the worst.


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