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November 26, 2011

Rebels look forward to new regime

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- In the bowels of Davis Wade Stadium Saturday night, Ole Miss' focus immediately shifted from the horror of the night's action to the hope that comes with a coaching change.

Houston Nutt had finished his final press conference as Ole Miss' head coach moments earlier - and minutes after Mississippi State throttled the Rebels, 31-3, for its third-straight win in the rivalry.

Nutt, who won nine games in each his first and second season, finished his tenure at Ole Miss with a 24-26 record, losing 19 of his final 26 games. A committee led by Archie Manning and Fed Ex executive Mike Glenn is in the process of picking Nutt's successor.

Quarterback Barry Brunetti gave his hope for the next coach.

"Someone who can bring in discipline and believe in us," Brunetti said. "Don't look at this season as how we are because I know we have young talent. We have players that can do some great things. Just believe in us. We can do it."

Brunetti, who will be a junior next season, transferred from West Virginia after his freshman year and will again have to acclimate to a new staff.

"Third head coach in my three years in college," Brunetti said. "It's going to be different, and I'll have to learn another offense again. Hopefully the next one is the last one I'll have to know the rest of my college career."

Nutt was told he wouldn't return three weeks ago, and players have often mentioned that the freshmen took the news hard. Tobias Singleton said at one time he was worried about mass transfers, but he's now comfortable that the adverse event has united the underclassmen.

"Everybody really close, people were talking about leaving, but we realize we can win if we stick together and do what we know we can do," Singleton said. "I don't expect people to leave now because we're so close. The freshmen are all like brothers."

It's unknown exactly when a new coach will be announced. Until then, Gunter Brewer will hold interim duties and lead a small group that will handle recruiting and attempt to provide temporary stability to the program.

While that's happening, Brunetti will put an eye on the next chance he'll have to suit up. He has a simple goal.

"Not letting this happen again," the Memphis, Tenn., native said. "Got to get this season behind us and never think about it again. Get ready for the spring, that's going to really count. Start in January and get ready.

"Have these guys believe in me for next year. Throw and run every day. Start the comeback right now."

He also has an idea what the Rebels need in 2012.

"It's about discipline. Just have to have more discipline," Brunetti said.

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