Never before have we seen a situation quite like this one. Just last January, former Oregon Ducks QB Jeremiah Masoli led Oregon to the Rose Bowl. The team had a bad day in Pasadena eventually losing to Ohio State 26-17 but Masoli showed enough last year that he could be a strong Heisman Trophy contender heading into his senior season. But things didn’t work out quite the way he would have liked. First, Masoli was suspended for the season after pleading guilty to felony burglary in a robbery incident at an on-campus frat house then he was kicked off the team entirely after being cited for marijuana possession. In most cases Masoli would not have played another down in college football. He had already finished his undergraduate degree, though, so under a crazy NCAA loophole, Masoli was allowed to enroll in another school for a graduate degree as long as that degree isn’t available at the original school and play immediately, the same rule that saw Greg Paulus playing QB at Syracuse last year.
So what would you do if you were Houston Nutt and down to just two quarterbacks with minimal experience in the middle of the summer? You bring in Jeremiah Masoli and give him one last chance and lay down a martial-law-like zero tolerance policy. Nutt has been known to give players another chance after having disciplinary problems at previous schools. The upside is that once he learns the offense, he is talented enough to help Nutt win an extra game or two for a team the SEC media picked to finish last in the SEC West. The downside, however, is that this guy could be a profound embarrassment to Ole Miss if he screws up again, and Nutt’s reputation will be damaged. Masoli is sure to have an impact on the Rebels this season and he is certainly going to be in the public eye. I like the idea of giving Masoli yet another chance. I hope he sticks it to the naysayers and wins a few more games for a team than otherwise doesn’t have a chance.
Houston Nutt joined the Dan Patrick Show to talk about why he took a chance on Jeremiah Masoli, how much Jeremiah Masoli will improve the team, and whether he contacted Jeremiah Masoli about coming to Ole Miss.
Why he took a chance on Jeremiah Masoli:
“First let’s go back to Jevan Snead. Jevan Snead left a little bit of a curve for us, so we have got Raymond Cotton, we got Nathan Stanley, we got Randall Mackey coming in the summer time, we will be ok. We will get a walk-on just in case. When Raymond Cotton threw the double curveball on us, really you are talking about Nathan who had been here during the spring, took a few backup/mop-up snaps last year, Randall had not taken a snap. I either had to get a junior college guy, who I didn’t know anything about. I am not used to recruiting in July, guys. The junior college guy there is Jeremiah. The thing that swung it for me was when I did get to meet him. Again guys, I knew there is going to be some bad things said when you take a guy like that but what won it over for me was when he got here I looked him in his eyes and talked to his mom extensively. I just feel like that this kid is going to be ok. He is going to be alright here for four months. I think that he knows. He absolutely knows that this is his last chance to play college football.”
Whether he worries about the bad press, in particular, Stewart Mandel writing that he is a dirty coach:
“That is pretty strong words there. Obviously he has no idea about me for him to use that word. I don’t see how that would even correlate, myself. But I guess things like that are going to be said I guess, I don’t know. I just know this, I can go to bed at night knowing first and foremost I went to Nathan Stanley. ‘Nathan, I have got a little bit of a problem buddy. Do you remember that one time you went out during the spring? The last three days in spring that I didn’t really have a quarterback? Well, we are in the SEC now and I need another quarterback, would you have a problem?’ And he didn’t. Then our team said, ‘Coach, we will watch him. We are not going to let him disrupt us. We need another quarterback, come one. We trust you. We know that you have done with guys like this in the past. Maybe you can help change his life along the way and let’s go.’”
How much Jeremiah Masoli will improve the team:
“He gives us a lift. He gives us a lift because of the biggest thing he has quarterbacked a team all the way to the Rose Bowl. He has got some experience.”
Whether he contacted Jeremiah Masoli about coming to Ole Miss:
“We called the first time in the end of May or June. I told him that we couldn’t do that at this time. I wished him the best and we have got three quarterbacks and we are ok right now. Then he called back, I guess I don’t remember the date. When Raymond Cotton left and he said, ‘Coach, would you give me one chance?’ I said I will tell you what I want to do. I want to visit. I want to get permission from my AD and I want to visit you first. I want to be around you for 48 hours then I talked to Chip Kelly, I talked to quite a few people and I just felt better after all of that in knowing that there is going to be criticism. I have got an obligation to my team guys. First and foremost I have got an obligation with the players, the team, first and foremost.”