You get the impression that Houston Nutt and Dan Mullen took very different approaches in preparing for their first two face-to-face meetings?
First, the Nuttster:
Marcello: In the past you said it took some time for you to fully realize the importance of the rivalry with Mississippi State. Will you approach the game differently this year?
Nutt: When I was at Arkansas, it was nine out of 10 times we had beaten Mississippi State. When we got here, the first year it was a 45-0 (Ole Miss win). Nobody said much about it. The last two years have not gone our way, and so there’s been a lot of talk on the other side. You just sit and you learn each year.
We really tried to make it very important last year. That is one of the biggest games of the year, and when you have that rival – Ole Miss-MSU in the Egg Bowl – it’s something very, very special. Our players know that and I think our coaches know that.
Compare that with Mullen:
Marcello: Last year after the Egg Bowl, you said, “We’re never going to lose to this team again.” You stand by that?
Mullen: That’s the plan.
Marcello: What if Ole Miss beats you this year? How will you react?
Mullen: We better work an awful lot harder next year. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t ever plan on losing to them. Hopefully I never have to come up with that scenario.
Before he came to Ole Miss, Nutt coached many years at a school that didn’t have a natural conference rival. It sounds like it’s taken some time for him to realize how to prepare for that kind of game.