David Brandt (Twitter) is in his third season covering Ole Miss for The Clarion-Ledger. Before that, he bounced around from Missouri to Tennessee to Mississippi. Brandt graduated from Truman State (Mo.) University. In this week’s interview, David talks about Tommy Tuberville, the Jevan Snead letdown, and Houston Nutt’s sideline antics.
1.What is the first thing that pops into the heads of Ole Miss fans when Auburn football is mentioned?
I think in more recent terms, they think of Tommy Tuberville and everything surrounding that story. Obviously, he was well-liked when he was at Ole Miss back in the 90s. When he left for Auburn, many were upset, but they sure had a hard time beating him.
2. Ole Miss has had a tough time living up to preseason expectations. How do you think this has affected the team and coaches?
I think there’s no doubt that a few weeks ago the Rebels were pretty down. This was supposed to be a year they could go to Atlanta and now that’s all but gone. That being said, I think two straight wins has helped the team’s ego. There’s still some disappointment, but I think most of it has been channeled toward finishing the season well.
3. Who ever thought Jevan Snead was good?
I honestly thought Snead was going to be pretty good this year, but when all of the Heisman talk started – that’s when it was getting a little out of hand. He was good during the last six games last season and has certainly flashed a strong arm, but the bandwagon got way too big, too fast and there was an inevitable letdown.
4. What are Ole Miss fans’ expectations for this game?
Considering Ole Miss has played well the past few weeks and Auburn has struggled, I would say Ole Miss fans expect to win. There’s still a feeling that this Rebels team is pretty good and this is a game they should get.
5. What are Ole Miss fans’ expectations for the rest of this season?
With five games left, I think their expectation (realistic or not) is to win four out of five and go back to the Cotton Bowl or even make the Capital One Bowl. That might be a little high, but I certainly think most expect to win three out of five.
6. Who are two generally unknown Ole Miss players that Auburn should look out for?
Jesse Grandy is a freshman who weighs only about 160 pounds, but he’s shown some pretty electric speed as a kick returner. He broke one against UAB and has come close several other times. Junior receiver Markeith Summers only has a handful of catches this season, but when he’s caught them, they’ve been big gains. With teams concentrating on Shay Hodge and Dexter McCluster, he gets a lot of one-on-one coverage.
7. What is your prediction for the game?
Ole Miss 28, Auburn 20: I judge this mainly on the direction the two teams have gone the past three weeks. But momentum is obviously a fickle thing sometimes. I do think when Ole Miss is playing well they’re tough to stop. Snead should have a solid game and then I think the Ole Miss defense will make things tough on Chris Todd. If Auburn is going to win, it can’t be one-dimensional, but the Ole Miss defensive line sometimes has a way of forcing its will onto other teams.
8. What do you think Auburn and Ole Miss’s final records will be?
With Ole Miss – I have a hard time deciding between 9-3 and 8-4. The Rebels have a favorable schedule, but there’s at least one loss somewhere in the next five games, whether it’s against Auburn, Tennessee, LSU (the most likely loss) or Mississippi State.
In my mind, Auburn goes 7-5, even with the tough end-of-season schedule. Furman’s a win and then I think the Tigers find a way to win one of three against either Ole Miss, Georgia or Alabama.
9. Why does Houston Nutt act like he’s won the national championship every time his team gets a first down?
Photoshop was made for somebody like Houston Nutt! Some of the things I’ve seen people do with his expressions on message boards have been priceless. But seriously, Houston Nutt’s an excitable coach and that’s just his demeanor. That, of course, can either be hilarious or infuriating depending on your point of view. One thing for sure – the man’s not boring.