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|Nutt speech one of the best|
thought about making a list of the top speakers at the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Miss-Lou Chapter banquet hled in Natchez the past 28 years, but I realized it would kind of be like trying to name the greatest players or teams.
Each speaker brings something different and it's the old apples and oranges deal.
When you take a list of the speakers who have spoken in the past at this first-class event, it makes it even more difficult.
But I can say that Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt was the most dynamic speaker I've seen at this function, which took place Thursday at the Natchez Eola Hotel.
And, granted I have not been to every function.
Former Natchez Democrat Sports Editor Mike Grubb rode the plane with Archie Manning some 20 years ago and I was stuck with desk duty that night, so I missed out on what was surely a memorable night.
Other duties caused me to miss other quality speakers such as Bill Arnsparger, Bobby Collins and Billy Brewer, to name a few.
But I'm certainly glad I didn't miss out on Nutt.
The first-year Rebel and former Arkansas coach had full command of his audience, even the non-Rebel fans.
He told of how when he got to Ole Miss there was a lot of "it's his fault" going on, crossing his arms and pointing in his fingers in opposite direction to demonstrate the lack of accountability.
He talked about that concept being the reason Ole Miss played only two good quarters against Vanderbilt.
He told the team about being one heartbeat. He explained how he told them he didn't want anyone going to Gainesville to the Florida game who didn't believe they could win.
Of course, Ole Miss would hand Florida its lone loss of the season that day.
Nutt said he told his team about the thousands of Florida fans who would be doing the Gator chop.
"Jason Cook told me before we left, 'Coach, we are going to win,' " Nutt said. "We got over there and in the first quarter I'm noticing our guys seem to be more into it. In the second quarter I look around and all 70 guys are up and into the game. In the third quarter a couple of guys walk up to me and say, 'Coach, we are going to win this game.'
"In the fourth quarter, with us up 31-24, Marshay Green walks up to me and says, 'Coach, we are going to win this game.' I said, 'That's great, Marshay, but you need to get out there and cover Percy Harvin because he is really fast.'"
Ole Miss won that game on a blocked extra point. Nutt talked about the trip back and landing in Tupelo where hundreds of Ole Miss fans were waiting.
"Jason told me he had never seen anything like that in his four years here," Nutt said. "I couldn't believe that."
Nutt also talked about commitment and how Darren McFadden told him they had to get Felix Jones to make the Arkansas team better instead of worrying about him being competition.
He told the scholar-athletes that they display shadows to others.
"You may be second-team, but there is an 8-year-old out there watching you," Nutt said.
It was definitely one of the best speeches and ranks right there at the top.
Sylvester Croom two years ago was certainly an outstanding speaker and had some great advice for the students.
Ed Orgeron three years ago was one of the most entertaining with stories about NFL players and some of his players at Southern Cal.
Ferriday's own Daryl Daye gave an outstanding talk and was very captivating.
Charlie Weatherbie had an exceptional lesson for the scholar-athletes, while Ed Zaunbrecher was just as poignant.
And Concordia Parish Clerk of Court Clyde Ray Webber was certainly the funniest.
It was another unforgettable night put on by the local NFFHF chapter. Cathedral's Harrison Burns won the top honor, while Vidalia High's Jake Martin was second. Huntington's Drew Loomis and Ferriday's Levier Pryor were more than worthy of their scholarships.
It's a great service this organization does for the community. And it's always dynamic, motivating, entertaining, poignant and humorous. It just depends on the speaker.
Joey Martin is sports editor of the Concordia Sentinel in Ferriday/Vidalia. The Concordia Sentinel is a sister publication of The Franklin Sun in Winnsboro and The Ouachita Citizen in Monroe/West Monroe. Martin can be reached by e-mailing email@example.com.