Meetings with athletic director ongoing
With speculation swirling, Mississippi coach David Cutcliffe and athletic director Pete Boone met Monday to discuss the state of the Rebels football program. No announcements were made after the meeting, other than the fact that more meetings will take place.
"Their discussions are ongoing," said Langston Rogers, Ole Miss associate athletic director for media relations.
Rumors were rampant in Oxford on Monday that Cutcliffe would resign or be fired -- or, if he keeps his job, that staff changes are imminent. Third-year defensive coordinator Chuck Driesbach has been the target of significant criticism as the Rebels slid to 4-7 after going 10-3 last year.
When asked after Ole Miss' annual season-ending Egg Bowl game against Mississippi State whether he'd be coach of the Rebels in 2005, Cutcliffe offered no assurances.
"It's not up to me," Cutcliffe told the (Jackson) Clarion-Ledger. "That's not my decision."
That decision would ostensibly come from Boone. Neither he nor Cutcliffe returned phone messages Monday.
Money would seem to be a factor in a decision to oust Cutcliffe. He was rewarded with a new contract after going to the Cotton Bowl last season, and has three years left on a deal that is believed to pay him about $1.2 million annually.
Cutcliffe has a 44-29 record at Ole Miss in seven seasons. This season, after replacing No. 1 NFL draft pick Eli Manning, is the first year he has not won at least seven games. Cutcliffe also is 4-2 in Egg Bowl games against Mississippi State, including a 20-3 victory Saturday.
On the negative side, Ole Miss remains the only SEC West member not to win the division and play in the league championship game. Hopes were high for a Western Division title with Manning but never materialized, and this year, with an inexperienced cast of quarterbacks, seven new defensive starters and a leadership void, the Rebels slumped to their worst record since 1994.