THE BEST OF TIMES…
It was two red letter days in Oxford. I grew up there, as did my father, so it’s always a good day when I get to the Square. Standing on a balcony and looking at the courthouse, with an old cherished friend, is as good as it gets for me. That was Tuesday night. Wednesday, real early, my cousin and I headed for the Oxford Conference Center.
The Ole Miss Quarterback Club made the Rebel Nation proud with the way they set up and treated the Rebel faithful. I was in the group of about 35-40 Rebels standing there at 6:30 a.m. waiting for the doors to open at seven o’clock. And I was one of the 35-40 who yelled Hotty Toddy when Robert Nkemdiche put on his OM cap! Soon, Rebels by the hundreds were pouring into the parking lot. It was electric inside.
Not too long after, 500 hundred Rebels sat with breath held when Tunsil said, “The University of…….MISSISSIPPI.” At that moment all 500 Rebels flew out of our seats and exploded into a mass of yelling, screaming and back slappin’! As the roar subsided, someone yelled, ARE YOU READY?! And well, you know the rest. Then the names began to roll in. The dominoes began to fall. ESPNU started a virtual 12 hour Ole Miss commercial.
But what about Tony Connor? Nick Saban had been in his Tony’s living room 48 hours earlier. And finally, in hushed silence, Mr. Connor was on the big screen. You could have a heard a pin drop. And I know you could have heard the wild cheers on the Square when he made it official. Ole Miss was the right fit for him! After that, the now 6-700 Rebels in the room were best friends. We laughed and Hotty Toddied through lunch.
The final roar, and maybe the loudest, was when Hugh Freeze came straight through the doors and took the stage. It was as good as it gets for me. He loves Ole Miss and you can feel it. Im not a big crier…but a few times my throat tightened up. Everyone was swelled with pride. What a Hotty Toddy moment for the Rebel Nation!