It’s going to be a turf ride for the Rebels

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 31, 2003

When someone says in an article that a football opponent &uot;pulled the rug from under the Ole Miss Rebels,&uot; it’s almost literally possible.

Joking, of course, but Ole Miss has installed AstroPlay turf for the 2003 season, and head coach David Cutcliff is hoping a solid Eli Manning-playing-Manning caliber will be even better on the rug than he has been on the sod in Oxford.

Still moving forward on a $30 million so-called &uot;skybox project,&uot; Rebel athletic director Pete Boone stood on the turf and remarked: &uot;They say the road to sucees is a long journey. Well, we’ve taken a significant and major step on our way.&uot;

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Don’t you know that Ole Miss chancellor Robert Khayat, former Rebel football star himself, was tickled to be at the press conference with head football coach Cutcliff? It’s good to see Mississippi institutions of higher learning with football programs reach such zeniths. Means they can compete in all school areas.

The University of Southern Mississippi is already well into a like program that will include a $32.66 million Roberts Stadium expansion with 30 luxury boxes. &uot;The latest push will impact nearly every sport under the Golden Eagle umbrella,&uot; USM athletic director Richard Giannini told the press.

I’ve mentioned this earlier, but the project already underway will add 30 luxury suites with 616 total seats &045; 1,352 club-level seats in the south end zone, plus 1,832 bench seats on the stadium’s east side. Roberts Stadium will then seat nearly 38,000 fans. Over 30 million dollars will have been spent.

Conference USA, to which USM belongs and likes very much, will as a result of the facilities upgrade swell with pride. I can tell you &045; Roberts Stadium is already a first-class facility. And Hattiesburg, hometown of it all, is a great city.

Jonesville’s Chris Shivers didn’t quite make it aboard that Bull named &uot;Little Yellow Jacket,&uot; but Chris remains the area hero of this exciting sport called Professional Bullriding. I’m sure he made a good check anyway with his Colorado Springs effort.

Tell you one thing: Shivers is &uot;the man&uot; over around his hometown of Jonesville. If you ever go to Jackie’s Restaurant there to dine, visit a little with the fine folks over there and you’ll almost surely hit on the subject of Chris Shivers.

Chris has his own ranch and he moves around in the area. I met him recently at Jackie’s. He’s polite and great to yak with. Not many areas can boast of a full-fledged PBR hero like Chris. And, yes, I know he didn’t manage to ride last week, but none of them ride successfully every time out of the chute.

I don’t bet, but if I did my money would be on our area’s full-time bullriding hero Chris Shivers every time. One reason is he’s consistent. Another reason is that he’s so personable and so appreciable of his home area’s backing.

College baseball saw the Ole Miss Rebels whip Alabama 8-3 Sunday in SEC action. And USM pulled out the big lumber in its 8-4 victory over Memphis, giving the Eagles a sweep of the series.

The important conference victory saw the Rebels move to 10-8 in the league and 24-16 overall as Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco tries for the shot in the arm he knows the club needs to keep on keeping on.

And No. 9 Mississippi State? &uot;Only&uot; 28-9 overall and 11-6 in the SEC. Baseball in Bulldog Country, that’s all. Watch the ‘Dogs make their move.

Glenvall Estes is a longtime columnist for The Natchez Democrat.