Football legends reminisce about longtime rivalry
BOOK SIGNING n Legendary Ole Miss football coach John Vaught, left, signs copies of "Bloodfeud" Tuesday night for Tyler Norman, Daniel Bowles and Billy Trest. Vaught and former Mississippi State University greats John Bond and Johnie Cooks were at Books-A-Million to sign copies of the book about the storied Ole Miss-MSU rivalry. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Fredie Carmichael/The Meridian Star
Nov. 21, 2001
When legendary Ole Miss football coach John Vaught thinks about this week's game between his former team and Mississippi State University, he has one wish.
Vaught said Eli is "as good as his dad was."
Vaught and former MSU greats John Bond and Johnie Cooks stopped by Books-A-Million on Tuesday night to sign copies of the book "Bloodfeud" which details the storied Ole Miss-MSU rivalry.
Nearly 30 fans had their books signed.
Others stopped by to share stories about their most memorable Ole Miss-MSU games. The annual series started Oct. 28, 1901; the teams began playing for a trophy called the "Golden Egg" in 1927.
Charles Bidgood, who played for the Rebels during Vaught's first year at Ole Miss in1947, chatted with his former coach. Bidgood said he remembered Vaught's first Ole Miss-MSU game on Nov. 29, 1947.
Bidgood showed a copied photograph of him trying to tackle MSU running back Shorty McWilliams, in the 1947 game. Bidgood and McWilliams played together at Meridian High School before parting ways and attending rival colleges.
Vaught still remembered McWilliams.
Bidgood said he couldn't remember the play. When he tried to view the old game film, he said, it became fuzzy during that series of plays.
Cooks, a former MSU linebacker from 1977-1981, then said: "Shorty must have run over you pretty hard if you can't remember the play. Are you sure it wasn't on the film, or did is it just hard to watch?"
Bidgood, laughing, shot back: "Now that I think about it, I believe it was a MSU game film. Maybe that explains it. That was probably the only bright spot in the game for them that day."
Whatever happened in the past, Bidgood, Vaught, Cooks, Bond and others at the bookstore agreed that the Thursday night game is the biggest of the year for both schools.
Fredie Carmichael is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3228, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.