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July 27, 2005

Ed Orgeron


COACH ED ORGERON: What a pleasure to be here at the Southeastern Conference Media Days. First head football coaching job for a university for myself. Proud to be back here in the south and proud to be back here to start the season. The guys are ready to go and chomping at the bit. I will tell you this, I'm really pleased with the talent level that was at Ole Miss when I got there, especially at some positions. Running positions, Jamal Pittman and Anthony Hobgood, fullback, and Jason Cook, also plays at fullback. Those guys are going to be really strong. Have to run the football in the Southeastern Conference to be a championship team. Chris Mitchell when he wasn't injured was a tremendous football player. Really hurt us there at graduation, two running tackles. Andrew over from defense line to offense, makes a toughness over to offense a little bit and Bob is still open. I am expecting Michael or a freshman out of Memphis. The emphasis right there in the spring, especially playing in this conference, I believe that you have to be strong on the defensive line, and my background better be strong in the defensive line, and be strong in the offensive line. Wide receivers, a lot of guys that play a lot of games that are pretty good there. We got speed there. Players that play and good players also in special teams. I feel good about these guys. Three tight ends returning. A lot of depth there and the tight end will be a big part of the offense. A quarterback position. Really see it as a great opportunity for our young men to learn how important competition is on the practice field. And that is the main focus on my program is about competition. I want to put the best against the best on the practice field and let them go after it and get a competitive situation. A great spring for us, USC offense, and did pretty good for us. Blake played several practices, wasn't able to show us are stuff. All the qualities of an outstanding quarterback, all the intangibles of leadership, toughness. Steps in the huddle, the people listen to them. Deciding how things are going to play out. I don't think the quarterback position is that important for win or lose. I am the defensive coordinator, I learn from coaches as a mentor, I saw him at USC and in a short time, he started this program playing great defense, and coached every day. I handled the head coach's responsibilities and dedicated and love or defensive and having a great defensive and having to do it right. Tremendous defensive line, young men I am excited about. I got a chance to coach Boykin, he is here in Alabama, he had a tremendous career so far. Learn from sprains from his knee. Reconstructive knee surgery, fine, ready to go. First couple of days, we will see. My goal is to get play 11 or 12 Saturdays and get him to play really well. Michael Bozeman played last year. Pretty good player, had a back injury. Got to keep our guys fresh. Mitchell played a little bit last year, he is a big old boy. I play him on the independent. Brandon Jacobs, he was 280 pounds. Feel good defensive end position. Rush end, guys are going to sack the quarterback. Chris Bowers from Louisiana, he is a little light in the britches but really quick. And that's going to be a big player for us. Moved to four-three defense. 8, 9 or 7 man fronts. But really a surprise -- not surprised. Really pleased with the play. Patrick Willis especially this spring and the way he took command of defense, sideline to sideline. Have to prove it in the game. That's what the true test of a player is. We all know that. Couple of guys. Safety linebacker, they'll be fine. We should be pretty good or defensive secondary, play a lot of zone coverage, same thing we did a USC. Take a lot of chances, good play, good fundamental hard nosed football on attitude. Special teams. I want to be really aggressive. Really aggressive on special teams. Block punts and kicks, sound and smart. Two freshman coming in. We have a freshman kicker and a freshman punter. I have not seen him kick a punt live yet. Next Thursday we're going to have to test these young men out in a competitive situation practice. Overall it has been a blast being a head coach. The first six months of recruiting has been very well. The only thing I do is want not to stop at the trucks stops but eat more catfish and potato logs and I will be all right. Having said that, I'd like to open this up to any questions. Anybody?

Q. Mike is a little ahead at this point; what is the distance between him and Robert, the quarterback position?

COACH ED ORGERON: There is a little bit of distance there just because of the practice. But I expect Robert to make that up very, very fast. We're going to take our time and make a decision. It doesn't matter who starts out in the first offense the first day; the other guys will go in the next day. All the people will get the opportunity to make it as fair as we can, then see what happens.

Q. Starter earlier in the season and really fell down in the department chart R rebuild his confidence what kind?

COACH ED ORGERON: He has a big smile on his face that I was there. And I saw a kid, young man willing to compete, and doing whatever it took. He told me, "Coach, I don't play quarterback. I will play another position." We went into spring with an open mind. He evaluates tapes of last year, only for athletic purposes, we don't want to judge how they played last year or not. I do not see a kid without any confidence. I saw a lot of confidence in him. In the spring we made several practices live so we could get hit. Beneficial for the defensive, it turned out to be that we couldn't tackle them. And it is beneficial to the offense. He is he is very hard to tackle. He is 12-man offense, and if he does win a position, he is going to be extremely confident in his abilities in our offense.

Q. When I got there I obviously wanted to instill an attitude in our first meeting with the team; [] how much of did everyone how much is real is how much is?

COACH ED ORGERON: You know, we had a very good meeting, and a lot of similar things that we did prior to my arrival at Ole Miss that fired up the team. Some of it true; some not so true. But I wanted to set a standard and go ahead of what type of coach I am going to be and what I expect from them. It was very good to me.

Q. You talk about adjusting, having the talent when you got to the Ole Miss. Of course you came from a program that obviously against Oklahoma. Was there an adjustment for you coaching Ole Miss after being there for --

COACH ED ORGERON: No. On the plane ride coming coming here I thought of the first days at USC when Coach Carol came there and I tried to remember the plays. I got a depth chart out and looked at the players that were there and I had recruited guys that played and so I could remind myself how it was going in in the beginning. It really helped me to compare some of the players that he had were a little bit better at some positions and obviously were not as good as others. That's the gauge that I used our first year together. I could not be fair and use the gauge of the team we just had because we didn't have a full year of recruiting. I will say this, that the most amazing thing that we did to turn around that program is to recruit the players we did and they played at that early age.

Q. With the other coaches also here; Spurrier, Fulmer; do you feel that you are kind of under the radar or a little overshadowed today?

COACH ED ORGERON: No, not at all. Not at all. I respect those guys. You know, that's why they put the cleats on. That's why we put the helmet on.

Q. Coming from south Louisiana, why don't you tell me about that background work ethic that you learned down there.

COACH ED ORGERON: That really was a key for me in my recruiting, in my coaching career. To be able to learn that I had to work on it. My family taught me that I had a choice to stay down by the fish, maybe shuffle shrimp or go be a football player and learn an education, that's probably the most important thing I learned at Northwestern State; Syracuse, New York and Los Angeles, California.

Q. You have a lot of player position evaluations in spring, will you continue that in August or is it too late to keep switching positions for players?

COACH ED ORGERON: The depth chart will be etched in sand. It's not deep sand in Oxford, but it will still be etched in it. And continue that and I want the depth chart. I want to take a note that special to start for the University of Mississippi and just because you did something yesterday don't mean a thing to me. I want to know what you did today, on a daily basis. Better not think they have it one bit. So we will make evaluations, we will continue to move guys.

Q. What's been noted for recruiting. What are your impressions about recruiting for Southern conference teams?

COACH ED ORGERON: I think it's fantastic. I love the competition. Competition makes you're better. Close competition, the better it is for a win. I believe that the talent in the south is by far the best in the country. Look at the draft and the look at all the players that get drafted, 47 players in the draft were drafted, six out Oxford, Mississippi. I think it's tremendous. I look at recruiting in the State of Mississippi, State of Tennessee, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and Florida, it's a tremendous opportunity for us. We also have connections in California, in Texas and New Jersey.

Q. What are some of the biggest challenges you face in building the program you want to build?

COACH ED ORGERON: I say this to you, I don't look at them as challenges. I look at them as part of our program. Be able to compete on a daily basis, be able to come to work with a great attitude and be able to learn the system and learn what we could. I am not going to be like past coaches. I have my own identity.

Q. As a first year head coach are you glad that the instant replay is in effect?

COACH ED ORGERON: I think they do a tremendous job formulating the way we're going to do it and I am looking forward to it.

Q. This is a two-part question. First off, there's been a great exodus from talented kids from the State of Mississippi to other places in the SEC over the years, and secondly, are you finding much resistance when you talk to kids convincing them that championships can be one at Ole Miss?

COACH ED ORGERON: To address your first one, really, we go to every school in the State of Mississippi, and I feel that every young man that was born in the State of Mississippi wants to play for Ole Miss, and that we have to show them a great program and we have to show why he comes to Ole Miss and why he feels that way. That's my feeling. But obviously some people have done a better job of recruiting. No, I do believe that being with USC, and winning the way we did against Oklahoma helped me recruiting.

Q. What kind of a specific things do you see Patrick Willis that make you think he is going to be a special?

COACH ED ORGERON: I think he has speed. I didn't know he had speed. You know, everybody can have speed. He plays fast, his ability to hit, ability to sideline. Linebacker, defensive scheme has to have coverage skills and basic skills and he can do bottom. I am really impressed with his demeanor, his willingness to learn and study.

Q. Do you think there should be something across the board as to how to report injuries?

COACH ED ORGERON: We will discuss it when it comes up.

Q. What's this?

COACH ED ORGERON: I go out to the field every day. And I just feel great being there. I feel that's what I always wanted to do. I allowed myself to have bad days as a football coach and it's a tremendous honor to be a HC and working up through the ranks and earning every opportunity I realize that you have to grasp every day and get after it. These things are not giving up. They're earned.

Q. Following up on what Rick was asking, is there a culture shock? You have Miami, Syracuse, Los Angeles, now Oxford. Can you talk a little bit about that?

COACH ED ORGERON: Well, my boys love it, they go bullfrogging in the morning at 6:00. They have four-wheelers, they go fish, they play baseball all day. Very similar. They play football, very similar to the way I was raised. My wife is from Jonesboro, Arkansas. I was born in south Louisiana. I think it's very good that culture shock. I went and saw Louisiana. I think it would be a little more of a culture shock. It's not about -- it's about having a good home and a good family and a good university and I think the fans are very good but, you know, basically, I go to work, and I go home. So that's very easy for me.

Q. Very quick two-part question. One, have you had a chance set down guidelines for coaches because you had a couple of problems with your coaches, and two, do you think those problems could be a black mark that could be used against you?

COACH ED ORGERON: Say that one again.

Q. Do you think those two coaches arrested for drinking can that be used against you?

COACH ED ORGERON: Let me answer the first one. The first one we had, immediately there was situations and I spoke to people and myself and the chancellor, and a decision was made immediately. Whether those things could be used against us or not I think they could be used as a positive for our program that we have a clean program and very disciplined program and we'll not tolerate that action.

Q. Young men in the 21st century, how do they respond to your style and how do you think they respond to enthusiasm of the sort that you seem to have?

COACH ED ORGERON: I think they love it. It's the way you want to play football. Most of the young men in the south were coached that way and I think they like it.

Q. Kind of a second line, coming in as a new coach, your team was mostly recruiting another staff or another head coach; how do you sell yourself?

COACH ED ORGERON: I think change is good. Change is good for the young men. Change is good for the coaches and I came in with immediate credibility for these young men. And it didn't take them long to see what I was about. Took about two days. I don't understand that program we're going to run and this is how we're going to run it. I gave them very few choices about how we're going to do things and that the manner that they do things, the way I will want them to do it and they have been fantastic.

Q. Coming in for the new program you got a new schedule to play now. I know you are gearing up for opening day, before you get into that, are there Saturdays you have looked at in the schedule that jump out at you, that you are excited to get to?

COACH ED ORGERON: Seriously, I have to, as a head football coach, treat every game the same. I have to prepare, respect our opponent. But really, about our opponents, it's going to how we are prepared, how well we play offense and defense, how good shape we're in, all about us. How we take care of the football. Any given day anything can happen. Somebody grown up in the south, and as a fan, there is some teams that burn inside, yes, they do, but as a head football coach we have to attack every game the same way.

Q. How did your head coach, what's one or two things that you didn't expect that you had to learn real quick to be successful?

COACH ED ORGERON: Really I can't tell you anything that's happened that I didn't expect, really. Every day I get up and get up early and try to get up there early and prepare myself. Anything can happen. And I really believe that it's not what happens to you; it's how you react to it. And I believe my reactions have been appropriate. It's not a natural fit for me to get in front and talk to the team. It's a natural fit for me to be coaching. Natural fit for recruiting. So I haven't met anything yet that I haven't done. Sometimes game day or Saturday I have been involved but most facets of the game I have never been a head coach on game day so one of the things that I look forward to because you have to be prepared for anything on game day. So as I go through the year the experience of head football coaches, I think things may pop up game day that I wasn't prepared for.

Q. One thing that you said in your opening I wanted you expound on some, you said "I don't think the quarterback position will be that important as to whether we win or lose."

COACH ED ORGERON: Yeah. I am saying in our system, in what we're doing, I don't think that we could put all of the emphasis on the quarterback. That's what we're saying. I don't believe that we could put all the weight on the shoulders of the quarterback because we don't have that experienced a quarterback. If we had an experienced quarterback coming back, I think we could do a lot more things and say Matt could do this. We'll not put the game in the quarterback's hands, and just put it on him if we are going to win or lose. We don't have that type of quarterback yet. We may have it; I don't know.

Q. You talked a couple of questions ago about needing a couple of days to kind of set the tone. Can you give us specific examples or habits or trends or a player by player basis, things that you saw that you put your stamp on right away?

COACH ED ORGERON: Just being early. Being early, being on time. Sitting up straight. Having a little energy in practice, having energy in meetings. Being excited about what we do. With a smile on our face. I wanted guy around us. I want guys that when they go to classes come in and see the coaches be around. Go out on the practice field. I want us moving full speed I want to be able to perform at a high level. The only way he assimilate the game is have great practices.

Q. You talked about Coach Mazzone being heavily involved with the quarterback situation. Ultimately it is going to come down to decision. Take your recommendations as regards to a starter.

COACH ED ORGERON: I will listen to all our coaches. I grade them every day. We will sit down with the staff and gather all the information me. I will make the decision.

Q. How hands-on are you going to be with defense and specifically so?

COACH ED ORGERON: As hands-on as you can imagine. I will be at the drill. I will be defensive coordinator, defensive line. I install the defense. I grade the tape, talk to the coaches, I watch the tape. One the things I learned from coaches is really about we have a rule. If it's broke we want it fix. We want it fix immediately so it's my job to see if it's broke. If it's broke at a position we want to fix it. I want to see it on the film the next day so we're very hands-on. Thanks guys.

End of FastScripts...

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