Coach O after winning at Memphis last season
Coach Ed Orgeron spoke to the Southeastern Conference media today, prior to the start of his second season as head coach at Ole Miss.
HOOVER, Ala. - Ed Orgeron met the press for the second time at SEC Media Days, and this time around things weren't quite so new - not for him nor for those who cover the SEC.
Last year there was a lot of intrigue and curiosity surrounding the arrival of Orgeron into the Southeastern Conference. This year, most knew what to expect. This time they wanted to know more about his team and maybe a little about what he'd learned his first year on the job.
"Everything was new for me last year, being my first year as a head football coach," Orgeron told several hundred in attendance this morning. "Some things I did right. Some things I did wrong. Hopefully I don't repeat the same mistakes this year."
Certainly one area that was positive in his first "official year" in Oxford (not counting the two months he had to recruit the first time around), was the class he and his staff signed in February.
"Persistence, having a plan, believing in OIe Miss, and believing in myself," he said of his recruiting focus and direction. "We work very hard in recruiting. We work every day. My goal is to outwork my opponents in recruiting. Building relationships, getting on them early, and staying on them. That's the way to get it done.
"We had an excellent, excellent recruiting class. We're excited to see just how good these guys are going to be and how they can help contribute to our football team this year."
The questions surrounding some of his incoming players were bound to arise. Certainly the most prominent one concerned quarterback Brent Schaeffer.
"If everything goes as planned, Brent Schaeffer should report with the team on August 3rd," Orgeron said. "Brent Schaeffer is going to be our starting quarterback. We're excited about Brent Schaeffer. He brings excitement to our football team, something we needed on offense. YOu guys watched us last year. We need great play from our quarterback. I think he'll be able to do that."
More from Orgeron on Schaeffer.
"He'll be able to make some plays on his own. He'll be able to run with the football when he's being pressured. That's what I like about him. He's going to fit in well in the offense."
And, since there is a remote possibility Scaheffer won't make it to campus, then what?
"Well, we're going to have to simplify it even if he does show up on time," Orgeron said. "We're going to see how much he can handle. I don't expect, if he doesn't show up on time, for it to be later than a couple of practices. You just can't tell."
Orgeron said it was best for Schaeffer to go back to College of the Sequioas to finish up.
"There was an ending date (with courses) there, like August 2 or 3. When you take correspondence courses, there's an open-ended date. Some of the courses were taking too long to complete. I didn't know if he could complete them by the time camp started."
So the wait continues but the confidence is there that Schaeffer will arrive in time to prepare for the season.
"Obviously he's finishing summer school. He has some courses to finish. We've been in touch with Brent daily. We have a plan in effect. We think it's going to work."
Speaking of the offense, Orgeron talked about the additions of Dan Werner and Art Kehoe as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach respectively.
"(Art Kehoe) is a championship coach, there's no doubt," Orgeron said. "He spent a lot of years at Miami. The day he was fired there he told me he was coming to Ole Miss. He has an attitude about himself. He has a confidence about himself. He is well-known all around the country as a great recruiter and great line coach. He brings us an immediate attention to our football team.
"The thing I like about Dan (Werner) is when I interviewed him, we could sit down and I had confidence that he could run the type of offense that would fit our whole team philosophy. Our team philosophy at Ole Miss will always be defense first. I feel if we can play great defense, run the football, take care of the football on offense, then we can have a successful football team."
The recruiting season certainly helped offset a 3-8 campaign in 2005. Orgeron said that he knew his team had to improve to win more games in 2006.
"Our goal in camp is to create a tough, competitive environment for our new football team," he said. "We're excited to see how good the new guys are going to be and how they can contribute. We want to establish our identity as a team, establish the leadership of our team. We plan to do that in camp."
Other notes from today: Incoming defensive lineman Jerrell Powe has not yet made it through the NCAA Clearinghouse. No longer with the team are FB Seth Michaelson, DB Gary Albury, DB Gary Riggs, and DB Tyson Andrus. Expected to qualify and be in camp is incoming juco LB Rory Johnson.
Tomorrow: Player story from Hoover.