Back On Campus

Michael Oher visited with an adoring group of several hundred Ole Miss ladies at their annual Football Forum Saturday. But while the answers to many of his questions brought cheers, a couple of them are a bit more serious than the others for the former Rebel all-star offensive lineman.

Will there be an NFL season? What has he been doing during these uncertain times?

"I'm just working out and staying prepared for camp," said the former first-team All-American for the Rebels. "I think (the season) is going to come around at the same time. I'm just being a pro and getting ready for football."

Oher said he's tuned in to a lot of what is going on, but some of it he simply awaits word on updates.

"We have people who let us know what's going on every day," said the starting left tackle of the Baltimore Ravens. "Whenever something happens, or anything happens, somebody lets us know. We stay updated."

Oher likes the Ravens' chances of being a very good football team and contender again in 2011. Baltimore was 12-4 in 2010 and finished second in the AFC North. They lost to divisional rival Pittsburgh in the playoffs.

"I think we'll be allright," said Oher, from Memphis, Tenn. "We have a solid team and a bunch of great guys. I think we'll be fine."

Oher has been keeping up with Ole Miss, too. He believes the Rebels have a good chance to be better than they were during the 2010 season when their record was 4-8.

"I'm around a lot so I see the guys working out," he said. "I see the coaches, and these guys are doing a great job with the players. The players are working hard, and they're making a lot of progress."

Michael Oher and Sean Tuohy
Bruce Newman
Oher, who shared headliner of the day at the Ladies Forum with his mom, Leigh Anne Tuohy, said when he's in Oxford it's always special.

"These guys are always like family," he said of the Ole Miss football program and its personnel. "They always treat me well. Great staff. Great players. They're working good this offseason, and I'm looking forward to seeing them play this season."

Oher, best known world-wide for the book and the movie, The Blind Side, has his own book out now. It's Oher's own autobiography called I Beat The Odds: From Homelessness to The Blind Side and Beyond.

"I Beat The Odds was (written) mainly just to open the door for a lot of kids like me," said Oher, whose life story was chronicled in The Blind Side. "To let people know even though you struggle, you can still make it. As long as you have a strong will and a determination to succeed, you can."

Oher was asked his best Ole Miss memory as a player. He didn't hesitate.

"My senior year, beating Florida," he said of the 31-30 win against the 2008 national champion Gators led by Tim Tebow. "Finally getting a win like that and beating Florida in the Swamp. That will be a memory forever."

Oher walked out onto the IPF field and was introduced to the women as cameras clicked and flashed and the applause and cheers reached their optimum volume of the day.

All of them remembered watching him as a college player. And all of them know him now as one of the most recognized names in sports, thanks to the books, the movie, and also his abilities that have led him to be a starter at the highest level of football.

Oher fielded many questions during his session. One of them, so important to many fans, was what is he going to say when he is announced in the starting lineup of games this fall, whenever the season starts.

"This year, I'm going to say ‘Ole Miss' when I'm introduced," he said, which brought arguably the loudest cheer of all.

Oher said it was a good day to be with his family – Sean, Leigh Anne, and the women of the Ladies Football Forum.

"Coming back to Ole Miss...Ole Miss is like family," he said. "Whenever I can be a part of it and help out and see the fans, it's always fun."

OM Spirit Top Stories