Ole Miss offensive coordinator Phil Longo

New OC will 'install entire offense in first four days of spring training'

You would think, in today's complex world of high-powered offenses and the defenses designed to stop them, that installation of a new offense or defense would take all of the allotted 15 practices of spring training and some of August practice.

Not so says Phil Longo, the new offensive coordinator at Ole Miss.

"We will install the entire offense in four days. The largest learning curve for the players will be learning different terminology for some of the same things they have been doing. 50-60% of the offense is overlap from last year, we are just calling it different things," Longo explained. "Obviously, we will have to spend more time on the stuff they have never run before, which will be 40-50% of the offense.

"My goals for spring training are three-fold. We will install the base offense in four days. The second four days, we are going to work the progressions off the offense and polish the base stuff. That takes us through practice eight. The third aspect - practices 9-14, we will work situational stuff - Red Zone, third down, goalline, two-minute, and so on. Then, obviously, we want to perform well in the Grove Bowl for the fans."

Longo's method is based on focus.

"We will cram things in the first four days, re-educate and reinstall the offense the next four days with some added tweaks, and then situational stuff the final few days. That way the kids can focus on one thing at a time, get it down and then move to the next thing. Then, they can focus on polishing it and adding to their base knowledge before we get into situational stuff. Their minds won't be cluttered doing things this way," he stated.

Longo will be working with QBs Shea Patterson, Jason Pellerin and Jordan Ta'amu in spring training and based on the limited classroom work he has shared with them to this point, he is pleased with their mental approach.

Shea Patterson

"All three of them are really bright on the chalk board," Longo stated. "Shea is extremely intelligent, he can run the football and he can throw very well. He is the total package. From and X and O standpoint, he is very mature. I get a good product in the classroom with him because I don't have to repeat things three or four times with him.

"He writes things down, lock it in and the next meeting, he's got it. I can build from there and don't have to backtrack. His learning curve is really quick. Jordan is also very intelligent and puts the time in too and Jason is exceptional in all aspects as well, in my opinion," Longo noted. "I am very happy and excited to work with them."

The Rebel receivers will be doing something new this spring, as has been documented in other interviews with Longo. We asked him to rehash a little as spring training approaches rapidly.

"Instead of having to teach all the coverages they saw last year, which is a huge library of coverages, some 40-plus different coverages they saw last year, we have simplified their world where they do not have to memorize all those coverages and looks," he explained. "All they need to know is it man or zone and is there immediate safety help or not. They live in that world on their side of the formation. They can adapt and do what is necessary to chase space against a zone or create separation against man coverage. 

"That is all they have to learn. We will teach our receivers how and where to run the routes in order to create separation and chase space and all the QB has to do is o through his progressions and throw to the open guy. We have kept things simple in the passing game for all parties."

Longo said there is no magic wand for the run game, but the concept is the same as with the wide receivers, essentially.

"We want to be physical and aggressive, but it boils down to we are going to chase space just like we do in the passing game. If you line up over there, we will run over here. It is not rocket science. If you have five in the box, we will run it at you. If you have seven in the box, we will go somewhere else with the ball. We still want to be physical, but we are going to run where defenders aren't."

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