At press conferences like the one Thursday, everyone's always listening for the right things to be said. New Ole Miss head football coach Ed Orgeron said plenty of them.
He wants Ole Miss people to be more involved in the football program. He says he's available for speaking engagements; just call him.
He says if Ole Miss folks wanted to have a pep rally in the Grove after the press conference Thursday, that'd be just fine with him.
He welcomes fans to visit anytime. He says they can come to practice.
Of course, all things have their limitations. No coach is available to every fan all the time. My guess is that every practice in the Orgeron era might not be open. But that's just a guess.
What we all heard collectively Thursday from the 35th head football coach in University of Mississippi history, if you were listening at all, was that things will be fun again.
Oh there've been some fun times the past six seasons. Many of them. Four wins in six years over Mississippi State. Going to the Cotton Bowl and winning it. Beating Florida back to back, and whipping Oklahoma and Nebraska. Winning a couple of times in Tiger Stadium. The Eli Manning era was terrific.
But fans, as a whole, wanted more personality from their football program. Thursday we saw that.
We heard that on defense, Coach O's specialty, they'll be aggressive, they'll run to the football, try their best to be the best in the take-away department, and most of all attempt to keep the opposing team from scoring points.
On offense we heard the Rebels will be unpredictable and exciting. "Fifty-fifty," Coach O said between running and passing. They'll do some things in games to surprise the other team - and maybe our own fans too.
Special teams will be special. He coordinated them at Southern Cal. You don't get to be No. 1 in the country without them.
Coach O was assistant head coach at USC as well as recruiting coordinator and was considered one of the top - if not THE top - recruiters in the country. You have to feel good about the type players he and his staff will bring in.
So where will this all lead? Coach Orgeron says the goals are these: "To win the SEC West, the SEC championship, and play in the Sugar Bowl."
The Sugar Bowl. Coach O knows it. He basically grew up in the shadows of old Tulane Stadium and later the Louisiana Superdome.
The Sugar Bowl. Ole Miss people know it, but not Ole Miss people under 40. And that's a lot of our fan base now.
The Rebels once owned Bourbon Street, playing in eight Sugar Bowls in 18 years from 1953-70. But Coach O was eight years old the last time the Rebels played in it. On Jan. 1, 1970, the last appearance for the Rebels in the classic, the Superdome was still a blue print.
Coach O wants to take us there and says so, but he can't do it alone. He's completing a staff that will help him get there. He needs 100 percent support from Ole Miss people to get there.
One hundred percent support. Tough thing there. Check the internet message boards and see. Talk to Ole Miss fans here and there and see.
Most Ole Miss folks seem sold on Coach O and what he brings to the table as well as what he said in their initial contact with him. Now they need - we all need - to get on board and head this thing in the right direction. The positive direction. A southerly direction, straight over to Batesville on Highway 6 and down I-55, picking up momentum in the capital city and points south, and rolling into Louisiana for New Year's.
Gosh don't you love the thought.
But it's going to take work. And commitment. And total support for what the head coach wants.
And when will it happen? When will the Rebels be good? Really good? Sugar Bowl good?
"We'll be good when we're good," said the Rebels' new leader.
Best that we all listen to that - loud and clear.
John Fourcade was at the press conference. The former Rebel quarterback still living in New Orleans drove up in the wee hours of the morning to get here to see his old acquaintance become the Rebels' head man. Fourcade and Orgeron competed against each other in high school football. Truth be known, Fourcade would like to be on Coach O's staff in some capacity.
There were a lot of excited, intrigued fans inside the overflowing team meeting room at the beautiful new IPF. Coach O says we have the best football facilities he's ever been a part of.
New Orleans is a little more than five hours from Oxford. But during the holidays it's been a road much less traveled the past 35 years.
I want to go back. I know you do too.
So does Coach O. And he knows the way.
Let's help him get there. You know the question.
Are you ready?
Editor Jeff on Thursday's activities
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