Chow featured speaker at UM coaches' clinic

Norm Chow, the former USC offensive coordinator now with the Tennessee Titans of the NFL, and Rebel Coach Ed Orgeron matched wits on the practice fields at Southern Cal for several years. We spoke to Coach Chow about Ed. Chow was on the Ole Miss campus today to speak to area coaches at Orgeron's first coaching clinic as the Ole Miss mentor.

When heralded Offensive Coordinator Norm Chow went from North Carolina State to Southern Cal five years ago, it was current Rebel Coach Ed Orgeron who picked him up at the airport for the hour drive to the USC campus.

"I was instantly sold on Ed's passion for the game and his dreams for the USC program. I asked him if we could win national titles at USC and he said 'we will win national titles at USC.' And we did," said Chow, the featured speaker at Orgeron's first coaching clinic at Ole Miss. "Not only is he a tremendous football coach, he is a dear friend. I absolutely love the guy and admire what he has accomplished in coaching. There is no doubt in my mind that he will do well at Mississippi."

Chow and Orgeron coached on opposite sides of the ball at USC for four years. It was a period in Norm's career he cherishes.

"Coach (Pete) Carroll and Ed were always ahead of me in practice because they had my script and I never had theirs," Chow smiled. "Those were fun times, times I'll never forget. Ed and I each had couches in our offices. Many nights we would spend the night in our offices trying to help build those national championship teams.

"I'm so happy he is getting this opportunity - he's earned it and will do well with the setup Ole Miss has and with his passion and excellent staff he has put together."

Chow and Rebel OC Noel Mazzone go "way back" as well.

"I was at BYU when Noel played at New Mexico State," Chow noted. "We've been friends ever since. There is a lot of mutual respect between us. We talk once or twice a week and compare notes. I like what he is doing here.

"I watched some tape with him this morning of their last practice and it's just a matter of time and them getting a few more players in here before this thing explodes. Noel's offense has evolved so much in the past few years. He's got some excellent, innovative ideas that will work. It was a great compliment to me when Ed said he was going to run my offense when he was hired here, but I think the combination of what Noel does and what I do is the way they are going and I think it's going to be terrific.

"I joked with them this morning that I want a sideline pass to the Ole Miss-Vanderbilt game so I can criticize every call they make. Seriously, with Ed on defense and Noel on offense, I don't see how things could be much better. Noel's offense and my offense are very similar in that we both like to take shots downfield, but we want to control the ball and move the chains. He's one of the best I've ever been around, and I find that out more and more every day we talk."

Chow said he's very impressed with what he has seen of Ole Miss and the athletic facilities.

"I was at Auburn last week and they have great facilities, but not any better than what Ole Miss has. This is what it takes to recruit and to get the quality athletes you need to win. The commitment to football here is evident," he closed.

It was apparent the respect among the three is mutual when we asked Orgeron and Mazzone about Chow.

"Coach Chow will go down as the greatest OC in the history of college football," Orgeron said matter-of-factly. "It is an honor to have him here as our keynote speaker. He's a great coach and a great friend.

"I also like that he and Noel are great friends too. They talk all the time and compare notes and ideas once or twice a week. That makes me feel good to know the mutual respect they have for each other and know they are on the same page in their philosophies."

Ed said having Chow at Ole Miss for his first clinic is as much as he could possibly hope for.

"There is nobody more respected in coaching than Norm Chow. This is an exciting day for us. We have over 100 area coaches here. It's a wonderful opportunity for us to get to know the coaches in this area better and for them to learn from one of the masters," Ed stated.

Mazzone, who "huddled" with Chow most of the time before Chow spoke to the clinic attendees, was on cloud nine.

"What can you say about Coach Chow? He's one of the all-time greats, and he's such a giving person and coach. He has never failed to try to help me or any young coach who has sought out his advice," Mazzone noted. "He and (former San Diego Chargers coach) Don Coryell have been the two greatest influences I have had in coaching.

"I first met Coach Chow when I was playing QB at New Mexico State and he was coaching at BYU. When I was a younger coach, I visited with him as much as I could, but I really got to know him better when I followed him at NC State and coached Phillip Rivers there. He's coached three Heisman winners at QB and countless All-Americans. His influence on me is immeasurable."

So, who won the practice battles at USC between Orgeron and Chow? Ed smiled slyly.

"Coach Carroll and I did because we had the script," he laughed.

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