Orgeron Q & A

Following the Blue Team's 27-21 win over the Red Team in the annual Red-Blue Spring Game, Rebel Coach Ed Orgeron addressed questions by the media in attendance.

Q: It appeared pretty even and competitive out there today between the two teams.

Coach O: That's exactly what we like and what we planned on. We wanted it to be competitive. I thought the Red Team dominated in the first half, but then the Blue Team responded. I was very pleased with that, especially the way Micheal Spurlock operated the offense. I thought the whole team did a tremendous job of competing the whole game.

Q: What did you see in Micheal that second half?

Coach O: Confidence. He made good plays and moved around well. I thought he was a little shaky and nervous in the first half. I also thought the receivers caught the ball better too. Micheal was really in a rhythm in the second half and I was excited to see that.

Q: Who did you think did well today?

Coach O: I thought (RB Jamal) Pittman, (RB) Vashon Pearson and (RB) BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran the ball very well. We didn't make a lot of plays at receiver, but in the third quarter they made some big plays. I think the offensive line did not perform the way we think it should today. We had too many penalties and we have some things to eliminate. We had a foolish penalty in the first half when a guy ran in on defense who has never played defense before and that gave us 12 men on the field and cost us a field goal. I was really proud of a lot of things today. I thought our defense was active and did some good things. They played hard. We had a penalty that kept a drive going, and that can't happen, but we did well otherwise.

Q: Did Spurlock help himself today?

Coach O: Yes, he helped himself. The competition for starting QB is still open. We will give Robert (Lane, who is injured) another shot in August and we have another QB coming in this summer (signee Billy Tapp), so it's still open, but Micheal did well today and did well this spring.

Q: What do you tell your QBs about playing for you?

Coach O: We tell them to go out there with confidence, being a leader, like Micheal did in the second half. Micheal has a tremendous ability to make plays, but he's got to make the right decisions and play with confidence. I want to credit Noel Mazzone for his work with Micheal this spring. We didn't think his fundamentals were good in terms of the three and five-step drops and how to throw the ball and his reads. I feel he has gotten better at that.

Q: Where do you think this team is in terms of where you were hoping it would be at the end of spring?

Coach O: I think we are ahead of where I had hoped. Today we didn't blitz a lot and we didn't have our nickel package in. We are a little behind in our kicking game because we have two signees coming in we want to look at hard. We need more competition in the kicking game. Offensively and defensively, we are a little ahead of where I thought we'd be.

Q: Talk about the offensive line. It appeared the second team OL did better in the running game.

Coach O: They did well, but a lot of it had to do with the fact they weren't playing against the first team defense and defensive line. Our first team defensive line, especially when we get McKinley Boykin back, will be pretty good. Our two DL did not play very well today. They looked like they got tired out there and I was disappointed in that. But I also think we have some good backs who earned some tough yards today.

Q: Do you think the team as a whole is getting used to you and your style?

Coach O: Yes. I think we are getting close. We understand each other. There was a turning point in the spring where they started to understand what they have to give me and they started doing it.

Q: How is FB Seth Michaelson doing?

Coach O: Well, he had a penalty that cost us, but he also did some nice things catching the ball out of the backfield. Our FB position has been thin with Brandon Jacobs and Anthony Hobgood out and that has opened the door a bit for Seth. He did a good job today.

Q: How was it out there coaching a game on that sideline?

Coach O: Great. It's always great to play a game of football, even a spring game. This football team has not blinked an eye since I got here. They have been focused on the task at hand and we will continue to be focused. I'm proud to be the Ole Miss Rebel coach. I didn't sleep much last night. I was so excited today and I think the team took that lead.

Q: Did you see competition among the coaches today too?

Coach O: Yes. We have a competitive staff. Everyone wanted to win today. It's up to us to get the juices flowing and I think our staff did that today. Hey, I got a loss today and I don't like it.

Q: At one time, you were getting after one of your players and the crowd responded positively.

Coach O: They need to get used to that. I coach hard. This staff coaches hard. I really think as a staff we have to compete as hard as our players do in games and in practice. I learned that from Pete (Carroll). It's 60 minutes of staying with them and on them. I plan on doing that here. We were great at USC at making corrections and adjustments on the spot. We will do that here. You don't wait until halftime to make adjustments and corrections, you do it right when they come off the field.

Q: How has the adjustment to being a head coach been for you?

Coach O: Great. Every day I have come to work with a great attitude. I haven't had a bad day yet and I don't plan on having one. My focus is to not let anything stand in my way to get the job done here and nothing will. I've got my eye on the prize and we're going to get it.

Q: Talk about LB Dontae Reed and his rise up the depth chart.

Coach O: I am very happy about his spring. I said from the start that our depth chart was etched in sand and the guys who made plays would be on the field. Dontae has made plays and I couldn't be happier for him. It doesn't matter if you are a walkon or if you play another position, I want the best players on the field, period.

Q: Where do you go now with this team?

Coach O: Our focus will be to grade this film and figure out how to get better. We have a lot of work to do before we even begin to think about next season. We have academics to finish, we have to get stronger in the weight room, we have film work to do, we have to have a great spring recruiting period and we have to have a productive summer offseason. The season is way down the road.

Q: If you had to name a starting QB right now, who would it be?

Coach O: It's obvious Micheal is on the top right now, but when we start in August the competition is open. Right now, he is our quarterback and if he holds on to the job, I will say this - I think he's going to be a darn good one.

Q: What have you done to build his confidence?

Coach O: There's nothing we have done individually, just the way we have handled th team. Everyone has had a chance to comepte and win. Every position was wide open and everyone had a chance.

Q: Could you comment on DE Viciente DeLoach?

Coach O: He's doing well, but let me say this - I think DL Coach Ryan Nielsen is doing an excellent job. I have seen our DL mature this spring - including Viciente. We are going to try to play nine guys on the DL and we think Viciente can be one of them.

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