Monday Press Conference

As expected, Ole Miss Football Coach Ed Orgeron announced today in his Monday press conference that UM Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone has been removed from his staff. Read about it inside.

The following is a transcript of Coach Ed Orgeron's Monday press conference.

Coach O's Opening Statement: Noel Mazzone will not be a member of the coaching staff next season. However, he is still employed by the university. Any questions concerning his employment should be directed to Athletic Director Pete Boone.

We watched the MSU film and are obviously disappointed in our effort. We got out-physicaled, as I said after the game. We have improve a great deal. We have to put that behind us and remain positive about the upcoming season. Our coaches are out recruiting right now. Academics is a priority for our players as they finish the semester. We will have a team meeting tomorrow morning and will have exit interviews with our players in the next couple of week with me and their coaches. Then the players will have a long Christmas vacation.

Q: Is there a possibility for other staff changes?

Coach O: We evaluate staff daily. I have not had time to approach it yet. Who will be the next OC will be my first task at hand.

Q: How will recruiting affect the timetable for a new OC and how does that affect the rest of the staff?

Coach O: I will take my time. I will do my research and get the best guy possible who fits Ole Miss. I'm sure there are a lot of great candidates who would love to coach at a great school like Ole Miss. The first task is hiring an offensive coordinator and then we will make other decisions.

Q: Does the emphasis on the USC offense narrow the list of candidates?

Coach O: I have an open mind on the top candidate and the discussion on what offense we will run. What he will like to bring to the table will be discussed then, but I want the best coach available first.

Q: Is it possible George DeLeone could be promoted to OC?

Coach O: No, that's not going to happen. I will go outside my staff to find an offensive coordinator.

Q: Are you looking for a guy to coach the talent here or a guy with an idea of a scheme to go out and recruit to that scheme?

Coach O: I want the best coach available who believes he can win at Ole Miss, like I do. I want him with me and able to work very close with me. I want him to be the leader of the offense. The other stuff, we will work out.

Q: At what point was it obvious to you that Noel was not going to work out?

Coach O: I evaluate myself, the players and the staff every day. There had been discussions of Noel not returning, but the final decision was made this morning. I'm always evaluating.

Q: How was the decision reached?

Coach O: I make the final decision on all staff members.

Q: What characteristics are you looking for in an OC?

Coach O: I first have to see who is out there. I want to talk to some guys and take my time. I want a leader of the offense. I also want a guy who can score points, be organized and disciplined.

Q: Do you envision having to give a three-year deal to the next guy as you did with Noel?

Coach O: I don't know that yet. I haven't discussed that with anyone or thought about it much.

Q: Is there a timetable in terms of being within the scheme of recruiting?

Coach O: Obviously, getting a guy right away would help, but we have to put the university first. This is a big hire and I want to make sure and take my time. Whatever timetable it takes, that is what we are going to do.

Q: There are a lot of names floating around already. Can we definitively say those are just rumors?

Coach O: I have no names on a list. I have no short list. I have nothing. I'm going to start calling people today. I really have a lot of work to do in that area, along with recruiting.

Q: Are any of the guys at USC candidates?

Coach O: I would love them to come, but I don't think they will. Lane (Kiffen) was my first choice, but he didn't come. He did a fantastic job as USC. Steve Sarkasian is the assistant head coach and could do a great job here, but he is entrenched at USC and Coach (Pete) Carroll told me to stay away from them. (laughs)

Q: Can you talk them out of that stance?

Coach O: I'm not that good. (laughs) They are not going to be here. I discussed it with them before I was hired here and they don't want to come here. They are West Coast guys and want to remain that. They are not in the picture.

Q: Will a new coordinator have the option of bringing in any of his guys?

Coach O: We will discuss that when the time comes.

Q: Will the Tulane story and charges of unethical conduct from other coaches hurt recruiting?

Coach O: No, not at all. The story has been discussed, the truth came out and everything we did was ethical.

Q: Can you discuss the time frame of the rumors of players leaving, if someone wants to?

Coach O: First of all, I don't know exactly what you are talking about. I don't operate on heresay. I operate on what's happening within the team. Nobody has come to me and said 'coach, I'm transferring.' Now, there are several players with personal issues at home. They went home for Thanksgiving to try to fix them if they could. They may come back and say they have to go home. That is all I am aware of right now.

Q: What are your top three recruiting priorities right now?

Coach O: Do we have to limit them to three? (laughs) OL, QB position, playmakers on offense - guys who can score points, WRs, TE. We have to replace four seniors I thought did a tremendous job for us on the defensive front. Both lines are a priority. LB, CB and a PK.

Q: Hindsight is always 20-20, but in retrospect, were you a bit optimistic in your expectations of the 2005 team?

Coach O: I'm always going to be optimistic. What I am is disappointed in going 3-8. I will never accept that. That's it.

Q: Have you heard from any OC candidates?

Coach O: No. I have not gotten any calls about it. We have been busy recruiting and coaching. I will talk to a couple of guys this week, but I will take my time. That doesn't mean a great one won't pop up this week. When the right guy comes, we will make the right decision.

Q: Patrick Willis said he had a meeting with you. How did that go?

Coach O: It went great. I fully expect Patrick back next year. We are going through the proper channels to see where he fits in the draft and educate him on everything about it. I have had this experience before and will lean on Coach Carroll for some advice in dealing with this situation.

Q: Who will conduct the exit interviews with the quartebacks since Mazzone is gone?

Coach O: I will.

Q: Will you interview OC candidates here, on the phone, at their place? Are you requiring OC experience in your candidates?

Coach O: It all depends on their situation. It could be any of the three scenarios. . . I would like the person to have OC experience at some time in their career.

Q: When you make the OC hire, will you call another press conference?

Coach O: Sure. Yes.

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