Coach O

Ole Miss Football Coach Ed Orgeron met with the media after the Red Rebs defeated the Blue Rebs 40-14 in the Grove Bowl today. He had one major announcement - TB Mico McSwain will split time between TB and wide receiver in the fall. Read about that and other comments inside.

The following are excerpts from Rebel Coach Ed Orgeron's press conference following the Red Rebs' 40-14 victory over the Blue Rebs in Saturday's Grove Bowl in front of 22,400 fans.

Coach O's Opening Statement: I was really pleased with the outcome of the scrimmage today in terms of enthusiasm. Red Team Head Coach Art Kehoe did a great job of getting his team ready and getting them up. The Red defense - our first-team defense - played awfully well to hold the Blue Team to 31 yards rushing and 1 of 10 on third down conversions. Several guys on the Red defense made big plays today. I was pleased with the turnovers they forced, but not pleased the Blue team offense, our first group, made them. Obviously, we have some work to do on offense, but we don't have our QB there yet. We have several things to fix between now and September, but I asked the team to give me 15 good days this spring and they did that. We got the work done we needed in the kicking game, but we still have work to do in the actual kicking of the ball.

Q: Why was the Blue offense struggling as much as it was today?

Coach O: The Red team defense was on today. Those kids have been in this system over a year. The offensive guys have been in their new system a month or so. That's the difference. Our starting QB is not on campus yet and some of the receivers who will play in 2006 are not here yet. We don't have our full offensive squad yet.

Q: Were you pleased with the play of Red QB Billy Tapp and some of the second team offensive players?

Coach O: Yes. They moved the ball well. Hugh Freeze was the OC and he called a great game. He had a good mix going out there. His kids operated what he called well today.

Q: Was one of the differences the difference in the first and second team defense?

Coach O: There's no doubt. There is a big dropoff between our first and second team defenses, especially along the front.

Q: Were there any surprises today?

Coach O: I thought moving Brandon Jenkins to Nose Tackle and seeing him do well was a pleasant surprise. He made some big plays today. LB Quentin Taylor made some big hits today too. I was disappointed BenJarvus Green-Ellis didn't run the ball as well as he has been this spring in today's work. That's about it.

Q: How can you bridge the gap between the first and second team defenses?

Coach O: We have a lot of new guys coming in who will have to play. We have four DL coming in we are very excited about. We have to get them in shape and ready to play. We can't expect them to play every down in the SEC right away, but we feel we have guys who we can rotate. Having Patrick Willis at MLB and Jamarca Sanford at SS will help the second when the guys taking their place now go to backup slots. We have a couple of LBs coming in who will have to help us too. When we play Memphis, and we have everyone on board, I think we will have a very strong defense.

Q: What's next for the coaching staff?

Coach O: We will grade spring film and then get ready for May recruiting. We will finish up hard in the classroom with our guys on campus and with our recruits that are coming in and still have some work to do. We have to monitor all of that.

Q: How much will you have to rely on new receivers (signees) in 2006?

Coach O: We will have to have three or four new guys come in and play. And it is obvious to me we will have to move Mico McSwain to WR. We can't afford to have BenJarvus at TB and Mico on the bench. We have to find a way to get Mico the football.

Q: Are you saying Mico to WR exclusively?

Coach O: It all depends. He could play both, but if our TB signees are as good as we think, maybe Mico can move out there exclusively. If not, he can do both. It depends on our new WRs and our new RBs. I was disappointed with our drops today, so we are looking for reliable WRs.

Q: Has Mico prepared for WR yet?

Coach O: He didn't practice much this spring due to injury, but he's been studying wide receiver some.

Q: What did the Red Team defense do today to make the difference?

Coach O: Energy, excitement and confidence. They came to play. The Red coaching staff is to be credited. Those guys were playing with fire and passion, even late in the game. We put them in bad situations, intentionally, and they made plays. They made plays all day and caused turnovers.

Q: You mentioned Coach Freeze - how did the new guy do with the tight ends this spring?

Coach O: Very well. Throwing to the TEs is part of Dan Werner's defense and Coach Freeze got them ready to throw to.

Q: How do you get Brent Schaeffer caught up in the offense when he gets here?

Coach O: A lot of work. Obviously, we cannot spend any time with him as coaches. We can get him in shape, but the rest he has to do on his own, but we feel he will.

Q: Comment TB Hiram White and Bruce Hall.

Coach O: I really feel Bruce can play in a spot role at TB for us. He makes plays and has a great attitude. He's physical and mature. He might even figure in at WR this fall. We'll see. He needs to play. Hiram did a nice job today too. He made plays when they were there to be made.

Q: Was the overtime period part of the plan all along in a one-sided game?

Coach O: It's just another way to compete. We wanted to cover a lot of situations today. At the end, we wanted to see how the guys would perform with something on the line.

Q: Talk about the progress of the OL.

Coach O: I'm very pleased with the work Coach Kehoe has done with them. Andrew Wicker has had a good spring at LG. Darryl Harris moving to tackle has helped us. Michael Oher moving to LT has been good - I think he's found a home there. We are still not settled at center. Thomas Eckers has played well, but that's still not sesttled. I am not pleased, overall, with the performance at right guard. We have some spots for some young guys to play. We have some big, physical kids coming in. It will be a matter of them getting in shape and learning the offense.

Q: How is your new staff working out?

Coach O: There is fantastic chemistry on our staff now. I want to be able to coach the defense and recruit. Now I can. Dan coaches the offense. I just say "good job" every once in a while and say whether we are going for it on fourth down. I'm very pleased with that arrangement and how it's working out.

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