Coach O

As he watched his team file in to Deaton Hall to report for August practice camp, second-year Ole Miss Coach Ed Orgeron had a smile on his face. The following is a Q & A conducted with the media today.

Ole Miss Rebel Football coach Ed Orgeron met with the media today as the players were reporting. The following are the results of the Q & A with the second-year Reb mentor.

Q: You have to feel good about having QB Brent Schaeffer here.

Coach O: I am excited for Brent and I am excited for our football team. Everyone has worked very hard this summer to get here, to improve, to get ready for the season. We are excited it's finally here.

Q: Your heart had skip two or three beats when Brent finally got here.

Coach O: We felt very confident all along everything would work out with him. And it did.

Q: Brent said you gave him a big hug and you both had relief in your eyes. Who had the most relief?

Coach O: Both of us. The whole team is relieved. The whole team has been anxiously awaiting him. He looks great to me.

Q: What are your feelings about Schaeffer as the starting QB?

Coach O: He's the guy. Obviously he has work to do to learn the offense, but I think he's extremely talented and has SEC experience that we need on this football team.

Q: Does Brent improve your team substantially?

Coach O: He does, but we also have some other tremendous athletes coming in. Our job is to get them to play as a team.

Q: What about his learning curve?

Coach O: We'll have to see, but we expect it to go smoothly. Dan Werner will gauge that, but he's not the only one we have to get ready. We have 14 new guys we have to get ready to play as well. It's not all about Brent. We will keep it simple for all of them.

Q: Will you put in some new packages this fall you couldn't put in during spring because Brent wasn't here?

Coach O: I'm sure there will be a couple. (smiles) But we have other great athletes too in BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Mico McSwain and Cordera Eason and some young receivers. We want the ball in Brent's hands, but he's not alone out there.

Q: Have you heard from the fans now that Brent's here?

Coach O: Not really. I think everyone was confident all along and now that he's here that confidence was proven to be correct.

Q: Is this, like Christmas for some, the most wonderful time of the year for you?

Coach O: It's a good time of the year, but the most wonderful time of the year is when we actually start winning and we have a good football team.

Q: Can you update us on Jerrell Powe and Rory Johnson?

Coach O: Jerrell has not been cleared by the clearing house yet and he will not start prctice until we have further information. We believe Rory Johnson will complete his course work within the next couple of days and we anticipate him being in camp within the early part of next week.

Q: What about John Jerry?

Coach O: he will start camp, but he has not been cleared by the clearing house, but we think it is a matter of paperwork and we feel good about it.

Q: How will you battle the heat wave this year?

Coach O: The heat is our friend. We love it.

Q: What about Terry Levy?

Coach O: We don't know where that is right now. There is still some paperwork to be done. He will not practice with us right now.

Q: What about LaDerrick Vaughn?

Coach O: He has some clearing house matters to clear up as well and will not start out with us.

Q: You have more bullets in the gun now. How do you feel about your team?

Coach O: I'm confident about my coaching staff. That is the biggest thing this year. I'm very confident about Dan Werner and Art Kehoe being here. We're confident about raising the bar with our talent some, but we still have to get them to do it on the field. We have some good returning players in Patrick Willis, Robert Lane, Mico McSwain, Peria Jerry and others. We just have to put them all together and see what happens.

Q: What are your thoughts on the 2006 defense?

Coach O: It starts with Patrick, a great player. We need Garry Pack to have a great year for us and we're really hoping Rory Johnson will be a qualifier and we can play him. He will help our LB corps. I'm looking forward to seeing what John Cornell can do at LB. I think we will be very talented up front with Peria, Marcus Tillman, Kentrell Lockett, Greg Hardy and the returning veterans, and when Jerrell comes in, I think we will have a great unit. I am very pleased with the cornerbacks. Jamarca Sanford is a very good strong safety and Charles Clark is our QB back there. I'm excited to see Jamal Harvey and Allen Walker back there. I think they could be the best young safety combinations in the country.

Q: How many freshmen do you anticipate playing?

Coach O: We are playing every one of them that is capable of helping us. We won't hold anyone who can help us back.

Q: How did the summer go for your team?

Coach O: We aren't allowed to say much about that, but I am impressed with their attitude. I think everything starts with attitude. They look like they are in good shape.

Q: Do you have the same confidence in Powe being eligible you do with John Jerry?

Coach O: I can't answer that. I'm confident he did all the work he's supposed to. I'm confident he's a qualifier on paper. What happens from here is out of our hands right now.

Q: Is it frustrating that it is out of your hands now?

Coach O: When you do everything you can do and you do it the right way, you have confidence it will work out the way it should.

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