Commentary -

All questions that seemed to surface during recruiting concerning the tenure of Ole Miss Coach Ed Orgeron and his shrinking contract were answered yesterday when Coach O signed a contract extension with the Rebels. The message is clear - Coach O is in charge.

Ole Miss Football Coach Ed Orgeron and his staff have heard the rumblings for a couple of months.

"Will you be at Ole Miss during my whole career? Some coaches from other schools are saying you won't be there much longer unless you win next year," has become a mantra for some recruits who are easily swayed.

Typical recruiting fodder, we know, but without a four-year contract - which is all the state of Mississippi will allow - in hand, there's little way to combat that.

Well, it's official now.

Recruits, the current Rebel players, the staff and Ole Miss fans can rest easy now. The dynamic leader of the Rebel football program has finalized his contract extension with the Rebels.

The new pact was officially announced - signed, sealed and delivered - yesterday via a release by the Ole Miss sports information department.

To wit:

"Ole Miss Athletics Director Pete Boone announced Tuesday that he and head football coach Ed Orgeron have agreed in principle to a two-year extension to Orgeron's existing contract. Boone said he will now forward his recommendation for the contract extension to Ole Miss Chancellor Robert Khayat as well as to the UMAA Foundation Board of Directors for their approval."

Of course, as everyone knows, final approval is a formality. It's done. Take it to the bank - Coach O is secure and so is the Rebel program.

Everyone "in the know" and "on the inside" knew this was going to happen, but some opposing coaches chose to ignore the clear indication of Ole Miss' intentions while on the volatile recruiting trail.


Here are the facts.

Coach O has the complete confidence of Chancellor Robert Khayat and Athletics Directior Pete Boone.

It is being proven with the contract extension.

There's really little else to say. That's all anyone needs to know and the new contract is a strong statement of where all parties stand. They offered the extension, O accepted.

It has been written that Coach O will get roughly $905,000 a year with incentive clauses that could bring his annual package to $1.6 or $1.7 million. Hope he reaches them all.

The extension was offered based on the belief that Orgeron is moving the program in the right direction and I'd have a real hard time arguing against that based on a) vast improvement over results in the "tough" games last season versus 2005; b) the addition of veteran (and successful) Defensive Coordinator John Thompson to his staff; c) continued success in the all-important recruiting arena; d) the potential shown by so many first-year players in Ed's first full signing class. Remember, 17 true frosh played, and produced, last season.

Boone and Khayat know all too well that freshmen become bigger, better and more experienced sophomores and then juniors and seniors, but it doesn't happen over night.

While Orgeron has not had the kind of on-the-field success he has anticipated, or craves, a vast majority of the fans understand the undertaking he is tackling.

Robert Frost penned "miles to go before I sleep." Frankly, Ed Orgeron has miles to go before he rests, but he has cut the journey in half already and is taking bites out of the pie of success daily.

Khayat and Boone have given him the opportunity, the opportunity he has earned as well, to finish the journey.


Now opposing coaches out doing last-minute recruiting for the 2007 signing period will have to come up with another line.

The old one is now a flat-out lie.

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