'Film guys' hum year round

Rebel football coaches need "a lot" of tape/film to do their jobs. The 'film guys' are Johnny on the spot with their demands. And, as the Marines say, they are always looking for a few good men.

Steve Willis, the Coordinator of Video Services, loves his work as much as he loves Ole Miss sports.

He better, because it's never-ending and time-consuming.

If you ever wondered what the football video crew does, wonder no more.

"Anything the coaches watch, we have our hands in," said Willis, who became hooked on the Rebels back in 1983 when he attended the Egg Bowl and witnessed the Immaculate Deflection in Jackson. "We tape all practices and do the cutups. We tape games and do the cutups. We do cutups of all recruiting tapes. We do the motivational tapes the team watches during the year. We do highlight tapes for recruits to watch on their official visits.

"We spend a lot of hours in front of our work stations editing and sorting tape and we spend a lot of time shooting practices, games and workouts."

Already, the video services crew has edited over 500 tapes for coaches to watch on 2008 prospects.

I had the opportunity recently to watch the tape Willis' department compiled of a history of Ole Miss football that recruits watched this year. Frankly, it sent chills down my spine.

"I can comfortably say we cut up more tape on recruits than any video department in the country," Willis, who spent five years in the Navy prior to earning his degree at Ole Miss, said. "We did cutups on more than 1,000 prospects last year."

Willis coordinates the show, but he is not a one-man operation, by any stretch of the imagination.

"Our student workers do the lion's share of our recruiting tapes. They work hard," said Steve. "They have a lot of equipment to learn how to use and they have to be tenacious.

"To work on my crew, you have to love the video business, love Ole Miss football, love recruiting and have a great work ethic."

Willis takes pride in his department and what they accomplish. It's all based on his military background and Coach Ed Orgeron's standards of competing.

"The military taught me how to be organized. Coach O taught us all how to compete," Willis stated. "Coach O believes in competition on every level so we foster that in our office too.

"We keep a chart of which student has edited the most recruiting tape. The winner gets a steak dinner from me. You'd be surprised how that motivates them to compete."

Willis, who hails from Magee and played high school footbal with former Reb Kris Mangum, has to pinch himself sometimes.

"I'm really lucky to be doing what I do," said Steve, who learned about the video business in the Navy. "My wife (Becky) and I met in the Navy and she is also a video editor.

"I have been a Spirit subscriber for years and years. Even though I work at Ole Miss, I'm a huge Rebel fan. I have to pinch myself sometimes and say 'am I really getting to do this for a living?' It's very satisfying."

The one thing about his job that gets taxing, however, is finding enough students to help the cause.

"When we get a student in our department, the first year is volunteer and done out of love. If they show a strong work ethic and dependability, we take care of them with scholarship money starting their second year," he explained. "We offer them a chance to learn the video business and an opportunity to be on the inside of Ole Miss football. We take a crew to away games and some get to travel with the team."

Willis makes no promises, except that students who want to get involved will have to work hard.

"We want students who take pride in their work and can learn. They will learn to handle cameras to shoot games and practices and simple edits. Then, according to their aptitude, they can become more and more advanced," Willis, known as 'the film guy,' stated.

Willis needs students who are interested in this type of fast-paced work.

Anyone wishing to volunteer can e-mail him at SAWilli6@olemiss.edu.

Willis is looking forward to continued growth in his department.

"We want to be the best in the business. Anyone who wants to help us achieve that goal is welcome," he closed.

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