The following is a transcript of Ole Miss Coach Ed Orgeron's press conference following the 23-21 win by the Blue Team in the Grove Bowl Saturday.
Coach O's Opening Statement: "I was really pleased with the effort of our coaches and players today. We treat this as a real game and we wanted a game day atmosphere. I was pleased the fans came out to support us - it was a great crowd on a cold day. We had a lot of big-time recruits in with their parents and I thought it was a great atmosphere for them.
"I give Blue Team Head Coach Art Kehoe a lot of credit for directing that unit to the win. He does a great job of motivating his guys. That's two in a row for him in winning the Red-Blue Game. The kids played hard all day on both sides.
"I was pleased with the play QB Seth Adam, especially early when he got his team going. I thought Michael Herrick did some good things as well as Jevan Snead, who looked fantastic out there. The QB job is open and we will continue with that competition. Seth did a really good job today - I was pleased with the way he operated the Blue offense.
"We did not play BenJarvus Green-Ellis today because we don't want to take the chance of him getting hurt and we wanted to see Bruce Hall and Cordera Eason run the ball. They did a good job. Cordera is really an improved football player who made big plays all spring. I also thought the offensive line did a good job. We are bigger and more physical now. Reid Neely, John Jerry, Michael Oher are big guys and Mo Miller is one of the strongest guys on the team. Corey Actis is emerging as a leader at center, making the right calls and doing the right things. We are seeing progress there.
"We were not very physical in the middle of our defense. Daverin Geralds had an excellent spring and was hurt in the game early. Peria Jerry did not play and neither did Jeremy Garrett. We have some guys coming in and healing who will make the middle of our defense more physical next season.
"Overall I was pleased with the effort of the staff and the players all spring and I think we played well as a team today."
Q: What were you most excited about today?
Coach O: The play of Seth. He was consistent most of the spring and today. All the QBs were more consistent this spring. We had some bad days, but overall it was OK. We didn't have many dropped balls today either. The receivers made some good plays.
Q: How about Brent Schaeffer?
Coach O: He had an OK day today and had an OK spring.
Q: Is the QB race all-inclusive?
Coach O: Yes. I think Michael Herrick has jumped in the picture, Cliff Davis is in it. It's wide open and we'll keep it that way.
Q: Does anyone have an edge right now?
Coach O: After today, I'd say Seth. But Michael did well too. It has changed all spring. One day Seth would have a great day, the next day Brent would and then Michael would. Seth has been the most consistent QB this spring, though, no doubt.
Q: Are you looking at different concepts in your offense?
Coach O: Yes. Our passing game was poor last year. We have changed some things in our passing game to become more efficient. We know what we are getting with Seth. We know what kind of reads we are going to get and we know his liabilities. We will coach accordingly if he is the guy.
Q: How much of Seth's day was attributed to him playing behind the number one OL?
Coach O: It was a factor, but we did not blitz a lot on defense today. We were vanilla for a reason. We will have to put all the QBs in situations where there will be more blitzes to see how they handle them. We are throwing more of a short passing game also and that helped with the protection and in Seth's efficiency.
Q: Are you looking at some West Coast stuff?
Coach O: We are looking at every coast (smiled). East, West, North and South. We are looking for what works and think we have learned some valuable things this spring in what we can and can't do.
Q: How did Shay Hodge do?
Coach O: He's a good possession receiver who does a good job on the slants. He's precise in his routes and catches well. He has surprised us.
Q: What about LB Jamie Phillips?
Coach O: What a surprise. He has walked on and been first team all spring. He will definitely play for us next year. Hopefully he will start, but we do expect our incoming LBs to challenge and compete for starting slots. We have two JUCOs coming in (Tony Fein, Lamar Brumfield) who we think are good. We don't know what the LB lineup will be like. We don't know if Jonathan Cornell will be in the middle or if Tony Fein will be. We will continue to mix and match and get our best guys out there. We were not very physical in the middle today and that has to be fixed. We misssed Peria, Jeremy and Patrick today. We have to shore that up.
Q: Do you look for some of the lesser-known names who did some good things today to help next year?
Coach O: I look for everyone to help us next year. Last year, we were outscored three-to-one in the fourth quarter. Obviously, we have to create some depth in all positions. We have to create rotations so we don't get worn out going into the fourth quarter. That is one of our goals. To reach that, we have to have help from everyone on the squad.
Q: What were some of the things you can share you told the team after the game?
Coach O: I was pleased with their effort and what we have to concentrate on now is school work. We have to keep a close eye on our team and we have to do the right things. We talked about behaving and doing the right things. It's spring and we all know what goes on in spring with young people.
Q: What about third-down conversions? Have they improved, which was a goal of yours this spring?
Coach O: Today was much better. Again, though, we were vanilla on defense, but I was pleased with the Blue Team on their third-down conversions. (7-10)
Q: What will constitute a successful season for you in 2007?
Coach O: We need to have a winning season and go to a bowl and win it. Is that our goal? No. Our goal is always to win the SEC and the Sugar Bowl. But we are at the point where we need a winning season and a bowl appearance. That's the next step of this program.
Q: While the middle of the defense wasn't very physical, it looked your ends produced - Marcus Tillman and Kentrell Lockett. Correct?
Coach O: Tillman and Lockett are improved. We gave Tillman the Most Improved from this spring. He's been pretty dominant this spring. He's playing DE and Kentrell is the LEO. When we get Greg Hardy in the mix 100%, we should have a great rotation. We are looking at Peria, Daverin, Ted Laurent and Jeremy to shore up the middle.
Q: Talk about QB Jevan Snead.
Coach O: First of all, we received his grades and he's making straight A's. That's what I expect from our QB. He's an outstanding student and he's very smart. He's been a team guy - very humble. He's hungry and still has things to work on and today he did very well. He stands in the pocket and makes plays. He had a big third-down run today. He's smart, has a strong arm and is what we are looking for in a QB.
Q: Cordera Eason?
Coach O: I wanted to see what he could do behind the number one OL. He had some nice runs and has been doing that all spring behind the two OL. I'm pleased to see Cordera step it up because after next year BenJarvus and Bruce will be gone. Cordera is the type of back we thought he would be.
Q: Where are you offensively compared to last year?
Coach O: Further ahead. Last year, there were a lot of unknowns. We know what all our QBs can do, we are a little more multiple now and the kids understand the offense. Our running game is miles ahead. We studied a lot of NFL schemes and we feel good about where we are going.
Q: What is the status of TE Robert Lane, who did not play today?
Coach O: He will be fine. He's got a sprained ankle.
Q: What will Brent have to do to get back in the picture in the offseason?
Coach O: Continue to compete. Have a great finish in school this semester. Come back in shape. Last year he was not in shape. This year, I expect him to be.
Q: Evaluate the receivers.
Coach O: We were inconsistent some in the spring, but we had a good day today in front of a crowd. I really like Marshay Green - his competitiveness and toughness. He's a playmaker. He's also a good returner. Shay is much-improved. Dexter (McCluster) wasn't out there today, but he will be a big-time playmaker for us next year. He has not played in spring in full contact, but we expect him to be ready in fall. Mike Wallace is a fast guy. The thing we don't have is the big receiver to throw the fade to - hopefully A.J. Jackson is that guy. We hope we don't have to use Greg Hardy there (laughs), even though he was pretty good at it.
Grove Bowl press conference -
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