The following was a brief Q & A today with Ole Miss Head Coach Ed Orgeron as he met the returning players on reporting day outside of Deaton Hall on campus.
Q: Beginning your third season now, what differences do you in your team's attitude?
Coach O: They know what to expect now and have worked in our system for two and a half years now. They had a tremendous summer and that has helped them get their minds right. They have accepted the program and have bought in. They understand what we expect and they have grown closer in trying to accomplish those things.
Q: What kind of numbers did you have here this summer?
Coach O: Everything is voluntary, but most of them were here and their attitudes and work ethic were fantastic.
Q: Do you see players lining up behind any certain quarterback yet?
Coach O: A little, but it has to be won out on the field. Everyone knows that. A lot of things point toward Seth Adams, but if Brent Schaeffer looks like an All-American on the practice field, it may be his job in the long run. Those things just have to play out.
Q: What happens today?
Coach O: Lots of meetings and organizational stuff. And we get to feed them and spend some time with them today. That's about it. The push starts tomorrow, really.
Q: You ended last year with under 60 scholarship players and now you have nearly 80. How does that make you feel?
Coach O: It looks good and feels good. I had nearly 30 freshmen, including walkons, for breakfast this morning. That's a little less than a third of your team and it says we are building depth. Our frontline guys won't get as tired or worn down during practice and in games. There are a lot of opportunities to have different guys on special teams and things like that which will help us stay fresher not only in practice but in the games. It's exciting to me as shorthanded as we were last year.
Q: What does Markeith Summers show you at wideout that made you move him back from defense?
Coach O: That is where we recruited him to play. He gives you height and a bigger target. His vertical has gone up and he's good about making yards after the catch. I like big targets.
Q: What about David Traxler at tight end?
Coach O: He wanted to do it and I let him. He can block and he was surprisingly good in the passing game. He's committed to it and lost a lot of weight. I think he will do well there.
Q: Were you ever happy last year with the way you were using Robert Lane at TE?
Coach O: Never. We have to throw Robert the ball. He's a playmaker and he needs the ball a lot more. He gives us fire and he's good with the ball in his hands. We will use him more - we have to. He's one of our playmakers, as I said. We also want to utilize our backs catching th ball more. We weren't satisified with that last year either.
Q: Going back to position changes, you have never denied a player who wants to change. What is your philosophy behind that?
Coach O: I want guys to have opportunity and be happy where they are playing. If a guy is happy, he is going to be more committed and more prone to have success. He also knows if he has a chance and doesn't make it, he was given a fair shot and he's still happy when he has to move somewhere else. I believe players work harder to prove themselves when they are at a position they want to be.
Q: Any word on Chris Strong or Johnny Brown?
Coach O: No word on Chris today as of noon. Johnny is here as well as Lamar Brumfield and Alex Washington, who reported late last night and weren't here early yesterday.
Q: How is Dexter McCluster?
Coach O: He seems fine. We are going to watch him closely in camp, but we think he's fine. We are going to use him in a lot of different ways and are excited to have him back. He will continue to use him on kickoff returns and possibly use him in the backfield and on punt returns too. We'll see.
Q: What do you like about having guys in the same dorm during August camp?
Coach O: I like having everyone together and the focus you get when they are all in one building. I would like to see athletic dorms come back. There are a lot of positives in having an athletic dorm. I would be in favor of it if the NCAA wanted to look at that again.
Q: What are your rules for players living off campus?
Coach O: You have to have a good grade point average and good behavioral habits and attitude. You also have to live with at least one teammate.
Q: Who will take Markeith's place at safety?
Coach O: On of the young guys. We have Fon Ingram, Johnny Brown, Jamison Hughes - we did well there in recruiting. Scottie Williams will be a linebacker, but that could change too - he might be a safety after we work with him. Heck, maybe Ted Laurent is a safety (laughs) but I doubt it.
Vets report today
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