Forum, Fantasy Camp, Media Days, Deuce

The Ladies Football Forum, planned to perfection every summer for the past eight years by Chyna Ward and her staff of workers and volunteers, was again a rousing success.

Archie's appearance was noteworthy, of course, and more than 500 women who love the Ole Miss Rebels attended. The first year there were 167. This year's "freshman class" had 177 in it.

They came from 14 states and 88 Mississippi locales. There were 66 different Tennessee locations represented. The youngest was 4, the oldest 82. There were 12 who had been to all eight of the events.

Archie reflected on nearly 50 years of being a part of Ole Miss.

"My first game in Oxford was the 1960 LSU game. I was 10 years old. I've had a passion and love for Ole Miss ever since. It was a really good ballgame. We tied them 6-6. That was the year after LSU beat us 7-3 with Billy Cannon's run."

Audible sighs from the women in attendance.

"Of course, we got ‘em back 21-0 in the Sugar Bowl that same year."

Applause, as you would expect.

Archie said there have been many highlights during his prep, college, and pro careers. But one stands out above all the rest.

"The greatest thrill I ever had in sports was being named the starting quarterback at Ole Miss. It was my childhood dream."

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The Ladies Forum, normally about this time each summer, coincides with the men's Fantasy Camp. As usual, the SEC Media Days aren't long afterward. That's later this week.

Ole Miss, featuring Coach Houston Nutt and players Peria Jerry and Michael Oher, is set for Thursday, along with Alabama (and the usual circus-type atmosphere surrounding the Crimson Tide's appearance), Georgia and Tennessee.

On Wednesday it's Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Florida and LSU. On Friday it's Auburn, Kentucky, South Carolina and Arkansas.

Ole Miss should get a lot of attention and respect this year, probably moreso than any year since Eli's last here five years ago. The room should be packed with media from all over for Houston. You know the Arkansas press contingent, always one of the largest at any SEC event, will be there in full force.

The Oher story should get a lot of attention based on the book. Peria and Michael will most likely hear a lot of questions about their former head coach and how things are different now under the new one. And what it's going to take to get Ole Miss to a bowl game after a four-season drought; neither of them having been a part of the Rebels' long-standing postseason tradition.

The Petrino storyline will be big this year. Saban will again get treated like royalty because of the location. Croom heads back to his homestate with his first winning season as a D-I head coach.

We'll probably get a lot of the same from Tub and Spurrier and Meyer and Fulmer and Richt. How long has it been since Brooks' first season at Kentucky when at this event he said he was glad to be there, "But at my age I'm just glad to be anywhere." He's had some success lately in the bluegrass and been able to stick around.

Miles comes in with quite an improved resume' from the bayou. Johnson will talk about Vandy getting better and deeper while he tries to find a way to coach them to a winning season, which would be a first for the Commodores since 1982.

This event used to be the first week in August. That was when no games were played until September.

Now we head to Birmingham and it's not even the last week of July. That means football season is right around the corner. Actually it means it's already upon us.

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The Saints begin their training camp in Jackson late this week. It's the third year in a row for New Orleans to camp at Millsaps College.

Archie said he believed the Saints had strengthened their defense this time around. Most believe they'll make a run at the division title; many have already picked them to win it. Archie also thought Deuce's health would be a key for the team.

Best quote from the media opportunity with Archie on Saturday.

Q: "Do you think winning that first Super Bowl like Peyton and Eli have each done the past two years is easier or harder than winning that second one?"

Archie:

"You're asking me that?"


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