Call him 'Hands-on' Orgeron

One of Ed Orgeron's first official acts as Ole Miss' head coach was to select a defensive coordinator he could trust … Ed Orgeron.

Yep, the guy who coached defensive linemen for 2004 NCAA champ Southern Cal is taking on two new duties in 2005 – coordinating a defense AND running a program. Is he up to the task? Of course. Just ask him.

Orgeron's coordinator tag is no paper title. He won't delegate the day-to-day duties to an aide. Instead, he's going to be hands-on. When asked at this week's SEC Media Days in Birmingham just how hands-on he'll be, Orgeron smiled smugly.

"As hands-on as you can imagine," he said. "I will be at the drills. I will be defensive coordinator, defensive line coach. I will install the defense. I will grade the tape, talk to the coaches, watch the tape."

One of the oldest clichés in the book says, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Orgeron has updated that saying a bit.

"If it's broke we want it fixed," he said. "We want it fixed IMMEDIATELY, so it's my job to see if it's broke. If it's broke at a position we want to fix it. I want to see it on the film the next day, so I'll be very hands-on."

A head coach serving as his own coordinator is not entirely new in SEC football. Steve Spurrier coordinated the offense at Florida while serving as head coach, entrusting his defensive coordinator with making the key decisions on the other side of the ball. Conversely, Orgeron plans to call all the shots on BOTH sides of the ball … including whether Michael Spurlock or Robert Lane will be the starting quarterback.

"I will listen to all our coaches," he said. "But I grade them (QBs) every day. We will sit down with the staff and gather all the information. But, ultimately, I will make the decision."

If you get the idea Orgeron is a strong-willed guy, you're probably right. He seems to be a strong believer in the "My way or the highway" approach to coaching. When asked if his rah-rah coaching style works with today's athlete, he nodded emphatically.

"They love it," he said. "And those that don't love it LEARN to love it."

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