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down there shrek is near 03-lol 03-lol 03-lol


The Times-Picayune

Orgeron revs up Ole Miss backers

New Rebels coach canvasses crowd, stresses La. links
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
By Benjamin Hochman
Staff writer

The tan man in a suit shook every hand he could reach, posed for pictures with strangers and kept a smile tattooed to his face. He did everything but kiss babies. Sure, Ed Orgeron already got the job as Ole Miss football coach, but he was campaigning for support in a town where alumni -- and recruits -- are plentiful.

On Monday, Orgeron and assistant Frank Wilson met with the Greater New Orleans Ole Miss Club at an Uptown home, where patrons sipped on cocktails and gossiped about recruiting.

There was much to talk about -- Ole Miss is bringing in 10 new players from Louisiana.

"We have connections here," said Orgeron, a native of Larose. "They know what kind of coaches we are, what kind of people we are. I think that's an advantage for us. We still have to work at it; nothing's given. It's still going to be hard work."

Wilson, former athletic director for the Orleans Parish public school system, is the ultimate topographer of the city's football landscape. Orgeron happily points to Wilson as his go-to recruiter in the area.

"Louisiana is certainly a hotbed for recruits, and to be able to come and recruit in Louisiana is big-time," said Wilson, who used to coach O. Perry Walker. "So far, so good."

Said Orgeron, who previously was defensive coordinator for national champion Southern California: "Last year we had a lot of success with the limited amount of time that we've had, and we expect to have great success in the future."

Before his speech Monday, Orgeron took off his suit jacket and rolled up his sleeves. He proceeded to get the crowd rowdy by having them get in football stances and grunt on command. And so, older women in sparkling jewelry and fresh graduates with blazers and khakis alike grunted on command. The coach said so, after all.

Orgeron, the consummate recruiter, then worked alumni like inquisitive parents in living rooms.

"I'm fired up to be your football coach, and I'm fired up to be home," he bellowed with a hint of his Louisiana accent. "Our goal is to get the best players out of Louisiana, and get them at our school."

Ole Miss could use the help. Last season, the Rebels were 4-7 -- but folks seem to be rejuvenated with a new coach in town.

"I love people getting to know who their coach is," Orgeron said. "I think it's really important that they get to feel the type of enthusiasm I have and what type of football program I'm going to build here at Ole Miss.

"It's awesome just to be in the South. There is tremendous talent there."

After an arduous day of visiting 13 high schools in the area, the coaches still were energetically chatting with boosters after their speeches to the group.

Do football coaches ever sleep?

"We get about four hours a night," Wilson said. "That's all you need."

The first game, after all, is only 118 days away.

. . . . . . .

Benjamin Hochman can be reached at bhochman@timespicayune.com or (504) 826-3405.
05-17-2005 03:52 PM
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