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One Play Did Not Cost Orgeron His Job.

Posted by Kevin on November 26, 2007

Give it up, Rebel fans. Getting stuffed on 4th-and-1 from your own 49 yard line with a 14 point lead did not get Ed Orgeron fired. Even beyond that play, Ole Miss had the ball with 3:51 on the clock and a 7-point lead and still couldn’t put the game away. The decision to go for it was just the latest stupid (actually, I think he made the right call) move by a coach who never should have been hired in the first place. The Ole Miss administration got caught up in the embarrassment of being publicly turned down by multiple ‘candidates’ and failing to make the deal with Dennis Erickson when they had announced him as their next head football coach before securing a deal.

Ole Miss President Robert Khayat and Athletic Director Pete Boone said they preferred to hire someone with previous head coaching experience, ties to the South, and a reputation for beinga players’ coach as well as for running either an aggressive defense or innovative offense. Orgeron fits a grand total of one of those categories: he’s from Louisiana. Orgeron had zero head coaching or even coordinator experience. He was a defensive line coach who was only promoted to an assistant coach at USC as a bonus for being a good recruiter. The only bright spots on his resume were being a part of winning coaching staffs at USC and Miami; however, being on the staff does not equate to being head coach material.

Orgeron came to Ole Miss with all the promise in the world of being able to win right away. Boone fired David Cutcliffe just one year removed from a 10-3 Cotton Bowl team and brought in Orgeron. Orgeron’s first Rebel team picked up where Cutcliffe left off and went 3-8. Using offensive coordinator, Noel Mazzone, as his scapegoat, Orgeron hired recently fired offensive and defensive coordinators Dan Werner and Art Kehoe from Miami. The 2006 Rebels turned in a 4-8 performance. In 2007, the Rebs topped themselves by tuning in an 0-8 conference record for the first time since 1982.

In three years, Orgeron’s teams won 10 games – 3 conference games. He has only two wins against any team with a winning record (Memphis in 2005 and 2007).

Being that I’m a Mississippi State fan, Rebel fans are likely to point to State’s seven year stretch of losing and Sylvester Croom‘s lack of wins during his first three years at State. On the surface, sure, we had abysmal records under Croom in 2004-2006. But you have to look deeper to see the difference between Croom and Orgeron. Orgeron had zero big wins at Ole Miss. His three SEC victories were against Kentucky, Vandy, and State, all while those three schools were in the midst of down times. His other seven total victories came against non-conference opponents of whom only one finished with a winning record (Memphis in 2005 & 2007). Croom, however, beat Florida in 2004 and Alabama in 2006. State started showing signs of improvement in 2005. Even in the midst of a 3-win season, they never quit trying. In 2006, four of our losses were one possession games where we had chances to win. Even in losing, you could see the pieces coming together. Orgeron never gave Ole Miss fans reason to believe he could win. There’s a mighty big difference my friends.

4th-and-1 did not doom Orgeron’s job. It was just the final straw in an embarrassing three year saga for Rebel Nation. I sincerely hope Khayat and Boone get it right for once this time around. I hope they get a coach that they (and you impatient Rebel fans) will give time to sort through the mess he’ll be left with and build a competitive program. I like beating Ole Miss just as much as the next Bulldog fan, but I’d rather beat them at their best than at their worst.


2 Responses to “One Play Did Not Cost Orgeron His Job.”

  1. Friends recall Michael Walsh –

    Almost to the end of the course, they said, you can’t be an EMT, you haven’t had first aid.” Vermont

  2. Anonymous said

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    Excellent post. Keep it up!

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