23 July 2007

Ole Miss : Another name on my list

I recently came across an article entitled "Ranking the SEC coaches" by Troy Johnson of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. In this article he ranks the SEC coaches on a 1-10 scale in 10 categories.

I was expecting Coach O to be near the bottom of the list. He was. He was ranked 12th. Croom was ranked 11th. I've pasted his comments about Coach O and my thoughts in parenthesis.

Ed Orgeron, Ole Miss
Wins and losses: 3. Ole Miss fired David Cutcliffe, but it's tough to envision Orgeron as an upgrade. He's 7-16 after two seasons and has beaten just one team with a winning record (Memphis in 2005). (He fails to mention that a possible reason for going 7-16 is because of our lack of talent due to Cutcliffe's recruiting, or lack there of. Here are Ole Miss' recruiting rankings by Rivals for the three years prior to Cutcliffe's firing : 2002 : 33 / 2003 : 38 / 2004: 30. )

Ingenuity: 5. Orgeron developed some pretty fierce defensive fronts as an assistant to Pete Carroll at USC, but he's still finding his way as a head coach.

Recruiting: 8. Named the national recruiter of the year while at USC in 2004. He's been an active presence all over the Southeast, but it's always been tough for Ole Miss to consistently draw top-tier talent. (If it is tough to "consistently draw top-tier talent" then Coach O is doing an outstanding job. His rankings so far : 2005 : 30 / 2006 : 16 / 2007: 27 / and those are after four losing seasons. His ranking so far for 2008 is : 17)

Discipline: 6. No major problems with the program, but Orgeron has acquired a reputation for being a loose cannon. (Based on what? In the past three years at Ole Miss how has he been a loose cannon? I will e-mail Mr. Johnson to see what information he has to back this up.)

Staff construction: 6. O-line coach Art Kehoe and offensive coordinator Dan Werner experienced success at Miami.
What have you done lately?: 3. Hey, at least the Rebels moved up instead of down -- from 3-8 to 4-8.

Chicken dinner factor: 5. Think "Foooobaaaw!" and "Brent Schaeffaaaaw!" The Internet popularity of "The Coach O Song" may not play well with trustees, but you have to appreciate the guy's energy and entertainment value. (Anyone who mentions the "Coach O Song" in a sports article to rank a coach cannot be taken seriously)

Smooth sailing: 3. Orgeron didn't take over an especially stable or accomplished program. Ole Miss may come to regret cutting Cutcliffe loose. (If Coach O didn't take over a stable or accomplished program then why should we regret losing Cutcliffe?)

Long haul: 3. He's not in an ideal situation, but it's hard to imagine his as the face of a football renaissance.

Career body of work: 5. Deserves credit for his contributions as an assistant at Miami and USC, but he might ultimately be better suited for that role. (How can you say this when he has had three seasons? He needs a bit more time to get his players in. If he still hasn't won more than 4 games in two years then this is a valid point).
Extra credit: Nada.
Grand total: 47

I would love to hear other's thoughts on this article. For your enjoyment, I've pasted his part on Croom below.

Sylvester Croom, Mississippi State
Wins and losses: 3. Granted, he inherited a seemingly insurmountable task, but there's been little sign of progress. He's 9-25 since becoming the first African-American coach in SEC history in 2004.
Ingenuity: 6. The Bulldogs' schemes have been fine, but there's little in the way of quality depth.
Recruiting: 6. His 2007 class, which was ranked 27th nationally, stirs an ounce of hope -- but not for this year.
Discipline: 8. He comes across as stern, confident and in control of his program.
Staff construction: 7. Lots of experience with the likes of Rockey Felker, Charlie Harbison, Pat Washington and Woody McCorvey onboard.
What have you done lately?: 3. He's beaten three teams with winning records and, in the process, created a new slang term for SEC insiders. When a coach loses to Mississippi State, he stands a good chance of losing his job. Just ask Ron Zook and Mike Shula. Getting the boot after getting beaten by the Bulldogs is now referred to as "getting Croomed."
Chicken dinner factor: 5. Fits the description of a Bear Bryant trainee. Not especially glib, but certainly not artificial.
Smooth sailing: 3. Even if Mississippi State improves by leaps and bounds, it will be hard to finish better higher than fifth in a brutal division.
Long haul: 5. Athletic director Larry Templeton and university president Robert Foglesong have not yet wavered in their support for Croom.
Career body of work: 6. He helped develop such talents as Derrick Thomas and Cornelius Bennett as an 11-year Alabama assistant before moving to the NFL as an assistant coach. He developed a solid reputation while working in Tampa Bay, Indianapolis, San Diego, Detroit and Green Bay.
Extra credit: No points, but plenty of sympathy.
Grand total: 52

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