23 July 2007

Ole Miss : Troy Johnson responds to questions & comments.

I sent Troy Johnson an email with some comments and questions regarding his "Ranking the SEC Coaches" . I just received a response.

Here is my e-mail:

Mr. Johnson,
I have a few comments and questions for you regarding your :Ranking the SEC coaches article.
12Ed Orgeron, Ole MissWins 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).

You fail to mention that a possible reason for going 7-16 is because of our lack of talent due to Cutcliffe's recruiting. Here are Ole Miss' recruiting rankings by Rivals for the three years prior to Cutcliffe's firing : 2002 : 33 / 2003 : 38 / 2004: 30.
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?
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?)
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.

Thanks for your time.

Here is his response:

I don't dislike Coach O. If anything, he's one of the more passionate coaches in the league. I'll go ahead and address the perception of Coach O as a loose cannon. He hasn't done anything to put Ole Miss on the NCAA's radar and I don't presume to say that he will. But he does have a history of coming unwound, dating back to his time at Miami. He was ordered by Dade County court to enroll in a 26-week domestic violence counseling program and was arrested and charged with second-degree battery after a bar fight (charges were later dropped). Between that and some of his ''hits'' on YouTube, the man may be in need of an image makeover.As for Cutcliffe, the man’s record was 44-29. He took the Rebs to four bowls in six seasons. They went 10-3 in 2003 and, sorry to say it, Ole Miss isn’t thought of as a 10-win kind of program.He tanked in 2004, but it's tough to find an SEC program that hasn't suffered through a season like that once in a while. Plus, Tennessee improved significantly after bringing Cutcliffe back.Coach O will have a chance to prove me wrong, of course.How would you have ranked the league's coaches?

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