Adams: Hindsight gives better view of Coach O

When my phone rang during a Tennessee spring practice, I was standing behind a linemen's drill at Haslam Field. I was closer than I thought to the action.

After an exchange of hellos, my wife paused when she heard the background noise.

"Is that him?" she asked. "Is that Coach O?"

Ed Orgeron's reputation preceded him at UT. Whether he's issuing commands to a defensive lineman or recommending the purchase of a vehicle ("Tell 'em about it, Jo Jo"), he has one of the most distinctive voices in college football - so distinctive, in fact, that it's recognizable 15 yards away from a cellphone.

The Hummer commercial, and the Orgeron-inspired song, "Colonel Reb Is Cryin,' " by Memphis talk-show host Chris Vernon made Orgeron a bigger hit on YouTube than he was at Ole Miss.

Yet more than a year after Orgeron was fired as Ole Miss' head coach, his reputation could use a rewrite. That has nothing to do with the commercial, the song or his one season as a defensive line coach with the New Orleans Saints. It has everything to do with the aftermath to his three seasons Ole Miss.

Orgeron won 10 games and lost 25 in his three seasons at Ole Miss. That will get you fired just about anywhere in the SEC. And if that's your first head-coaching job, as it was for Orgeron, it likely could be your last.

But a year later, you can't judge him solely on how much he won or lost at Ole Miss. You also have to judge him by what he left behind.

And that judgment makes you wonder if Orgeron could land another head-coaching job, just as Ron Zook did after being fired following three consecutive five-loss seasons at Florida.

Zook's recruiting helped his successor, Urban Meyer, win a national championship two seasons after Zook was fired. Orgeron's recruiting helped his successor, Houston Nutt, go 9-4 a year after Orgeron was fired.

His recruiting will continue to pay off for Nutt and the Rebels this season. This preseason, Ole Miss will be a popular top-10 pick, thanks, in part, to Orgeron's recruiting.

Zook's post-Florida success also could enhance Orgeron's chances of another head-coaching opportunity. Hired as Illinois' head coach after the 2004 season, Zook led the Fighting Illini to the Rose Bowl three years later.

Orgeron's reputation as a star recruiter goes back to his days as an assistant coach at Miami and was bolstered by the players he helped sign under Pete Carroll at Southern California. Of course, you could argue: Who couldn't recruit to Miami and USC?

But Ole Miss?

Four of Orgeron's Ole Miss recruits made first- or second-team All-SEC last season. Texas transfer Jevan Snead, another Orgeron recruit, could be the second-best quarterback in the conference this season. UT will see for itself when it faces the Rebels on Nov. 14 in Oxford.

Lane Kiffin observed Orgeron's recruiting first hand when they worked together on Carroll's staff. Hiring Orgeron as his recruiting coordinator quickly became a priority for Kiffin when he accepted the head-coaching job at UT. Kiffin, Orgeron and the rest of a staff full of accomplished recruiters helped the Vols land the eighth-rated recruiting class in the country.

That probably didn't surprise Bruce Feldman, a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine. His book, "Meat Market" documented the recruiting prowess of Orgeron and provided a revealing behind-the-scenes look at college football.

Feldman's last line in the book, which was written before Orgeron's final season, couldn't have been more telling: "If Ole Miss doesn't win, Ed Orgeron's only solace will be that he stocked the fridge for his successor."

Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com.

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Comments » 30

the10sevol writes:

Go get 'em, Coach O!

dvhill100 writes:

Sell a drowning man water in the middle of the lake.

VAvolfanRON writes:

keep it up KNS.....you guys are keeping me fired up.....no matter what these UF fans say....

thet keep trying to bring us down....they only know how to say negative things......they try and try...

KUDOS....KNS

here come Coach O

tums writes:

in response to DCdynasty:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I haven'e heard anything about him from around the country.

BigOrangeJeff writes:

Our esteemed SEC brethren sure spend a lot of time and energy on OUR board running down OUR coaches. It makes one wonder if it's a feeble attempt to mask their fears that the Vols may be back.

ect1983 writes:

in response to DukeDeLuca:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Anybody who writes "UT grad with honors" in a post ANYWHERE but a resume is an absolute , unadulterated loser.......but you all knew that already. Hey Brainiac......write your address so I can send u a quarter to cxall someone who cares.

MidTennVol writes:

Coach O, reel these boys in and stay at least until they bring home the national championship. Please don't leave until you do that.

VOLFORLIFE writes:

in response to DCdynasty:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yeah, you wish. Obviously it's captured your interest. You sit up all night reading a TENNESSEE VOLS site!

GO VOLS!!!
JUGHEAD

rusty_shackleford writes:

The strangest part of this article is that admas was actually on campus at practice. Glad you're getting out of your padded cell/cubicle! I might pay attention to your editorials if you continue to get out in to the real world.

txvolsfan writes:

in response to DCdynasty:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Obviously not negative to recruits. IE: Bryce Brown

Only negative will be when his D-Line blows up T-Blows!!!

murrayvol writes:

in response to DCdynasty:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

interloper - irrelevant - ignorant - insignificant - etc.

murrayvol writes:

in response to BigOrangeJeff:

Our esteemed SEC brethren sure spend a lot of time and energy on OUR board running down OUR coaches. It makes one wonder if it's a feeble attempt to mask their fears that the Vols may be back.

That's about right BOJ.

Deep down they know what could be in store....maybe not right away but soon and significant.

BigOrangeJeff writes:

in response to DukeDeLuca:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Congrats on all of your academic prowess. What it lends to this conversation, I have no idea, but I'll try to comment on a couple of your points.

"B.J. Coleman has some killer spring stats and the head coach, to our knowledge, doesn't attempt to give him a call and say, "Hey B.J., let's work this out."

Um, not having proof that something did not happen doesn't mean that it actually didn't. Who's to say they didn't have that conversation? According to your logic, I could say, "We have no proof that Coleman did not demand to be named starter."

"I'm trying to be a Kiffin Believer. Lame is making it a really hard sell."

You claim to want to like Kiffin, but you refer to him as "Lame" in your next sentence. I don't know if you're trying to be funny or just providing us with a perfect example of a Freudian slip.

Either way, cut the I'm-trying-to-be-a-Kiffin-believer phooey.

Bigger_Al writes:

in response to rusty_shackleford:

The strangest part of this article is that admas was actually on campus at practice. Glad you're getting out of your padded cell/cubicle! I might pay attention to your editorials if you continue to get out in to the real world.

You know what Adams is going to write simply by reading the headline. It would be nice if his next editorial would be his last for the KNS.

Here's a dream: Adams replaced by Vol alumnus Woody Paige of the Denver Post!

http://www.denverpost.com/paige

murrayvol writes:

in response to BobbeaVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Oh no! Agreeing with Naffy. This may be a first.

TommyJack writes:

Coach O needs no rehab. He's fine as he is.
Ignore the non-gator gator posers. No response needed for those dildos.

rusty_shackleford writes:

in response to Bigger_Al:

You know what Adams is going to write simply by reading the headline. It would be nice if his next editorial would be his last for the KNS.

Here's a dream: Adams replaced by Vol alumnus Woody Paige of the Denver Post!

http://www.denverpost.com/paige

Now your talking! Woody is smart, funny, and self-depreciating.

TommyJack writes:

in response to rusty_shackleford:

Now your talking! Woody is smart, funny, and self-depreciating.

Rusty: That's a good example of why they make chocolate and vanilla. Tomato or tomahto. Woody makes me ill.
But to each his own. :)

volroadwarrior writes:

in response to DukeDeLuca:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yeah and you are one of those Negative Nellies. Kiffin inherited what is here now. We don't know what happened between the coach and BJ. I wish BJ would stay, but he didn't have a "killer" spring or at least not good enough to separate him from the pack. I don't know if you are a legit Vol fan, but there are many trying their best to put down the coach and you are just one of many. You are either with us or against us. CHOOSE.

Colliervol writes:

in response to DukeDeLuca:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What do ya think Duke? You reckon it might take more than 4 months to straighten out this mess? Or do you think Kiffin can just wave the magic wand and make everything OK? You sound like you're expecting the latter (like a few other clueless "fans" that infest this site).

The previous staff got the program into this mess. I'm willing to give them a couple of years to get it on the right track, not just 4 months. Because that's what it's going to take.

HoustonVol writes:

I have said all along that the CLK experiment will work out well no matter what in the end. We either end up with the next hot young coach and the program rocks. Or we have hot recruiters for a few years and will be able to have our picks from the best coaches in the land.

the10sevol writes:

in response to HoustonVol:

I have said all along that the CLK experiment will work out well no matter what in the end. We either end up with the next hot young coach and the program rocks. Or we have hot recruiters for a few years and will be able to have our picks from the best coaches in the land.

Kinda goes back to the "best will play philosopy". I don't care what changes we have to go through, I just want to win again, consistently.

rusty_shackleford writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Rusty: That's a good example of why they make chocolate and vanilla. Tomato or tomahto. Woody makes me ill.
But to each his own. :)

I can see how his schtick can get on someone's nerves.

MillisaAnn writes:

Yay Coach O!!!

jphilli5#240013 writes:

in response to gatorz4:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Very funny. How can you compare those otherwise good looking hunting dogs to Gator cheerleaders. You can't fool me. The dogs don't really have teeth like Florida women. Nice try!!!

Was that incest or do you all breed with turds?

10volunteers98 writes:

in response to jphilli5#240013:

Very funny. How can you compare those otherwise good looking hunting dogs to Gator cheerleaders. You can't fool me. The dogs don't really have teeth like Florida women. Nice try!!!

Was that incest or do you all breed with turds?

They ARE turds!

10volunteers98 writes:

in response to 10volunteers98:

They ARE turds!

They`re turds that won`t flush,cause they keep coming back to make their stupid comments!

illinoisvolfan writes:

in response to tums:

I haven'e heard anything about him from around the country.

The only things negative I've heard about Coach O are coming from Ole Miss fans (sour grapes) and Florida fans. (who knows why).

The positive things include him being one of the best, most persuasive recruiters in the country. Also, he seems to have defeated some of his personal demons. Whether one is a Tennessee fan or not, Coach O should be complemented for that.

Ralph_Crampton writes:

Coach "O's" two tackles at Ole Miss taken in the first round in the NFL draft...when was the last time you heard of that...The Rebel linemen beat the Gators on their homefield...He has revived Houston Nutts' career at Ole Miss when he could have just slowly being drummed out of college coaching as a has been..But no, Nutt is reborn, a nice raise at helm of the Rebels. I think Ols Miss fans should not be down on coach "O"...it was their adminstration that pulled the trigger too early. Oh my, the mistakes some AD's make...Coach "O" proves once again that what "Bear" Bryant stated a long time ago about talent.."You can't make chicken salad with some chicken".

Misplaced_Vol_in_KC writes:

in response to DukeDeLuca:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Not a grad, but season ticket holder for 23 years...you don't beg a kid to stay when he his ego overrides good sense for a scholarship and the opportunity to play...Only one person should be in charge or you lose control of the whole team...one person in control is something we haven't had in a few years.

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