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August 29, 2005
We are excited for it to be game week. Obviously this is our first game together. We are pumped up and pleased with the way camp went. Our guys competed. We had a very tough camp. As we have a saying here, `The cream rose to the top' at most positions.
I would also like to add that our thoughts and prayers are with the families of any of our football players and other athletic department personnel from the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama in the path of the Hurricane. We hope that they are safe. They are very important to us, and we hope that everything goes well for them.
We are very excited going into the season opener against Memphis for our football team and the Ole Miss family. The most important thing for us to do is establish who we are and the type of program we are bringing to Ole Miss.
During camp I was really pleased with the development of the offense under coach (Noel) Mazzone. Our running back position has been improving a lot lately with Jamal Pittman, Brandon Jacobs and [db]Mico McSwain[/db]. We have let Alan Abrams back on the football team under circumstances, which I believe he will follow.
Our offensive line has progressed well. George DeLeone has done a fine job of working with the offensive line. That was a question mark going into camp. Hopefully this week, we'll get David Traxler back, which will help us out.
The wide receiver position is very strong. They have come into their own. Matt Lubick has done a great job of coaching them. We have three tight ends that are able to play, and I feel good about that.
As far as the quarterback position, we thought that we would be naming a starter today. Due to the competition level of [db]Robert Lane, who has come on very strong, especially in the last scrimmage, we are going to keep it open until right before the game. We will go into the game with one starting quarterback. We feel as a staff, that both quarterbacks could play for us. In the event one guy is not doing the job, we feel comfortable putting the other guy in.
Defensively, we have three seniors returning up front. Michael Bozeman had an excellent camp. We named Michael one of the team captains. He is an excellent young man. He is very representative of our defense, tough and strong in the middle. On offense we named Tre' Stallings as a permanent team captain. I wanted to name two linemen, because we have to be physical and strong on the offensive and defensive lines. Those two guys represent our program well. McKinley Boykin is coming along. He has not progressed at the speed with which I was hoping. His knee injury is not 100 percent, so we put Jeremy Garrett, who has had an excellent camp, behind him. He will be in the rotation. Jayme Mitchell has come along at defensive end. LaMark Armour will back him up. Corvelli Haynes has earned a starting spot at the `Leo' position. He has become an excellent pass rusher. Chris Bowers is going to back Haynes up. We are going to be strong on the line.
At the linebacker position, we are excited about Patrick Willis and the rest of the linebackers we have. We have built some depth there with our young guys. A guy who has come along who you may see play this year, is LeRon King. We moved him from defensive end to linebacker.
In the kicking game, Will Moseley has shown that he can perform all three duties. He's not going to perform all three duties. Matt Hinkle will perform some of the kicking. I am really pleased with the system that Chris Rippon has put in. He's an excellent special teams coach. We have our best players at the best spots available, and we are looking for exciting things on special teams.
Looking at Memphis, they return 10 starters on their defense with Joe Lee Dunn. They can present a lot of problems with their blitzes. They are very effective with their blitzes, so we need to be able to protect our quarterback and run the football. On offense it starts with DeAngelo Williams, who is an excellent player. He is one of the best we will face all year. He's an all-purpose back, who in addition to running the football for 1,948 yards last year, caught a lot of passes in the backfield and some reverses, which creates a lot of mismatches. He is a very good football player. Maurice Avery, their leading receiver coming back is a good player as well as a good blocker. We don't know a lot about the quarterback (Patrick Byrne) since he was a kicker last year. We still expect him to be ready. They have four new offensive linemen. Tommy West has done a great job with the Memphis program, and we are looking forward to the game on Sept. 5.
Q: You said the offensive line is
progressing, but there have been a number of injuries. Is there anybody you
expect back other than Traxler?
Q: Does not naming a starting quarterback today alter your
Q: You said earlier in camp, that the freshmen running
backs were going to play. Where do you stand on that and how much will they
Q: What exactly has Lane done to make this a race?
Q: How is your family and are they out of the path of the
Q: What makes (DeAngelo) Williams such a talented back?
Q: Have you changed your practice schedule with the
Q: Memphis ran a lot of misdirections and trick plays the
last couple of years. What do you have to do defensively against that?
Q: You mentioned that Robert and Micheal could both play
Monday. What kind of rotation do you expect that to be?
Q: You are playing a quarterback that's never been in the
game before. Do you view that as an advantage?
Q: What are the keys to containing a back like DeAngelo
Q: Do you see any similarities in DeAngelo and Reggie Bush?
Q: Talk about the linebacking corps, how they've progressed
and how important it will be for them to play well against DeAngelo.
Q: You didn't mention Brandon Jenkins on the defensive front. Has he dropped off some, and two, is Abrams eligible to play against Memphis?A: Abrams is eligible to play the first game provided he practices well. Jenkins has dropped off a little bit. We are still going to play Brandon. He has to have a good week of practice. We are trying to find out if Brandon is more suitable to play for us outside or inside.
Q:? Robert Russell was getting a lot of snaps
for you. Where does he fit in the mix?
Q: Has Robert Hough maintained first-team at tight
Q: You played seven freshmen at USC. I count five right
here. Is there anything you can say to freshmen to settle their nerves and how
long does it take them to get adjusted to the speed of the game.
Q: Talk about Gary Riggs.
Q: Talk about Kendrick.
Q: What about Mico McSwain?
Q: Is there any clarification on who'll be kicking off and
kicking field goals, etc. or do you still need this week to determine that?