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2010 Coaches Quick Hits

Saturday July 24, 2010

Quoting Houston Nutt: Before I get going, I want to wish Bobby Johnson a happy retirement. I thought he was one of the finest coaches in the country. Great integrity. Seemed to me, he always had his guys ready to go, always had a good game plan.

That's really helped recruiting the last two signing classes, they've been outstanding. But as you look forward to this year, we lost a lot, we lost a lot. Dexter McCluster is the only person in SEC history to rush for a thousand yards, catch the ball for 500.

Offensively, a little bit different, because we lost so much. Offensive line I won't go through, you won't recognize their names. Basically we're playing with the guys, we signed except Bradley Sowell.

We need a receiver to step up. Markeith Summers, needs to step up. Lionel Breaux from New Orleans, these guys are older, seniors, showing good leadership, but we got to go to work.

As far as Raymond Cotton, as a former quarterback myself, you know, as a freshman, sometimes they get what I call 'freshmanitis,' where they feel like the walls are caving in on them, I should be doing this, doing that. Then they get to listening to some of their buddies, somebody maybe texting, a blog, all this information about what you should be doing, where you should be playing. The bottom line is, he's just been there a very, very short time. You're a freshman now. You have a chance to compete for a job. So there's no need to make one of these rash, bad decisions. So hopefully, his mom and dad are totally behind me. They're pushing him hard to stay. Hopefully we'll get it all corrected and he'll get back onboard and we'll go from there.

Schedule is really in our favor early on. We got to take advantage of it. Jacksonville State, though, you could say, Oh, Jacksonville State, but Jacksonville State had Florida State beat.

(on moving the 2011 open vs. Boise State to Atlanta) I'd like to play in that game. I'd like to come down there. Right now, I think our fans are all pumped up about that game. I had to remind them that we have a season now - not next year, now. I probably would like to leave everything like it is. But please give us a rain check. We want to come play. We want to come play down there.

The next mascot? You know what, I haven't been worried about that too much. We're Ole Miss Rebels. That's what I go by. There's, again, a lot of passion. Our students are going to handle that. I'm going to let them handle that.

(on Jerrell Powe) He's got a heart bigger than Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. He loves Ole Miss. He loves his school. He's going to be a tremendous ambassador no matter what happens in the next 5, 10, 15, 20 years. He loves Ole Miss. He loves his teammates. There is no question in my mind he could stand right here in front of you and answer whatever you want to ask him. He deserves to be here.
That was really a no-brainer for me.

(on Dan Mullen saying ‘the school up North') I don't know. Somebody keeps telling me about that. I don't know too much about that (smiling).

Quoting Les Miles: After last season, here's what we did. We looked at those things that we need to do to put this team in a position to win a championship. We looked at everything we did. We hired three coaches. Our weight/strength position, you know, adjusted. What we do on offense and defense we adjusted. We practiced a little differently. We've done a lot of great things.

I can tell you what I've been told is that there's always something going on in the indoor. There's a quarterback throwing balls, there's a quarterback throwing into a net, there's guys getting extra done, and getting it done routinely. It appears to me there's a great chemistry and attitude going on in this football team.

I like my team. I like my team's attitude. I like us in every game. So can't wait. The fall is here. Defensively, I think my interior is pretty strong. I start there because that's how you build a defense.

I think Jordan Jefferson, for that matter, Jarrett Lee. I think our quarterback position will play extremely well. This will be the first time in two years we've had a quarterback start the season that has a complete season's experience. Jarrett Lee will have more experience certainly. Both men have had great springs and strong summers. We'll be better on offense.

You know, I follow Jordan Jefferson. I think what's happened there, is he's starting to realize that it's more than a position. That it's not just call the play and throw the ball. It's a responsibility to function the offense and to give us an opportunity at victory, and to see the defense, and to understand the call, and understand the check, and give a wider, more encompassing view of the position. I think he understands that better now.

Quoting Derek Dooley: I also want to thank you for the coverage you do for our program and for our league. I've been in places where we don't get that kind of coverage. In fact, I was joking with one of the Ruston media today that I used to call to try to get interviewed to promote our program. So I appreciate all you guys do for college football and the University of Tennessee.

Well, I'm not here to predict the next trend. I do think that every year you have to constantly evaluate where you are, where the game is changing. You got to keep up.
I would say I'm a little bit of the traditional pro-style mode, if you will. I know you have to run the football to be successful on offense, but I also know you have to be multiple. In today's game, to win, you really have to be good at everything.

(on how Lane Kiffin left the program) Well, I don't really know, 'cause I don't know how it was before he got there. All I can do is see where we are now and where we need to go. So I've never really looked back. You know, I wasn't here to analyze what Coach Fulmer did or what Lane did. That wasn't what my job was. My job was to see where we are, what we need to do to get back what Tennessee fans expect and our university expects, and that's all we've done.

Well, start with Matt Simms. He came out of spring as our quarterback. Matt is very mature physically. I think he is matured incredibly emotionally over his experiences the few years before he got to Tennessee. He's got a good presence and command about him and leadership qualities. Very strong arm. Tyler Bray is a tall high school talented midyear enrollee. Because he's just a lot younger, the adjustment is going to take a little more time.

There's nothing more important to me than that, that we go out there and we're a fun team to watch, by the spirit we play with, by how we're not affected by any adversity that happens in the game. And that we go represent with the kind of intangible values that form the basis of our program.

(anything you did like about how Lane left things) That I did like? I didn't evaluate the job Lane did, so I don't know. All I know is I got to Tennessee, Here's the situation, Here's the roster, How do we move forward? So I didn't have time to analyze all the decisions that the prior coaching staffs made. I don't know any other way to say it, you know. I just said, What's our job here? Here's the issues. We got these problems personnel-wise. We have these problems structure-wise. Every program you inherit, you have challenges. Doesn't matter who the predecessor is, you have challenges. There's no perfect programs out there that just run like this. It's tough. It's challenging. There's a lot of things that can always pull your program off track. That's your job, to keep it moving in the right direction.

No, I haven't spoken with Lane. It's just 'cause I don't know him. So it's not anything more than that. I did reach out to Coach Majors and I did reach out to Coach Fulmer because I have just an incredible amount of respect for what they mean to the University of Tennessee. I have an incredible amount of respect for the job that they've done at the University of Tennessee. I would be an absolute fool if I didn't reach out to them and get their input on many things. Of course, I had Coach Majors actually come clinic our staff on some of the great history and traditions. If y'all know Coach Majors, we had to put a time limit on it because he could have talked forever. Then I reached out to Coach Fulmer, who I know is in many ways still in a painful state, and I understand. I told him that, I understood, because it was a difficult time in Tennessee. I also told Coach Fulmer that he's a part of the great tradition here. He'll always be a Tennessee Volunteer. As that pain goes away over time, I hope he'll come back. He already started that process, I believe that. I just have a tremendous respect for both of them. They represent Tennessee the right way. They won an incredible amount of games and they'll always be a part of our program.