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Loran - Smith

By Loran Smith
By Loran Smith


Last week, I called Archie Manning with a routine request which led to an informal conversation which often takes place a few times during the year.

There is a lot of humor when we talk. There is no profanity, no mean-spirited gossip. The down-home mores he learned as a boy in Drew, Mississippi are still there. Archie has always been and will always be the consummate gentleman. We both suffer from neuropathy, but we don’t lapse into “woe-is-me” lamentations. We talk about family and mutual friends. A modest man, it was his birthday but he made no mention of that. I needed Internet help to find out. I asked how his grandson Arch is doing at Texas. “Arch is fine,” he replied. If things were not well in Austin, the familywouldnotcarpaboutit. Forallthe glory that has come to the Manning household over the years, they are not into pointing fingers, pouting, and finding fault.

Like father, like son has become a family tradition. Each generation has traditionally become a chip off the old block.

If you remember when sons Peyton and Eli were at Tennessee and Ole Miss, they did not opt out following their junior seasons for the National Football League. Conversely, Arch didn’t run to the portal when Quinn Ewers, last year’s Longhorn starter, announced he would be returning to Texas for his senior year.

You likely know about the Manning Passing Academy, which is held each summer at Nicholls State in Thibodaux, La. Archie and his sons—Cooper, Peyton, and Eli—run the camp for high school and college quarterbacks. The Mannings have invited Georgia’s Carson Beck, and he will join them as a counselor this summer.

Who else will be there? Quinn Ewers and Arch Manning. That shouldn’t surprise anybody and should tell you something about the attitude within the Manning family.

Archie is the Chairman of the National Football Foundation and has been since 2007. The only other person I can think of who has had a longer “titled” run with a sports organization would be Bobby Jones who is President in Perpetuity of the Augusta National Golf Club. Archie has tried, on several occasions, to resign as President, but the NFF won’t let him go.

With the changes that have come to college athletics, ole timers lament the selfishness and greed that has come about. That is when it makes everybody appreciate the legend of Archie Manning.

Ole Miss fans will never forget the glory days of the Johnny Vaught era. That was when the Rebels were known as a powerhouse in the Southeastern Conference. Everything on campus revolved around the football program as Ole Miss was an annual contender for the SEC championship.

In the fall, the Ole Miss coaches managed to shoot doves early in the morning before studying game film. They quail hunted in the winter months, and when spring practice was over, they played golf until football drills began again in August.

Ole Miss football coaches had the greatest routine ever in the league. They worked hard and dominated the state in recruiting. Vaught was highly regarded in his era when he would take strong and compact fullbacks and make guards out of them. I remember when coaches talked about the athleticism of the Ole Miss players. continued from page

The Rebels, as they were known then, always had a quarterback with head turning ability. They also had backs who could make the tough yard but could go the distance with the exceptional speed with which they were imbued.

What they talked about with deep and abiding respect was that the Ole Miss linemen wore low-cut shoes. When your team has linemen who can run wind sprints with the backs, you know you have rare talent.

With what has come about in football today, Ole Miss has a much greater challenge to be as relevant as the Rebels once were. That is why they all love and revere this one-time quarterback.

Archie Manning reminds them of the Vaught era. Ole timers will never let go of that.

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