Ladies learn Rebel football

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Beth Garner (left) and her mother Latitia Trusty of Batesville look at the size 19 shoe worn by Panola County’s own defensive lineman John Jerry at the Rebels’ Ladies Football Forum on Saturday. The Panolian photo by Angie Ledbetter

Ladies learn Rebel football

By Angie Ledbetter

It was a day for over 400 women to enjoy football with Ole Miss Rebel head football coach Ed Orgeron and experience the excitement that the players do on game day.

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Ole Miss hosted the seventh annual Ladies Football Forum on Saturday.

The ladies got to scream “Hotty Toddy” and “War Time! Take it outside!”

Orgeron was in the middle of all of them yelling this. He started the forum by telling the ladies, “ We practice hard all week and we’ve had a great season.”

Ladies began to cheer and cheer! But the biggest response came when he told the ladies that LSU was coming to town. The boos came then.

Next the ladies got to go through the tunnel and come out at Vaught Hemingway Stadium while in fog.  They loved it. They yelled and cheered as Orgeron was at the end of the tunnel cheering them on. The excitement continued on the football field for a little while before going back to the indoor practice facility.

The ladies got to enjoy a show put on by coach John Thompson, defensive coordinator, and his wife. She was the football player whom he used for his demonstration, but she got the best of him and the biggest cheers from all the ladies.

Next was coach Frank Wilson, the running back coach. He talked for about 20 minutes on the running backs and how things work for them.

Then the biggest event of the day every lady was waiting on arrived.  Eli Manning, quarterback for the New York Giants, who was the quarterback for Ole Miss for five years, made his grand entrance with his fiancée beside him.

He made his way to the podium with loud cheers coming from every direction and a standing ovation. His fiancée stayed to the side.  Eli talked about his career as a New York Giant quarterback and how much he loved coming back to Oxford.

The ladies got to take a picture with Eli before he left. After lunch, the ladies were put into groups where they toured the weight room where quarterback Seth Adams, Bruce Hall and Jonathan Cornell were demonstrating the weight workouts.

Next was the equipment room. Each lady got to see all the clothes that the players wear and all the equipment. A shoe, size 19, was shown representing the biggest shoe size on the football team and it was the one and only John Jerry from South Panola.

The ladies got excited to see Dexter McCluster in the training room, which was next on their agenda. Another exciting moment of the afternoon came when runningback Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis was in the locker room to illustrate the components of the team’s wardrobe.

The women began to scream, “Take it off!”  He removed his jersey and his shoulder pad. Then he removed his undershirt and all the ladies went crazy. That was another highlight of an already exciting afternoon.

Women traveled from all across the country for this forum. They came from Washington, California, Boston, Indianapolis, Arkansas, Tennessee and most of all, Mississippi.

This was the seventh year that Chyna Ward had put this forum on. It gets bigger each year, was well organized and on time. She was like a drill sergeant when it came to doing everything on time. That made things go so much smoother for everyone involved.

Latitia Trusty and her daughter, Beth Garner, attended the forum from Batesville. It was their third year to be a part of it.

Mrs. Trusty said that they loved it.

“It’s our third year and we plan to come back next year. It’s not changed much since we started coming to it. It is always fun. I just enjoy coming over here and getting away from home for awhile, relaxing, and learning more about football which my husband is a big football fan.  I can go home and tell him who all I got to see and he enjoys that.”

“I think the forum is great,” Garner said. “I learn more about football along with other women who know about as much as I do about football. We’ve meet women from all over the place. I graduated from here in 1999 and I get to come back and see how much it has changed.”

Garner has two sons, ages 13 and 7, who attend North Delta School. Her son who is 13 plays football and her younger son plans to play.