(It should be noted that this is enforced only within the conference. At LSU, for example, Coach
, the 1958 coach of the year, is hopping mad over what he considers the theft of a Mississippi high school superstar from him by Arkansas of the Southwest Conference.)
"Usually a boy makes the proper choice and goes to the school he should be going to. On December 7, 80% to 90% of the boys in our section have committed themselves and recruiting is just about completely over for the year.
"The aid program is good, too. Of course, aid varies at different schools, but the boy doesn't make any money out of the difference. He gets room, board, books, tuition fees and a $15-a-month laundry allowance, but no spending money.
"We get 98% of our boys right here in our section, although occasionally we may go up east for a good boy. It's funny how some states produce more good high school players than others. Many coaches—and I'm one of them—know that Mississippi produces more good players than any other state in this conference, with Louisiana second and Alabama third. Ole Miss gets most of these good players, too.
"Most of my boys, for that matter, come from Georgia. For some reason we produce plenty of good small backs who are real competitors, but we don't grow many big linemen who can move fast and really play football. I don't know why, but this is true.
"Through the years, I've had 12 or 15 boys from Mississippi and every one of them played regularly. Almost all were all-conference and some were All-America. I just never got a bad football player out of the state of Mississippi.
"Now, bowls. You might say that we are the most bowl-conscious conference in the U.S. We don't believe they are harmful; we have three or more teams in bowls every year. Our people here at Tech, from the president on down, like to go to bowls. We don't miss a single day of school and we don't lock the boys in their hotel rooms. And it's not too much football for one year.
"We are great believers in flying. We fly everywhere we go. It's a big help. Your legs aren't as tired as they would be from a long bus or train trip.
"I've talked about some things I like. One thing I do not like is the rating system. Ratings are wrong. You can't name good teams one-two-three. You have to bracket them. If the first five or six teams were to play one another in midseason, nobody could tell who might win. Match Oklahoma and Auburn and 50% of the coaches in the country would pick one and 50% the other. Of course, coaches aren't much good at making appraisals, for that matter. Ask them what teams are strong and they always pick their rivals first. They always say their conference is toughest. The best team in their section is the best team in the country. But that's human nature. The people who pick teams for the A.P. are the same way. In our conference three teams appear to be stronger than the other nine. They would be LSU, Auburn and Ole Miss.
"If you like to play golf, don't be a coach. I used to shoot in the 70s, but I gave it up. I got criticized. People see you on the golf course, and when your team is being beaten they come up and say you ought to be spending more time with the team. So I took up fishing. Needless to say, fishing comes after football. Football is my life. I am never tired of it."