"It was tough sledding," said Joe Bernardi. "We got in a situation where we had to start throwing it. We got in a hole there 41-10 at the start of the second half. So we didn't really get our chance to establish the running game… It's nothing about an SEC defense. They're good players, but that was us. It wasn't them that beat us; we beat ourselves in that situation."
Joe Bernardi also explained what the offensive line wants to improve on heading into Saturday's game against Cal Poly. "We got to do a better job finishing runs," said the center. "Something we did a really good job against Utah State in the fourth quarter. Finishing our blocks… getting up to the linebackers; we didn't do as good of a job."
The offense lost their star lineman Andrew Jackson early at Utah State due to injury. Jackson missed the Ole Miss game and will miss Cal Poly. There is no set date on his return to the starting lineup.
"It's really hard when you lose the best offensive lineman in the conference," added Bernardi. "Andrew Jackson is a very, very good football player. He's one of the real heart and soul guys of this team."
Leslie Cooper has filled the void left by Jackson. Matt Hunt also saw playing time at the opposite guard position during the game at Ole Miss. Bernardi talked about the play of the two replacements.
"It doesn't change us at all," said the senior. "[Jackson] went down and Matt and Leslie have picked up the flags and we knew that coming in. That's something that Coach [Pat] Hill really preaches around here. If someone goes down, somebody else is going to have to pick up the flag… I thought they went in there, played their butts off, and that's what I expected from them the whole time."
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