Opening Statement - Ole Miss post-game
First of all, I would like to say that I am extremely happy for the senior players on our team, the 22 seniors who were introduced before…their last game in Tiger Stadium. It was certainly a great atmosphere out there for them to finish their career.
The crowd did a fantastic job of helping us win this game. The emotion that we played with in the end to overcome a lot of adversity I think they (the fans) had a lot to do with.
I was extremely, extremely happy - as happy as I have ever been - because we have a great bunch of seniors. Guys that have been here for three years and have had a lot to do with turning this program around and us to where we are today relative to winning a championship last year and being a part of a season so far that at least we have an opportunity to play for the championship maybe again or win the West.
I was very pleased and happy for all the seniors on the team. I think it was a great team win. We wanted to re-establish our identity out there and compete in the game for 60 minutes no matter what happened or what the circumstances were, which I was a trademarks of our team here and hasn't been for the last three weeks, and I think our players did that.
To intercept the ball on third-and-6 inside the 10…and get out of that situation, to make the interception at the end of the game, to make the play before the half with 53 or 55 seconds… Marcus had two drives today, both no-huddle drives, and did an outstanding job.
I was really proud of how our players competed in the game. A lot of guys played well. (We) made a lot of mistakes in the game, there's no doubt. We fumbled the ball five times, lost three. They all hurt us. We had one other interception. We had three interceptions defense and we probably had our hands on a few more balls.
I was really pleased with how our team competed and I was happy we were able to win the game. Ole Miss played a really good game. I am just proud of how our players competed in the game today.
Q: On the last interception by Corey Webster, did he just outmaneuver Chris Collins for the ball?
A: He did a really good job of playing bump-and-run and he kept the guy off. The guy tried to get back on top of him I think to try and run a post, and (Eli Manning) laid the ball up inside. Corey had inside position. I think that's the advantage of being a bigger guy with long arms. He was able to hang on to the ball.
That was a really big play in the game – fantastic job.
Q: Is there something about the no-huddle offense that may suit Marcus Randall better?
A: Part of the reason we went to it is because he had several successful (drives like) Before the half at Kentucky. It was something we had talked about and had in our game plan when he was in the game, we might try to do that at some time in the game. We had to do it before the half. We talked about doing it a couple times before that. It worked out well for us.
I think he sees things better, and maybe it settles the other team down a little bit in terms of what they do. Marcus played extremely well in this game today, and I very pleased and happy with him.
Q: You tell your players to forget bad plays, but are dropped interceptions and fumbles hard for you to forget?
A: No, not at all. I'm happy we won. I mean, we can make a controversy out of it if you want to.
Q: I mean during the game.
A: Yeah, I'm always upset about it. I want our players to play perfect, but I also know they can't. They're trying to do their best. And when they do miss one, there's nobody that feels worse about it than them. We're all competing out there, we're all trying our best. They're giving it their best, and I think the effort and toughness our team played with today was phenomenal.
The biggest thing I wanted them to do was if they didn't make the play, go play the next play. I was proud of the way they did that.
Q: Your defense kept you in the game, holding Ole Miss to one touchdown.
A: Right, and we had two missed tackles on that. Not that we would have stopped them had we made (the tackle) because I think they would have gotten the first down anyway. Hook (Demetrius Hookfin) missed him, Bradie (James) missed him, and we're playing man-to-man so there wasn't anybody else around.
I was really pleased with the way we played (on defense). We got out of some bad field position situations and did a great job. (We) competed well.
Q: Can you talk about Norman LeJeune's contributions as far as getting pressure on Eli Manning?
A: We felt like we didn't get enough pressure on him in the first half. We didn't blitz enough. We didn't really want to blitz; we wanted to pressure with five guys. We did more of it in the second half and I think it was good for us.
I told Norman he just likes to run in there and run into the blocker, and he did make a move on the guy so I was real pleased about that.
Q: Talk about being able to play for an SEC West championship.
A: We've been saying it's a one-game season for a long, long time. Now everybody knows it is. I'm happy that our players have put themselves in a position to have an opportunity to do this. I told them before the game everybody is always judged on they take advantage of their opportunities. We certainly will be in this one. I think they (the players) know that, but I still think the key for our team is that we play with an aggressive attitude. Play and compete in the game and don't worry about winning the game, but about how we play the next play and be relentless in the style.
Because I think part of the problem in the past three weeks is that we became far to outcome oriented in terms of how we thought. That's why you give up in the game when it's 14-0 when you fumble a ball on the 20 yard line just after you had a fake punt, or you get a punt blocked in Kentucky and it changes the psychological disposition of how you compete in the game. That's not how you win games.
I think the players got back to that today, and I think that was a big key for our team.
Q: Did you go into the game thinking you were going to alternate quarterbacks?
A: We just thought we were going to play both of them. I really think it took the edge off of Marcus that he didn't have to start the game. That's the best he's played since the South Carolina game. Ro (Rohan Davey) was here that game, and I think Ro took the edge off him a little bit and helped him out. Today, not having to start the game and just coming in the game…I told him when he went in, "All we need you to do is play average. Just play average."
Q: Tell us about the last touchdown play to Michael Clayton.
A: It was a whip route. They were blitzing and in man-to-man, and we picked it up. (Clayton) worked back in and came out on his guy. They were in straight man so when that guy didn't tackle him, it was a touchdown.
We need to continue to do the kind of things to play winning football. I'm not trying to minimize that. Fumbles, turnovers, interceptions…are not things that are helpful in winning.
We made some big plays today. Devery (Henderson) made a tremendous catch before the half. Devery has a broken arm and he's going to get surgery in the morning, so he'll be out for the year. Skyler Green will take his place in most situations, and he made a phenomenal catch out there today. He'll do a good job for us.
Not only was Devery doing good, coming into his own and making big plays. The guy's probably on every special team and did an outstanding job on special teams. He's really come into his own this year.