Nutt: 'Wins are precious'

NEW ORLEANS - For the second straight week, the Ole Miss Rebels put together what could be considered a lackluster performance – not from an effort standpoint but from a production one.

But head coach Houston Nutt said the 27-13 win for his team in the Louisiana Superdome against Tulane Saturday night, which even the Rebs' record at 1-1, is one to build on.

Nutt, in his third season in Oxford, also said never underestimate the value of a victory. Take them when you can get them, and move on. And always remember learning from a win is better than learning from a loss.

Last week the Rebels fell to Jacksonville State 49-48 in double overtime. The second half of that game was mostly unproductive as Ole Miss scored only three points in the third and fourth quarters while allowing 24 by the Gamecocks.

The same scenario unfolded in game two's second half as Tulane scored only 10 points but the Rebels once again only three. The statistics, heavily in the Rebels' favor in the first half against the Green Wave, also evened up in half number two.

Here are Nutt's postgame remarks from the Tulane game.

Nutt: Wins are precious. If you check the scores in today's world, wins are precious, especially on the road. Beautiful place to come down to and play. I appreciate our fans coming. I was really excited about our effort, especially in the first half. We talked really hard about finishing. I thought we finished very hard in the fourth quarter. I thought our defense got pressure on the quarterback and made some bigtime stops throughout the game, especially when they were in the red zone. I just think this is one to build on. This is really one to build on. You can teach a lot better lessons when you win. I thought we came out strong but there was that lull in the third quarter. I want to get that corrected. Whatever is going on in that third quarter I don't like. I want to get that corrected. But overall there's nothing like winning. We can really build on this one.

Enrique Davis

What did you see from Jeremiah Masoli today?

Nutt: No. 1, excellent leadership. Thought he was into the game. When Nathan didn't practice this week from Sunday to Wednesday, I felt like he really tried to step up mentally. It showed tonight. Did a good job with the huddle, getting us out of the wrong plays, getting us in the right situations. I was really proud of that. I'll tell you, we needed all the receivers with all those yards. Markeith had a really good game for us. I just know we can improve and be better than what we're showing. We didn't get the ball very much in the third quarter, but when we do get it, you have to take advantage of it. You've got to keep the drives going. The holding calls really hurt us and knocked us out of rhythm.

Why did you take Jeremiah out that series in the third period?

Nutt: I just wanted to put Nathan in there in the heat of things. I thought there were a couple of things. I thought we could get a drive he could execute, swing, if you noticed the first time we threw the swing, that was going to be an 18-yard gain. But we dropped the ball. They were crowding the line of scrimmage on that play. I just wanted to get him in there. You've got to have two (QBs). I just wanted him to know we still believe in him, and he's got to be ready to go.

Talk about Markeith Summers' performance.

Davis, Summers celebrate

Nutt: Run by them. Use your speed. Use your height. Make the big catch. Huge catch on the sprintout in the fourth quarter. Changed ends of the field. That was really a game-winner, really. And Enrique ran the ball very hard there at the end, very physical. I thought Josh Tatum, Michael Brown, two brand new guys in the mix on late notice, had to give them a crash course, did a good job – until (Josh) got hurt.

How concerned are you about that third-quarter lull?

Nutt: I'm not as concerned about it now that we won. I really think now we can jumpstart ourselves and we can learn and we're going to gain confidence. It's much easier to do that, I promise you. Twenty-eight years of coaching, it's much easier to teach lessons when you win. We're going to get that corrected. But we've got to get the ball more (than against Tulane) in the third quarter.

What was Tatum's injury late in the game?

Nutt: Ankle. I think the x-ray was negative. They're doing another one here. It rolled up pretty good.

How did you think he did?

Nutt: For his first time, not getting many reps during the week, I was really proud of him. Worked hard and competed. Really proud of him.

Your thoughts on Kentrell being back?

Nutt: Kentrell and Fon lift our defense with experience and pressure. It was so good to have Kentrell back on the field.

Rate your secondary tonight.

Nutt: They kept everything in front. There were times where maybe we had a few people out of position, a couple of times where they hit some sideline throws on us. But overall I was really proud. I thought Johnny Brown really fought and competed, those collisions at the end of each play where the receiver couldn't catch the ball. I was proud overall of how they played.

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