DC Tyrone Nix and Co-OC Mike Markuson had the same take on the humbling 28-14 loss to Vanderbilt Saturday in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Read about it inside.

The team meeting room where the media meets coaches and players after games was as somber as a funeral.

No, nobody died, but the Ole Miss Rebels took a season-threatening wound Saturday at the hands of Vanderbilt in a 28-14 loss in a game the Rebs were double-digit favorites in.

Co-Offensive Coordinator Mike Markuson kept a stiff upper lip after the contest.

The Rebels outgained Vandy 385-300 and had the ball for seven more minutes than the visitors, but it was apparent they left too many points and scoring opportunities on the field by not making key plays that were there for the taking.

"We're not going to point fingers at our kids, but we didn't make the plays that were there to be made today," he said.

Alex Washington

"Ferbia (Allen) and Brandon (Bolden) dropped touchdown passes, we had a late fumble deep in our territory, we fumbled a ball on a reverse pass that we felt was open, and we threw a pick for a TD.

"Offense is about execution. It's easy to get on the board and draw up a bunch of plays, but you have to do everything the right way to make those plays work. You have to handle a protection, handle a route, handle a catch, whatever you have to do, you have to do correctly or you won't make plays. It's frustrating for everyone when we have plays out there to be made and we don't make them. The kids are out there trying hard, but they couldn't get over the hump today."

Turnovers (3), a missed field goal, drops and a poor third-down ratio (5-18), including two or three short-yardage failures, were the Rebs' undoing.

"We just have to keep preaching to these kids about doing the little things right - ball security, getting in and out of the huddle, looking the ball in, protecting the ball and so on," he noted. "We have to press on."

Markuson seemed, overall, pleased with the play of Masoli.

"He made some super plays. We didn't think he was particularly sharp in the option game with his decision-making, but he made some great decisions there as well," Mike continued. "He'll continue to get better.

"On the interception for a Vandy TD, we had sprint out protection on and I'm not sure if it was an errant throw or a late throw, but it went the other way in a hurry."

The Rebels were playing with newcomers at right guard - Mike Brown started the game and was replaced in the second quarter by Logan Clair.

"As the game progressed, we did some good things, but we've got more work to do. We got a little more push with Logan than we did with Mike and our tailbacks were able to make some plays, but we have to keep pushing and become more consistent," he said. "We had problems in short-yardage and there's no excuse for that. We weren't getting a good push - you have to make those yards. No excuses.

"I took Mike out because he got tossed around on a sack. He gives great effort and is a smart kid. He does a lot of good things, but the physical part got him a bit. I gave Logan a chance and our push was better with him in there. We will also play Jared Duke and Patrick Junen in the future. They have to get ready."

Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix was fairly pleased with a lot of what he saw, but the Rebs were bitten by the big play bug, one 80-yard run after Ole Miss had tied the game at 14-14, and a 35-yard run for Vandy's first score of the game.

"On the 80-yarder, it looked like we didn't get the right squeeze technique out of our tackle on that play and everyone else took the QB and the pitch. That created a crease in the middle and they popped it," said Tyrone. "Other than that play, and the 35-yarder for their first score, I thought we showed improvement. We are not where we need to be, but we did get better. I think we only gave up 300 yards, and that included that 80-yard run.

Jerrell Powe

"We have to get better in order to win in the SEC. I thought we played better on third down (Vandy was 3-14). I'd like to get more turnovers and get more consistent, but we made a baby step today in some ways."

Nix said everyone has to hit on all cylinders for more improvement to be made.

"At times, we've been what we are supposed to be - a strength of the team, but we have to get more consistent," he explained. "We have a nucleus of good players who will be OK if we play together and commit to playing our assignments with tremendous effort.

"Right now, however, we are middle of the pack, at best. We are improving, but we are missing too many assignments. We have been exposed by that in all three games and we have to get it fixed. What we have to understand is there are no do-overs or repeats. Once you make a mistake, it's made. There's no going back."

The Rebs are now 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the SEC. They have just now gotten into the "meat" of their schedule.

Obviously, there are a lot of corrections yet to be made.

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