Nutt: 'Let's build on this'

Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt said his Rebels are ready to work toward building on their win against Fresno State.

"We're anxious to get going again," he said at his Monday press conference. "We had a good day Sunday. It's always good to come back out on the field after a win. We watch that film and put it to bed, and we get right back in the SEC against a very good Kentucky team."

He is concerned about the injury situation but says others must move forward and help out.

"The last game we got a few guys hurt. Kentrell Lockett first and foremost, a tremendous leader and hate it for him and for us. He's a tremendous leader in the locker room and a warrior with a lot of experience. We're really going to miss him. Johnny Brown, Enrique Davis, we've got a few we still are unsure about. But we'll know more in the next day or two. But it doesn't look good. Guys have to step up like we've been telling them all year long."

Nutt and his staff played some younger players, and he felt they did well, along with some others who got better.

"Lot of young guys were in there, like Patrick Junen. Really proud of his play offensively to step in there as a true freshman. He made some mistakes but he competed hard, and that's what you want. We want to play hard and be physical. Our backs ran hard. I thought Jeremiah eliminated a lot of critical errors from the previous week. We want him to continue on that, take care of the ball better and keep executing. We were proud of the line, and now we get right back into SEC play. We've got to get ready to go."

Here are other comments from Monday's media gathering in the IPF.

Q: Have you talked to Kentrell about coming back next year?

Nutt: I haven't talked to him specifically about that. He's really down about getting hurt. I'll bet he'd like to. We'll see. You don't petition for it until after the end of the year anyway. We'll see how that goes.

Q: What has allowed Brandon Bolden to take that next step?

Brandon Bolden

Nutt: One thing was he was running hard and Enrique was running hard, and when he found out Enrique got hurt, he stepped it up. I was proud of all the backs, and there were some holes there for the first time, some true running lanes. You won't always get that so you have to get yards after contact. We just want him to keep playing. He played very, very hard. He's very capable, and we've got to keep him going. I think he will step it up.

Q: Talk about the defensive ends, and do you use D.T. Shackelford at that position?

Nutt: Cameron Whigham is running well again. That will help us. We have Wayne Dorsey, Cameron Whigham, Jason Jones. We will continue to use D.T. Shackelford. Delvin Jones will get more reps. You're talking about some true freshmen. They just have to keep absorbing, keep getting better, study. It's not easy, even for a junior college guy like Wayne Dorsey. It takes time for them to really feel the speed of this league we're in. It's not easy. I've got confidence in those guys. They just have to get to practice and go to work.

Q: Talk about the progress of Melvin Harris.

Nutt: He played really good for us. He's a threat. We've got to have him play at that level every Saturday. His attitude is great. He had a good week of practice. We felt he would play good. We've got to take shots with him to go up and get the ball, because he does have an advantage with height. He did really well without the ball, too. He really blocked very well. So we're proud of Melvin. We just want him to keep growing and getting better.

Q: What do you see from Kentucky?

Nutt: (Randall) Cobb is a tremendous athlete. They really move him around and they try to get him the ball in different ways. Just a really good football player. We've got to know where he's located. (Coach) Joker (Phillips) has done a good job. They play hard. They'll be faster than the team we played last week. We know that. They run to the ball on defense. They've been scoring a lot of points. They can execute. Their quarterback does a good job. They've got a tall receiver, and you add Cobb in the mix. Their fullback is a really good football player. Very physical. They do a good job mixing things up, run the ball, run, run, play action, bootlegs, waggles, things like that, and then try to throw it to a big receiver. So we have to do a good job defensively. We have to keep coaching our guys up and keep working.

Jeff Scott

Q: What does Jeff Scott bring to your offense?

Nutt: The thing you see is speed. You don't have to hold a block quite as long with him. Once he gets in the secondary, they've got to take good angles, because this guy can fly. That's what he brings to the table. He's a different kind of back with a quick, quick step. We're excited about using him in different ways. He'd be further along had he not gotten hurt. That's been the setback. He didn't get as many reps, and he needs that practice time and drills. You've got to have that in this league. He's exciting and hopefully we can keep him on the field.

Q: Talk about your offensive line and how they played this weekend.

Nutt: I was proud of them. This was the fourth group we've started. It was probably A.J. Hawkins' best game as an Ole Miss Rebel. He played very physical most of the night. Bobby Massie, Bradley Sowell, I've been very proud of them. Bradley really hustled, he's really hustling down the field, trying to get more knockdowns after his block. He's really trying to finish and hustle to help his teammates. Bobby Massie has gotten better on pass sets, so I feel good there. The two new guys we were unsure about were Patrick Junen and Logan Clair. I thought they really stepped up. Logan showed some real strength. But he's got to get better. He's got to be a step quicker this week. You have to be very sound fundamentally. Know what to do. Know your assignments.

Q: What improvements need to be made in your defensive secondary?

Nutt: We've got a lot of improvement to make. We've got to get in better position. We've also got to get them some help. We've got to get some rush. It's hard in this league to sit back there, and if we ask them to go man to man, they can't cover everybody all over the field for a long time. They've got to have some help. They've got to have some rush. They've got to rush the passer. Overall I know we can do better. We've got to do a better job of getting those guys in the right position, and then those guys have to play the ball in the air, going to attack, being physical, all those things. And hopefully get some turnovers along the way.

Q: Talk about Jonathan Cornell.

Nutt: He's the most experienced guy we have. He's played a lot of ball in the SEC. That really helps, and these young players are finding that out. It's a little bit different from Friday night football. Jonathan has good instincts. He deciphers the plays quickly and can see when a draw or screen is coming, when a counter is coming. A younger player might get caught up in the wash and get blocked. Jonathan's been very quick with good instincts, playing the run well, blitzing well, and then getting back in pass defense. He's been a real leader for us, and I've been really proud of Jonathan.

Q: You have a lot of freshmen and jucos. They don't seem to be intimidated. That's got to be a good sign.

Nutt: Absolutely. Saturday night was the best of the year. We put a lot on them. Play with passion. Play with heart. Just lay it all out there, and if you make a mistake, we can live with it as long as you're going 100 miles an hour. That's been the theme of it. Can't be afraid to fail. Got to be able to step up. All we ask of them is to go full speed, and for the most part Saturday night they did that. Hopefully we can build off that and get better.

Q: Did you feel the fan support helped Saturday night?

Nutt: Absolutely. I realize it's hard to go back to back to back at home. I know that's hard. It started to rain a little bit. I got a little nervous thinking some of them might decide to stay home. I really appreciated seeing how many fans showed up, 57,000 or something. It's a great feeling. I know our players appreciated it and made mention of it. We really appreciate them being here, because I know it's not easy to have a family of two, three, four, five, especially from the gulf coast, to come all the way up here back to back to back games when it's on TV. So we're very appreciative of that. And our students were very good. They got there early and were loud.

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