Nutt: 'We're Getting Better'

Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt talked to the media after his Rebels beat Kentucky in Oxford Saturday.

Nutt: Nothing like winning a conference game. I appreciate the fans, our students. I thought they really energized us the entire day. I appreciate our former players. Romaro Miller and Dexter and Daverin, a lot of guys who came back. I really appreciate them. Most of all I appreciate our players. I've asked them to hang in there and never let go of the rope, with as much adversity and things that happened and things you don't count on. To have this many people on the sideline and have to go that far into the depth chart today, it's not easy. When you look up and Julian Whitehead, you probably haven't seen his name in a while, but he's out there at corner, going against some really good wideouts. It's very, very difficult. Proud of them. Proud of our offensive line. Every time our defense got a turnover, they capatilized. Every time. That's what turnovers do and working together. Our punt returner was a back breaker for them, when Jesse hit the punt return. I thought that was just beautiful Proud of all of them. Planned on throwing the ball a little bit more, but as the game went on, we're trying to eat up clock and we're backed up and didn't want to turn one over. So we just probably played a little conservative there. Just trying to eat up every second I could. Big first down there at the end by Brandon Bolden. Huge. Huge.

Q: No turnovers today offensively.

Nutt: Oh yeah. Excellent operation all day long. Really proud of Evan Swindall there at the end when A.J. went down. That's nerve-racking. Guy comes in cold off the bench and snaps the ball in a critical situation. Last four or five plays, that was big. No turnovers. Jeremiah handled the offense, the clock, managed everything well. That was really good.

Brandon Bolden

Q: You're down 14-7 and you later go up 21-14 and seem to be taking control. How big was that sequence?

Nutt: Those turnovers. We've been talking so hard on our end to take care of the ball. And then to get turnovers. When you get turnovers and capitalize on them, that really won the game today. Three turnovers, 21 points. That wins the game.

Q: Talk about Damien Jackson's performance.

Nutt: The last two games he has become so physical. He knew that Johnny Brown wasn't out there. A lot of people were getting hurt in the secondary, and I feel he really elevated his game and stepped up. He has a really competitive nature I really love. But I'm really proud of all of them.

Q: Any early updates on the injury to Brishen?

Nutt: Brishen really wanted to go back into that game. But these days, no. Back when I was playing back in the 70s, we'd probably get sent back out there. Not anymore. He was knocked out there for a while. But he was begging me ‘I know where I'm from. I've got 10 fingers.' That's the questions they asked him. ‘I know my birthday. Let me out there.' You talk about a real competitor. Their guy got hurt, too, if you recall. Brishen is up to 200 pounds now, got in here at 185. I'm excited about Brishen.

Q: Good time to have an open date?

Nutt: I just told our players that. It could not come at a better time. It's just one of those years. You lose Lockett, one of your leaders. You lose Johnny Brown. You lose Enrique Davis, who was running the best he's every run. All those add up. So it couldn't come at a better time.

Q: Will you have a game this year where the last ten minutes you can actually relax?

Nutt: No. I told you right here in August, this would be the biggest challenge of our careers. Y'all didn't believe me. And I didn't believe it would be to this extent. But as the injuries add to it. But every game will be to the end. And we've got our guys geared toward that. A couple of times off the goalline, I was disappointed. We can do better. We've got to get a first down. To me that was the only negative thing, and that was my fault being pretty conservative down there. Got to get off the goalline.

Q: How important have winning these last two weeks been with the start your team had?

Nutt: Just keep believing in them, first of all. I'm telling you now, that mind psyche' of that first punch in that first game, I don't know if y'all really realize how devastating that was to our team. It was devastating. If you're not careful, it will linger. All of a sudden the negatives start. It's easy to let go of the rope. We showed a little character. Challenged them. Hang on to the rope. We're going to fight through this thing. If you keep fighting, I can live with anything that happens.

Don't you think these last two teams are the best two your team has played this season?

Without question. Both of those teams can score. Fresno is physical, and they can run and pass. This group today has speed with Cobb and Locke. They're a dangerous group. Kentucky is going to win some they are not supposed to.

You going to scout Alabama tonight when they play Florida?

Nutt: I'm going to be so happy to watch the game, eat, drink some iced tea, nothing like it. I also want to mention this. Our receivers kept telling me ‘I can run by them. I can run by them.' The attitude of Markeith Summers and Melvin Harris. Melvin Harris has made a tremendous jump from where he was this time last year. Very mature. He has made some cover catches. I should have thrown more to him. We'll do that, and we'll start opening this thing up, because our running game's good. We'll open it up with Markeith Summers and Melvin Harris. Lionel Breaux's getting healthy. Ja-Mes Logan is coming. Grandy made some big plays. We've got enough out there weapon-wise to keep this offense going. In five games, this is the most we've ever scored (in program history to start a season). We've got a chance to be better. We can be better.

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