TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - In the 23-10 loss to Alabama Saturday night, the Ole Miss defense gave the Rebs a chance to win, but the offense could not capitalize enough against a rugged Tide squad. Read about it inside.

The Rebels lost to Alabama 23-10 in Tuscaloosa Saturday night and nobody was looking for moral victories.

A loss is a loss.

But if you were inclined to look for a silver lining - something to hang your hat on for future games, the Rebel defense came to play.

Despite terrible field position most of the night, the Rebs held Alabama to just 319 yards on 59 plays and limited the best running back tandem in the country - Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson - to just 105 yards between them.

"We were way more physical tonight. I thought we were able to get Alabama into some third-and-long situations and put some pressure on their quarterback more than we have at any time this year," said Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix. "The 85-yard screen play to Richardson was a back breaker, but the other 59 minutes and 45 seconds, I thought we played the way I have felt all along we were capable of playing.

Rebel 'D' stood tall

"Put it this way, we continue to improve and tonight was a good sign. We could have done more, sure, but in this environment, against those backs, I liked the way we flew around and gave our bodies up. We hit hard tonight and played faster."

Nix said the Rebs broke down on the screen by missing a tackle and taking poor angles.

"I'll have to look at it on film, but once Richardson made one guy miss, we didn't pursue well on that play," he noted.

The Rebels inserted DT LaMark Armour at defensive end to give themselves more beef up front in an effort to slow down the Tide run game.

"That worked pretty well. We knew we had to contain Ingram and Richardson to have a chance and we did that for the most part," he said. "LaMark was a part of that equation because he was physical at DE and gave us a more physical presence.

"I also thought our linebackers played very well for the most part. They were very active. And D.T. Shackelford, who we consider one of our better players, had a very good night at DE and MLB. He makes plays."

Nix was also happier with the secondary play.

"CB Jeremy McGee, S Damien Jackson and SS Johnny Brown were very active tonight. They stood out. They made plays. I liked how physical they were and how they were flying around," he noted. "Jeremy made several nice plays in the open field and Johnny and Damien both brought the hat."

Allen Walker

Tyrone believes the Rebels can build off this game.

"We hate losing. We don't accept it. We don't consider this any kind of moral victory or anything along that line of thinking, but I do believe we can draw off this game, correct off this game, build off this game," he stated. "We were more physical and continue to get a little more physical each week.

"I did not think we had been violent enough until maybe the Fresno State game, but we have gotten a little more physical each week since then. We didn't create a lot of turnovers, but we threw our bodies around. I think Alabama knows they were in a tough game. What we have to do next is get more guys playing relentlessly and guard against the big plays a little more. We are going back to work Tuesday and we'll keep moving forward."

On offense, the Rebs didn't fare as well, obviously, gaining only 243 yards on the night.

"We had terrible field position in the first half - give their punter credit and their punt returner credit. The combination of those two kept us penned down," said Co-Offensive Coordinator David Rader. "We could not get into a rhythm. We could not get any momemtum in the first half.

"We got a few things going in the second half, but when the onside kick was taken away from us for whatever reason, we never could get the momentum back."

Rader said it was also disappointing when the Rebs would have second-and-short and end up with third-and-long, which happened three times in the first half.

"We have such a young OL right now and there were times we just did not execute when we needed to, but one thing I was not disappointed in was how hard they fought. Those young kids are going to be real good, but they were going against one of the best defensive lines in the country tonight and had moments where they got whacked around," he explained. "If they will keep battling though, their day will come - maybe sooner rather than later."

The Rebels also had several dropped passes and too many penalties.

"We can go across the board where someone had a momentum-killing mistake tonight, but I cannot and will not fault our effort. I can fault our execution, but not our want-to," he added. "I sure would have liked to have played our best on our side of the ball because our defense played a terrific game, and I hope that is not lost on anyone.

"We played a disruptive defense tonight and didn't take care of our business the way I would hope. We had some opportunities but could not seem to come up with that big catch or big play when it was there to be made."

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