Nutt: 'I am encouraged about our team'

Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt is never pleased with losing. As a matter of fact, few coaches seem as joyous about a win as Nutt.

His team left Alabama Saturday with a 23-10 loss to the Crimson Tide on its ledger, falling to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in SEC play. But Nutt found some positives in an otherwise losing evening.

Ole Miss trailed 16-3 at halftime and had proverbially shot itself in the foot on several occasions, especially with penalties.

"I thought our guys played hard in the first half despite some poor field position and us getting some penalties we shouldn't have gotten," Nutt said. "We were the least penalized team in the SEC coming into tonight, but that didn't hold tonight. You can't help a good team like Alabama with penalties."

Many of them were of the major brand, too. The Rebels' totals for the contest were 12 of them for 106 yards.

But Nutt loved his team's effort in a hostile environment of more than 101,000 mostly Bama fans.

"I was proud of how hard our guys fought," he said. "Our defense came to play. We have to do a better job catching the ball - we had some opportunities there. And then the penalties - we have to do a better job there."

Here's more of what nutt had to say after the game:

On the Ole Miss offensive line:

"For two true freshmen and who they were going against, I was very proud. Those guys are going to be special one day. Put 18-year olds in this environment? Not bad. Not bad at all. They fought and they were into it. To me, they fought hard and that's what it is all about."

Houston Nutt

On the Rebel defense:

"We had excellent pursuit and swarming of the ball. We talked all week about gang-tackling and we did that tonight. Ingram and Richardson require gang tackling and chasing the ball. Besides the screen for a TD, they played good all game long."

On the onsides kick after cutting the gap to 23-10:

"I thought it was perfect. I was standing on the line and I thought we executed it perfectly, but they called us offsides."

On quarterback Jeremiah Masoli:

"Penn State scored six, Florida scored three. This is a tough environment. As the game progressed, he did a nice job. We needed everyone to be perfect with us to win the game. With a young offensive line, you have to make every catch and do things to help those guys out and we didn't do that consistently. We didn't help Jeremiah. He threw some balls that should have been caught, but weren't. We got them a couple of times with no-huddle, but we didn't get it done often enough."

On his own mood halfway through the season:

"I am encouraged about our team. They laid their heart out there and that is what I asked them to do. They fought hard for 60 minutes. I would have liked to have seen what would have happened if we had gotten that onsides kick, because we had the momentum. The place got quiet for about five minutes there. I felt like if something had happened there, this would have been a real tight game to the wire. I am encouraged about our defense. They played the way they are supposed to play."

On wide receiver Melvin Harris:

"I expected him to make a couple of more catches, but he had the touchdown catch and got in the end zone and he's our go-to-guy right now. We have to get Jesse Grandy more involved and a couple of others, but we will get there and Melvin will be a big part of it."

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