Effort Better, Execution Lacking

The Ole Miss coordinators were pleased with the effort the Rebels gave in the 27-13 loss to Georgia Saturday, but the performance left something to be desired - still.

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Ole Miss Offensive Coordinator David Lee knew the verdict before the jury came back.

"You're not going to win when all you can muster is 183 yards of total offense," he said. "We have to do better on that, but I did think there was improvement in one area.

"Our guys fought. We fought much harder this week than we did last week at Vanderbilt. If we'll keep fighting, we'll win ball games this year, and that's what I told each one of them individually in the locker room after the game."

Lee believes the Rebs just need a spark and some confidence, something it appeared they had on the Rebs' first possession when Jeff Scott broke a long touchdown run that was called back due to a holding call.

"At this point, you just worry about your players saying 'oh,boy, here we go again' when things like that happen," Lee stated. "That's what we cannot allow to set in on this team.

"Right now, attitude is everything. Keep fighting and good things will happen, but we need that spark that a play like that could have given us."

Lee thought the offensive line was a little better against Georgia.

"They did some things better. A.J. Hawkins at center was better and it looks like Aaron Morris is going to stay at left guard for a long time unless we move him to left tackle next year with the good feet and talent he has," Lee stated. "We did some things better, but we are not good enough to overcome mistakes like we are making.

"It would be nice to get up on someone 7-0 and gain some confidence and momentum, but we didn't find that formula today."

David assessed his quarterback play. Zack Stoudt was 9-23 with one pick for 71 yards while Randall Mackey was 3-7 with one pick for 78 yards and the lone TD the Reb offense scored.

Randall Mackey
Bruce Newman

"Zack came out on fire. He had an excellent warmup and I thought he was going to have a big game, but as the game wore on, he seemed to get discouraged and failed to throw the ball accurately on several occasions," David added. "Mackey came in and gave us a spark, but then he threw a pick and we got behind the eight ball and had to go to the two-minute offense. Stoudt has been our best two-minute guy in practice.

"I'm still going by feel with them. What we wanted to do with Randall was run some option and do some things we did against SIU, but our down and distance seemed bad a lot and we didn't get to run what we wanted to with him. We felt coming into the game we were going to have to throw some on first down to keep them off balance, but sometimes that meant we were facing second or third and long.

"We couldn't consistently get a 2nd-and-6 so we could dictate to them. We seemed to be 2nd-and-10 or more a lot, which are not good downs for any offense. We never got to that part of the offense we planned to use."

The Rebs got receivers behind the defense a couple of times, but Nick Brassell was overthrown each time.

"Zack underthrew the deep ball all week in practice but today he overthrew Nick. Nick is fast, effective, a playmaker, but we couldn't get him the ball. That's on us as quarterbacks - you have to hit the deep balls when they are there and they were there a couple of times today," Lee ended.

Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix was very pleased with the heart the Rebel defense displayed.

"They fought their hearts out, especially the second half. There were several opportunities when they could have laid down, but they showed character and didn't do that," Nix said. "We are going in the right direction.

"One indicator of that is we only gave up a field goal in the second half. Ideally, you don't want to give up as much field position and yardage (475 yards) as we did, but the most important thing is to hold the scoring down and I thought we did OK there today. They have a very powerful offense and while they got too much yardage, we hung tough when it counted for most of the day."

Tyrone's group was flagged a few times, which disappointed him, but at the same time, he felt the non-calls were just as important as the calls.

"There were times I felt we were held and were not able to get off of blocks quickly enough - the film will show all that," he stated. "The bottom line though is that we have to make plays and in the end we didn't make enough.

"Their freshman running back (Isaiah Crowell) was very good. We knew he would be," stated Nix. "He got us a few times, but I thought some of our freshmen held up to the challenge, like Nick Brassell and Serderius Bryant. We feel like our young kids are getting better each week. C.J. Johnson didn't flash like he did last week as much, but he did some good things too."

Nix was impressed with Georgia QB Aaron Murray.

Ralph Williams
Bruce Newman

"He used his experience to check into some plays that only an experienced quarterback would check into. There were a couple of times they were in obvious passing downs and we sent in a dime package, he checked into a draw and got a first down off a third-and-long," Nix noted. "He was crafty."

Tyrone says the Rebel defense is not where they need to be, but they are seeing that in their sights.

"We're a helluva lot better than we were last year," he said. "We have work to do, but we are going in the right direction."

To Tyrone, it's just as much about matching the defensive performance of the opposition as it is in stopping their offense.

"We did not stop their offense as much as they stopped our offense. We did not match what their defense did. they were able to get more three-and-outs than we did. That was what I was talking about earlier by giving up too much real estate," he added. "We'll get there. That's the challenge each week and we like the challenge."

DT Bryon Bennett, in his first collegiate start, was assessed by Tyrone.

"He was not a breakdown in our defense, he flashed at times and he got some pressure. It's hard to say until I watch the film, but I liked what I saw for the most part," Nix added. "I thought Serderius stepped up and I thought Joel Kight played a good game.

"For whatever reason, Aaron Garbutt didn't seem to have it today, so we went with a true 4-3 look and as a result we played the run a little better in the second half. Damien Jackson had a good second half. We just have to keep teaching and coaching."

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