McCray: 'We Are Upbeat'

Ole Miss Left Tackle Emmanuel McCray made no bones about it when he met with the media Monday - the Rebels would not let one loss, as humbling as it was, get them down for long. Read about it inside.

Obviously, the Ole Miss Rebels did not like being taken to the woodshed by the Texas Longhorns Saturday night, but there seems to be a strong sentiment on the team to learn from it, put it behind them and move forward with a positive attitude.

At least that is the way Left Tackle Emmanuel McCray sees the situation as it unfolds this week heading into the game with Tulane in New Orleans Saturday morning at 11.

"We are still upbeat. We are not going to let one game determine our season," said McCray. "We are staying positive about the situation and Tulane is our focus right now."

Coach Hugh Freeze stated in his press conference the Rebels appeared to be a little "too loose" on Friday night before the Texas game. McCray's response?

"We wanted to be loose - you don't want to be tight, which could alter the game, but we may have gotten a little too confident," said McCray. "I think we will have a more focused approach the rest of the season.

"It wasn't out of hand or anything, but there might have been a little too much laughing. We may not have been as zoned in as we should have been."

The Longhorns were able to sack QB Bo Wallace five times in the first half, but in the second half Bo had more time to operate.

"We just calmed down. We slowed things down and got back to our fundamentals. I think we had a coverage sack or two and then we just got beaten a couple of times," he explained. "Texas is good, and we were emotional, but once we got zoned in and played with good fundamentals, we were fine."

Emmanuel McCray
File Photo

McCray said the Texas game taught them some lessons they needed to learn.

"Now that we have faced a team of their caliber, we know what we have to do to prepare and how to approach things," he noted. "We will play several SEC teams who are like Texas, which is different from playing teams like our first two.

"We know what it takes now and I guess it took that kind of game to teach us. We were ready for the game, we prepared for the game, but when you are playing teams like them, you have to be totally intense and zoned in. We weren't acting like buffoons or anything like that, but we may not have gained the edge you need."

McCray isn't going to allow a lopsided loss to alter his opinion of his team.

"I think we are a pretty good team. We didn't show it Saturday night for four quarters, but we had moments when we looked pretty good," Emmanuel continued. "When we are all on the same page and focused, we are good.

"What we have to do is make that a four quarter thing. When we do, we will be OK."

The Tulane game is an important one, for obvious reasons.

"We need to be 3-1 going into SEC play - period," noted McCray. "We are still a confident team, but we know we did not play to the best of our ability on both sides of the ball.

"We need to take care of business Saturday and play a four-quarter game to set a standard for our SEC games. We have the heart - we fought for 60 minutes against Texas, we just didn't play well. Now, we have to take it to the next level and play good football, with heart, for four quarters."

Sunday was a good day, according to Emmanuel.

"Coach (Matt) Luke told us it was one of the best Sunday practices he had ever been around," he closed. "It was good. We tried to get better. We worked fundamentals really hard, which you can never work too hard.

"We came out with a positive attitude and, like Coach Freeze told us, we can't let Texas beat us twice. We have to be ready to bring it."

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