From the Locker Room

Ole Miss did away with Fresno State in blowout fashion Saturday afternoon. Rebel head coach Hugh Freeze and select players met the media to discuss afterwards.

Hugh Freeze:

Opening statement: “We started off well, then we kind of lost the edge. Some of the fault in that is mine. I was really please after halftime because Fresno State could have really come out and made it a game with a 35-14 score. Our defense had blown a couple of assignments and didn’t really tackle well the last couple of possessions. I challenged them after halftime to set the tone early in the second half and they came out and did that. They set it with a three-and-out fumbled punt, then created a turnover. I was really proud of how they took care of that. There is a lot to improve on. We can’t have the penalties or turnovers that we had today and be elite. We certainly are doing some good things as well. It’s easy to coach and critique. That’s not always the fun part, but it is part of it. You always have the urgency to improve your team. I didn’t think we were extremely focused in our preparation Friday or this morning. We need to continue to work at increasing that.” On Chad Kelly being the starting quarterback: “He started today, didn’t he? Chad’s the starter. I said yesterday to the ESPN crew that the job is his to lose. Chad has certainly done nothing to put himself out of the job, so he is the starter. I expect that to continue. I still like Ryan Buchanan and Devante Kincade, also.” On being prepared for SEC play: “I saw the first quarter and thought we looked sharp, and we looked good. I probably killed some of the momentum. I felt like the game was maybe getting away a little bit. Are we ready for SEC play? I don’t know. It’s hard to tell. We have to line up better defensively and get in the right spot. We need to get our eyes in the right spot. We’ve had some lapses in that. We didn’t take care of the ball particularly well today. Chad did. I’m really proud of Chad after today. We looked a little soft at times today. I can’t answer if we’re ready or not, but we’re really excited about finding out next weekend.” On Chad Kelly and offensive tempo: “Chad likes to stay on schedule. That’s what I always meant for us to do last year, but we didn’t do that. You could argue that the tempo was really good for most of the year. We enjoy moving the ball fast. Chad does it well. All of our kids enjoy it and it was very efficient early on. I don’t have a drive chart in front of me, but our first five or six drives were great and we looked like we were in pretty good shape.”

QB Chad Kelly:

On today’s game: “I thought we did well, there were some things that I thought we could of done better. I could have had better moves on the field. I think we definitely did well. Anytime you score 70 points is a great day. The defense did a great job and the offensive line did a tremendous job, as well.” On the offense: “I think we’re doing well. We just have to make sure we’re hitting on all cylinders every play of the game and that we don’t take anything for granted.” On what he would like to do differently against Alabama: “I don’t think there’s anything different, I just need to keep working to make sure I’m making the right move on every single play, because one play can decide the whole game.”

WR Quincy Adeboyejo:

On playmakers on offense: "We've got a lot of playmakers. Whenever our numbers are called, we do what we gotta do to make a play.” On Chad Kelly's deep ball: "His deep balls are really good. From anybody I've ever thrown with, he has one of the best deep balls I've ever encountered. He just puts some touch on it, and he hits those guys in stride.” On expecting that deep ball threat from their quarterback: "We got there and if three's a deep play called, we know to run as fast as we can and Chad's going to hit us. Whether it's 50 yards, 60 yards. He's shown he can get the ball to us. That's really good.” On his own success this year: "Nothing but God."

DB Trae Elston:

On the defensive performance as compared to last week: "I really don't think it was (better). The score says we gave up touchdowns. We don't want no points on the board. If it would have stayed at 7, we would have been satisfied. But we're not satisfied.” On going on the road as a defense for the first time this year: "I think we're prepared. We've just to keep executing what we're doing and everybody keep communicating. I think we'll be alright.” On the entire defensive performance today: "I think the second half we performed very good, especially with the turnovers. A lot of people created turnovers, which is good. That's what we need.” On his touchdown run after an interception: "It was just a gift, and I was blessed to have the opportunity to get into the end zone.”

LB C.J. Johnson:

On how it felt to be back out there (missed first game due to suspension): “It felt good, man, just to be back out there with team doing my part. Felt great. First game action at MLB. Feel natural? “Oh, yeah. After the first series I was a little nervous, a little bit because they go fast and just making sure I was going to be able to get everybody lined up. That’s something I really tried to make an emphasis on. Early in the first half, they were flipping the tight end a lot and we weren’t resetting the front. Later on we got it fixed. I felt like I played pretty comfortable. On where the defense sits heading into Alabama: “We’re ready. We’re going to be ready, we’re going to prepare tomorrow when we come in, make the corrections. Starting tomorrow is when we start prepping for them. It’s going to be a knockdown in T-town. Can’t wait.” Corrections the defense needs to make? “We gave up a lot of big plays on defense. That’s something we pride ourselves on here on defense. We think if we don’t give up big plays, we don’t think there’s anybody that can beat us. That was something that we need to work on going into next week.”

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