From the Locker Room

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze, defensive back Trae Elston and quarterback Chad Kelly met the media following the Rebels' 37-24 loss to Memphis on Saturday.


Hugh Freeze:


Opening statement: “Congrats to Justin (Fuente) and his squad. He’s done a really good job here, and they deserved to win today. On our end, very disappointing. I’ve been on the other side of couple of these wins like that. I know what that feels like. It’s crushing to be on the other side. We did no play particularly well. Congrats to them. I don’t want to take anything away from Patrick Lynch; he’s one of the best quarterbacks I’ve seen in my time here. He can make every throw, and he’s very poised. It was very disappointing the way we played, and it starts with me. I have to take responsibility for us, for all facets of it. We were about as bad as you can get on third down, getting off the field, at times converting those third downs. It’s a bad day, and I’m disappointed and hurt for the Ole Miss people more than words can really say because I understand it. I know how they feel about their program. They deserve better today, for sure.” “I wish I had all the adjectives. It was as bad as I’ve ever seen.” On the fourth-down attempt in Ole Miss territory: “That wasn’t a good decision. You’ve got about a half a foot, thinking we really need to change momentum and get these points. Obviously it was not a good decision. The one going in, I felt good about that one. Felt good about the call, they made a great play on him.” On Robert Nkemdiche getting hurt playing offense: “You’re danged if you do, danged if you don’t. Its third-and-1, and he just got tackled on his head. That can happen any play. I don’t think you can operate out of fear of getting someone injured, if it helps your football team.” More on the loss: “There’s something missing, for sure, and that’s my responsibility. I thought we had a really good week of preparation. Take nothing away from Memphis, they’re a good football team. I don’t want anything to sound like I’m not saying that. But we’re obviously not locked in totally.” On team leadership: “I couldn’t answer that. We’re going to be tested now. We’ll find out, for sure, in the weeks to come.” On what’s changed since Alabama: “I don’t know. Injuries have hurt, obviously, but that’s not why we didn’t play well today. I’ve got to coach them better, and we’ve got to have leadership in the locker room and we’ve got to do something to convert and get off the field on third downs.” On injuries: “Nkemdiche had a concussion, and he’ll go through that protocol. (Robert) Conyers had a knee. I’m not sure the extent of it, but it didn’t look good to the doctors. I’m not saying until I hear. (Mike) Hilton got hurt. I haven’t heard about that one either.”

DB Trae Elston:


On the loss: “I think Memphis came out to play, out-physicaled us. They play harder than us. They wanted to win better than us. We’ve just got to check ourselves. A lot of people on our team, we don’t have our heart into it. That’s what we need to do.” On losing Robert Nkemdiche to a concussion: “It affected us, but I thought Breeland Speaks played a good game. I think he stepped up in that position. We’ve just got to check a couple of players on our team.” On what’s gone wrong with the team: “I don’t know, man, it’s just been ever since the Alabama game. I don’t know. I really can’t explain.” On the leadership of the team: “We have leadership, we’ve just got to get that chemistry. We always preach chemistry, chemistry. This isn’t last year’s team. Last year’s team, we came in as freshmen all three years together. This is a brand new squad. This is the first year for our linebackers playing, first-year corners playing. It’s kind of hard to get that chemistry with them.” On where the team goes from here: “It hurts, but the season’s not over with. We’ve just got to keep playing.”

QB Chad Kelly:


On the loss: “We’ve just got to get better, first of all. Gotta give all the credit to Memphis. They did a great job. They played hard, played tot he whistle. We knew what they were doing. We’ve just got to come back and get better. Right now is really where we all have to come together and realize if we want a good season, we’ve got to change it around right now. We’re still in control of the SEC, we’ve just got to make sure we win out.” On how to turn things around: “I think we just have to stay focused, execute and negative plays hurt. When you complete a third down, a third-and-20, the next thing you know there’s a penalty. It’s hard to put yourself behind the sticks and get the first down. We’ve just got to stop shooting ourselves in the foot. It’s all correctable.” On the inability to execute on short-yardage situations: “It’s a mentality thing. That’s all it is. Mano y mano. Whoever wants it more, really. That’s what it all comes down to. You have to make sure you get a good push. But it’s all right. We’ll come back and get it together. I know none of the guys in there will give up. We’re going to keep on fighting. Give all the credit to Memphis. They’re a good team.” On going for it on fourth down in Ole Miss territory: “No, I wanted to go for it, too. It’s up to the coaches what they want to call. You’ve got to execute.”


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