Coordinators left shaking their heads

John Latina couldn't believe his offense didn't score at least 50 points with the opportunities it had. Chuck Driesbach couldn't fathom the first-half letdown of his defense. Combined, it left the Rebs with another loss and another week of scrambling to try and figure out some remedies for the Rebs' ailments.

Ole Miss Offensive Coordinator John Latina entered the indoor practice facility off the visitor's dressing room where the small gathering of media waited to interview him after Wyoming had shocked the Rebs 37-32 in Laramie Saturday.

He looked as if he had lost his best friend, his dog had jumped out of his pickup truck, he had seen a ghost and had eaten some bad food - all rolled into one.

He wasn't given much time to gather his thoughts when the first question was fired his way. Have you ever been involved in a game where your offense rolled up 567 yards and lost?

"That was the story of the game," said Latina. "We did not finish drives and ended up with too many field goals. We had enough offense to score 50-plus points and put the game on our shoulders. We moved the ball up and down the field all day and simply did not get the job done in the Red Zone. Thirty-two points is not enough when you move the ball like we did."

Latina's side of the ball was also victimized by a rash of penalties. The Rebs had 14 in all and were penalized a total of 97 yards. Ole Miss did not overcome many of the flags, or non-calls.

"The penalties were very disappointing and disturbing to us," he continued. "That is very uncharacteristic of our team and will get you beat. Penalties are all about discipline, which we showed very little of today. We have to improve on that quickly."

The Rebels, despite being 1-2 heading into the game with the Cowboys, had been pretty good in taking care of the ball. Five turnovers against Wyoming was another thorn in their side.

"Nothing is more important than taking care of the ball. We'd rather punt than turn it over - live to fight another series," he explained. "Instead, we turned the ball over five times today and only one of them, that I can recall, was because of a truly great play by Wyoming."

After starting QB Ethan Flatt committed his fifth turnover of the contest - four interceptions and a fumble - the coaches opted to go with backup Micheal Spurlock in a last-ditch effort to win the game.

"We discussed taking Ethan out sooner and going with Micheal, but we felt Ethan would work his way out of the situation based on what he had done the week before against Vanderbilt," Latina noted. "He didn't seem to be nervous or off his game too much, but some of his decision-making was suspect at crucial times."

If there was a silver lining in the Rebs' performance, it was a 221-yard rushing day, but even that did not please Lats.

"We ran the ball hard and had some yardage after initial contact, which is good to see. We got better running the football today, but we weren't good enough," he ended. "Wyoming stuffed us some too, so we still have work to do in that area.

"I give Wyoming credit for their performance today, but we certainly didn't get the job done. The total yardage does not reflect how we played - the lack of scoring does."

Driesbach called the game a "tale of two halves."

"In the first half, we struggled. Wyoming showed excellent imagination with their sets and we appeared to be just trying to keep our fingers in the gaps until we could get to halftime and make some adjustments," he explained. "In the second half, other than the halfback pass they hit for a TD, I thought we were in control defensively."

Statistically, Chuck was correct. Wyoming had 225 yards and 20 points at halftime. They gained 172 yards in the second half and only scored 10 points offensively, seven on the halfback pass he mentioned.

"The halfback pass was just a great play on their part," he noted. "Our free safety, Eric Oliver, played it perfectly, but he got outrun at the end of the route and the halfback threw a perfect pass on the run. Sometimes there isn't much you can do about great plays by the opposing team. In my mind, that was one of those times."

In the first half, Wyoming's inside runs gave the Rebs trouble.

"The lead play they were running was tough to defend. They were pulling a guard and had a tight end in motion and were creating an overload situation," he explained. "We would get it fixed on one side and they'd run it on the other side. It was a difficult play for us, but I thought we slowed it down in the second half."

Early on, it looked as if Wyoming's receivers were going to have a field day, but in the end the Cowboys only passed for 239 yards and were under 50% in their completions.

"In the second half, we got off our heels and played like we should always play, but in the first half, we were a bit tentative," Chuck stated. "Mountain West teams like wide open football. We knew that coming in and anticipated a high-scoring game, but after halftime we did a decent enough job other than the halfback pass."

Penalties also hurt the Rebel defense. On the opening Wyoming drive, which kind of set the tone for the game, an 80-yard Cowboy scoring march that was aided by 40 yards worth of penalties against the Rebs.

"We played poorly and showed a lock of discipline with our penalties. That's not focusing. If our guys won't focus and do the necessary things, we will find different guys to put in there who will," he said. "We've got to go back to work. We got beat today by a good team that executed. We were not a good team today and we did not execute the way we should have."

Driesbach would not say it, but the Rebel defense was playing without DT Daniel Booth, DT Chris Herring, LB Patrick Willis, CB Travis Johnson and with a couple of players who were still hobbling.

"That made it more difficult, but does not apply in why we lost," he closed.

Back to the drawing board. Arkansas State and then the meat of the schedule awaits.

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