Cutcliffe: ' exciting way to win'

The following are Coach David Cutcliffe's postgame comments from Ole Miss' 31-28 win over South Carolina in Columbia.

Cutcliffe: I want to congratulate our team and staff on an outstanding job. We did what we had to do when it was called on us. I can't remember the last time we won a game on a fourth down. It is an exciting way to win. We'll learn from this. We will hopefully grow from this. But anytime you can go on the road in the Southeastern Conference against a team the caliber of South Carolina and get a win, that's quite an accomplishment. So again I want to congratulate our team and staff.

Q: Talk about the your running game today.

Cutcliffe: We established the fact that we could run the ball early. Nobody had run real well on them. But we felt like going in we were running the ball successfully, and I think early it gave us some balance that helped.

Q: Talk about the decision to play three quarterbacks.

Cutcliffe: Well I've said all along that each week is unique in itself. We felt like it would spark our team. We felt like they had earned it on the practice field. We had told them going in that we would play all three, to have their helmets on, buttoned up, and that we might play them at anytime. That will still hold true if they practice like I expect them to practice.

Q: Have you ever done anything like that before?

Cutcliffe: Never done it before. As I said, I don't know what we'll do from week to week. It may be a week by week decision.

Q: How did you decide which quarterback to use when?

Cutcliffe: Certain series, certain things we wanted to do. We didn't have a first series, second series. We thought we might shake it up that first series and change each one. It's going to be by feel and by what we're trying to get done.

Q: With your reputation as a very conservative coach, how difficult was it to make the decision to do something somewhat radical as play three and rotate them in.

Cutcliffe: When you're not playing any better than we were, not many decisions are difficult. We had to find some way to play better.

Q: Talk about how your team responded when it got behind.

Cutcliffe: I hope that's the sign of a good team. We were able to respond when they responded. It was a good football game. Both teams were able to do that when they had to. We were just fortunate we were able to wind up on top at the end of it.

Q: Were you surprised you didn't see more pressure at the end?

Cutcliffe: They gave us some pressure. I'm not going to second-guess what they do. We were just trying to execute. In that situation, I know for us, it's hard to come after people knowing if you give up one big play it can be the end of the game. And they did do some pressures.

Q: What can this do for Ethan's confidence?

Cutcliffe: I know he was smiling big afterward. I think it's big for any of these quarterbacks who are somewhat inexperienced. They all had big plays today at times. That kind of (last) drive is how you grow as a quarterback and that's when you prove your worth. He saw Bill (Flowers) and made a good decision. He had a number of options on that play. He obviously made a great decision and threw a super ball.

Q: Did your team grow up some today?

Cutcliffe: I think we did. We weren't perfect today, as you all know, by any means. We made a lot of mistakes that can cost you. We gave up big plays. We've got to find ways to avoid that. But as a football team, we grew today.

Q: How did the preparation going into this game compare to the previous weeks?

Cutcliffe: I think we have gotten better every week this year. That's a hard comparison to make. We just made some decisions. We have a base practice philosophy, and we never vary too much from that.

Q: Is today similar to the Florida situation last year when your team won at Gainesville after a 2-2 start?

Cutcliffe: They have the same elation afterward. Let's just hope we can build on it. As I said last week, we are going to take these games one at a time. Our challenge now is to go play well in the next one.

Q: Who decided which quarterback was going in and when?

Cutcliffe: I let Kurt (Roper) rotate. Based on what we wanted to do, and based on their defense, it was just feel. We're not going to just run a set number of plays when one of them was in there. It let us kind of change gears, and it is a positive thing when you can change gears on a team. A lot of it is scheme. A lot of it is feel.

Q: Talk about what each brings.

Cutcliffe: With Micheal you get speed and quickness and a threat at quarterback. With Robert you get physicalness and toughness. They all have good arms. All three of them missed deep balls today which was disappointing. We had chances for some big plays with deep balls. Just the ability to change gears and what we're doing with the players around them. We're not too far into this thing to know exactly if we're going to stick with it and if it is a formula that's going to work or not.

Q: When did you decide to play all three of them?

Cutcliffe: Based on what they had been doing, about last Monday night. I started thinking along those terms. (Tuesday) I told the staff we were going to do it and be aggressive.

Q: Talk about the difference in this game had Flowers not caught the touchdown. Your team still would have played almost the same as it did and done some good things. But they would have lost.

Cutcliffe: That's the story of football. The difference between winning and losing is huge. It's 100 percent elation if you win. It's 100 percent dejection and sadness when you lose. They are looking forward to going to practice on Monday now.

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