From the Locker Room

The following are quotes from some of the key Rebel players, plus Memphis TB DeAngelo Williams, after the 10-6 win over Memphis in Liberty Bowl Stadium yesterday.

QB MICHEAL SPURLOCK: (On the game) It's a good start, but we would have preferred not to have this kind of barn burner in the opener. We worked since last January for this and came out on top. We'll take it. (On when he learned he was going to start) Coach Mazzone came up to me right before kickoff and said 'you ready? Here's the first play,' and that was that. (On his play) I thought I did OK, everything considered. We'll look at the films on Wednesday and will probably be shaking our heads on the plays that were there to be made that we didn't make, but we've got an open week to correct them and get ready for Vanderbilt. (On his TD run on 4th down) We didn't draw it up that way, but sometimes you just have to go make a play when things break down. (On making a successful comeback after last year) It is very gratifying. My family and teammates were always behind me and I prayed a lot about this day. I appreciate everyone who supported me. (On the intensity the Rebels displayed) That's what Coach O expects and demands. We started slowly emotionally, but I think we really got into it as the game progressed. (On the past) I don't remember it. I'm like a newborn - just having fun playing a game I love. (On going to Mario Hill so much) We're like brothers, all those receivers. We came in together and they always stuck by me. Today was Mario's day - next week it might be Mike Espy or Taye Biddle or someone else, but today Mario came up big. (On the defense) The defense is the backbone of our team and at the end, they showed it. They won the game for us and didn't get down when Memphis was making a desperation last-second drive. (On the results) First of all, we will take the win, but we know we have to improve weekly. This was a good start and a win, but it's over and we have to take this good start and build off it. (On his TD run) It felt great. I rolled left and saw everything opening up on the right. I knew I had enough speed to make it happen so I committed to it and took off. I got a great block from TE Lawrence Lilly to spring it. (On his mindset) I just tried to be patient and let the game come to me. Having fun was also on my mind. I didn't feel any tension out there today and that was one thing I prayed for. (On the run out of the end zone to give the Rebs some breathing room late in the game) It was like the TD run - the play broke down, but I saw an opening and went for it. I have been given enough speed to make things happen and I plan on using that gift. (On plays to be made that missed) When we watch the film of this game, we are going to be sick at the missed opportunities, I'm sure, but that's OK for now. We won and we can build on that. We will throw a lot of balls in the open week and work on our timing more. We'll get it down. (On dealing with the tragedy on the Coast) It's been tough because we had several players affected by Katrina and we've pulled together to help them. We told them to use this game as a way of getting some normalcy back in their lives and try to have fun just today before they have to deal with that again. We think they got a little piece of mind just for today and we can go from there.

NT MICHAEL BOZEMAN: (On Memphis QB Patrick Byrne's broken leg) It was bad. I hate that for any player. As is said 'but for the Grace of God, there go I.' I hope he rebounds from it quickly. (On the physicality of the game) We had to make it physical. At first it was sluggish, but we turned it up as the game progressed and forced most of the action. That's what we needed against their offense. (On the game results) This was bigger than just one win. We have a new coach, a new system and we are coming off a poor year. We are trying to put Ole Miss back on the map, so this was huge for us mentally. (On slowing down Memphis TB DeAngelo Williams) We are proud of that because he's a tremendous player. We had to focus hard on him, but the coaches put us in positions to make plays. (On DT Jeremy Garrett, who got his first start next to Boze) He's like a little brother to me and he played very well today. I'm very proud of him. (On the defense causing a couple of turnovers) They were big. It stopped two pretty good drives they had going when we needed them the most, but that's what our coaches teach - get the ball. And we did when we needed it the most. (On Spurlock redeeming himself) I'm glad Micheal got a chance to show what he can really do after last year. He showed me a lot today because he never lost his focus and played to the end. We all made mistakes, but the really good players don't let them affect you. When it's over, it's over, you line up and go again. That's what Mike did today and it paid off. Look, we know what he can do. We see it every day in practice - his arm is strong and he's the fastest QB we'll face all year. Nobody we will face will be as fast as Micheal at QB.

WR MARIO HILL: (On his 8-catch day) The trainers did a great job of getting me ready and I felt good out there today. (On Spurlock's play) Poise, confidence and having fun is the difference. Last year, there was too much pressure for anyone to endure. This year, we've all been telling him to take it one play at a time and have fun. He did that today, and he will only get better.

CB TRUMAINE MCBRIDE: (On the secondary) We came prepared as a defense and a secondary. It felt good to be that tuned in to what the opposition was doing. (On his interception) We practiced a lot on Memphis' routes and studied a lot of film. I kind of knew what was coming when the receiver ran his route. I just watched the QB and jumped the route, like I'm taught to.

OT TRE' STALLINGS: (On the game) I'm really glad to get the win, first and foremost, but the offensive line has a lot of work to do. Memphis threw in some stuff we hadn't seen and it took us a long time to adjust. We have some young guys who haven't played much, so we expected that. We will get some things corrected and the younger guys will learn how to adjust on the run - it just takes a little time, but as long as we continue to work hard in practice, we will get it done. (On the running game) With the scheme Memphis has, with so many people in the box, we had trouble. You can only block so many, but you have to try to establish something there so you don't become one-dimensional. Where we were decent was on the edges with Mico McSwain. The only thing I was disappointed in was that late in the game we should have put it away by putting the game on our shoulders and running out the clock, but we did not get that done. (On the overall results) A decent start, but we are nowhere near a finished product. The good thing is that we enter an open week with a win under our belts and that always makes working for the next one better.

SLB GARRY PACK: (On his game-saving interception) I had the number two receiver in a zone and I knew he had to come to me becuse the number one guy ran an out. I just backed up in my zone and waited on the ball. My adrenaline was pumping, for sure. I think my vertical on that catch was pretty high. (On his debut) Everything went pretty good for me and the defense. Before the game, I thought about how hard I had worked to get to this point and it relaxed me because I knew I was prepared for this moment. (On playing next to MLB Patrick Willis) P-Willie is kind of like everyone's crutch. We know he's got our backs and it makes you relax and play your game. He's a man out there.

SS JAMARCA SANFORD: (On his first start) I was nervous early on, but after a couple of snaps I realized it's just football, just like practice. Just play and have fun. (On the secondary) We did a pretty good job, I think. There are things we have to work on, but overall, I think Coach (Chris) Rippon will be pleased. Our system is pretty simple, so that helped. When you are deep, you're deep. When you are up, you're up. No in betweens or excessive thinking. We like that. We just do what we are told to do and it works if you execute. (On T-Mac's pick) That was huge - a momentum shift that led to our only TD. T-Mac played it perfectly. (On Memphis' last drive) I had a feeling we were going to get that pick, but I didn't know who was going to get it. Pack made a great play.

WLB KELVIN ROBINSON: (On the Rebs' tackling) In the first half, we didn't tackle that well, but in the second half, we eliminated all that. Everybody wrapped up and we did better. (On Memphis' last drive) I was calm and making sure I did my job and everyone else did theirs. I never thought about them scoring, not once. I guess that's experience. (On his first game as a LB) I hurt my shoulder early on and couldn't wrap up like I'm supposed to, but I got some pain medicine at half and when I came back out I felt good and made some plays. My first game at LB was tough, but I enjoyed it and think I did OK. (On slowing down DeAngelo) To tell you the truth, we knew what they had to do - get the ball to DeAngelo, so we were ready for him. Honestly, our practices are harder than this game was, but that's what Coach O has been telling us all along.

MLB PATRICK WILLIS: (On his 15-tackle effort) I just did everything I could to help my team win. We were focused on DeAngelo so much and they fed him the ball a lot, but we were able to contain him. The plays were there to be made and I made most of them that came my way. (On the defense) I'm loving what we are doing on the defensive side of the ball. We are aggressive, but we are playing good fundamental football with sound principles. It showed today.

MEMPHIS TB DEANGELO WILLIAMS: (On the outcome) It was a heartbreaker for us. We played hard, but we came out on the short end. It was tough when Pat (Byrne) went out, but I thought Will (Hudgens) played very well. We kept on fighting, but it didn't go our way. (On the Rebel defense) They were coming from everywhere after me, but I expected that. That's what I came back for - to see if I can perform when I know everyone is gunning for me. Ole Miss did a great job and met our challenge. I give them a lot of credit.

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