The following are Coach Ed Orgeron's postgame comments after the Rebels lost 31-23 at Vanderbilt Saturday.
Orgeron: "It was a disappointing loss for us, obviously. Anytime you give up 523 yards and all those points, it's hard to win a football game. I was really disappointed with the way we came out and played defense in the first half. Their quarterback on third down was hot, and we couldn't get to him. He was making the right throws. But we came in in the second half and made some adjustments. I thought at times we were stopping him, but he was hard to stop. Offensively, we tried to get things going. At the end, we made a couple of big plays, but we're still not consistent enough to come back and beat a team who's going to score 31 points on us. I thought special teams, the kickoff returns, and the punt return for a touchdown were really good. But then we went in and missed the extra point. Give them (Vandy) credit. They played well. But I'm really disappointed in the penalties, the discipline in the program. We're going to get that fixed. We did not come out to play the way I expected us to play in the first half."
Q: What's the condition of Micheal Spurlock?
Orgeron: "I don't know that yet."
Q: It had to be a scary moment for you.
Orgeron: "At that moment everything was scary. But I hope he's good. Losing Patrick (Willis) hurt us in the first half. He's the leader of our defense, but I don't know if he's hurt that bad."
Q: With Vandy going 3-0, do you think that's a fluke or a statement?
Orgeron: "I think they're a good team. Their quarterback is an excellent player, and they're a well-coached football team."
Q: How tough a matchup is he?
Orgeron: "We couldn't get to him. We couldn't pressure him. We tried the pressures that we had to beat the protections, but they were picking it up. It was giving them just enough time for the routes to come open. In the second half, we played more of a zone coverage, and we kind of stopped them. We got a couple of sacks, but he's a good player and I don't know if you're going to totally stop them."
Q: In practice the defense focused on stopping the run, but they were able to run at key times.
Orgeron: "I was really disappointed. I don't know. I haven't looked at the film yet, but we did not play well. We did not play well on defense. We missed tackes; we missed assignments. They ran the ball when they had to, and we had some good run defenses called, and they were still running the ball. We missed some tackles and we missed some holes. We missed Patrick in the middle."
Q: Were you satisfied with your running game?
Orgeron: "We had 124 yards rushing. That's not where where it needs to be, but we had 400 yards in total offense. We made some improvement, but we've still got a long way to go."
Q: Talk about the special teams.
Orgeron: I was disappointed. I think we can kick better than that. We went out there and decided to go with Will. He did a pretty good job."
Q: Was there any thought of going to Matt (Hinkle) after Will missed the field goal, or were you settled on him?
Orgeron: "Chris (Rippon) was set on him. Matt did not have a very good pre-game. (Rippon) made the decision, and he told me he thought Will (Moseley) was ready to do it all."
Q: Talk about not having two of your best players.
Orgeron: "It hurt us, but that's going to happen. We have to develop depth, and we have to be ready to go. There's no excuse for that. Obviously we missed Patrick (Willis) in the middle, but Robert (Russell) stepped in and did a pretty good job. I was just really disappointed with our weakness on the deep ball at the end."
Q: When you look at this loss, was it just one or two things that happened?
Orgeron: "No. It was an overall team effort. They came out there and moved the ball pretty good. I thought we did well on first and second down, but on third down we just couldn't stop them. That hurt us. It was an overall team effort."
Q: Was not playing Jamal Pittman by design, or was it a feel as the game went on?
Orgeron: "It was by design. We needed to get a running back that was quicker in there and see what they could do."
Q: Was there anything you saw in the second half that you really liked?
Orgeron: "Our team competed. At one point we were down by a good bit, and we came back and we held them. We gave ourselves a chance, and it really came down to the last couple plays to win, and we weren't playing very well. I like that part."
Q: Was the message to Robert ‘Throw it away if you don't have it'?
Orgeron: "There's no doubt he should have thrown it away. You never want to take a sack there. But we're still not where we need to be in protection. Guys were coming after us. Micheal was running around all day because we had breakdowns in protection.
Q: When Vandy was down there on its last drive, did you think it might be the best shot for your team to win to let them score quickly?
Orgeron: "I will never do that. I will never let anybody score. Too many things can happen. We could have caused a fumble and returned it for a touchdown."
Q: What was it that Vandy was doing on third down in the first half:
Orgeron: "They were protecting. They were spreading us out, and we had some zone blitz packages, and they were just picking it up. When their receivers get a lot of time, they're going to get open. And their quarterback was throwing it. He's a very good quarterback."
Coach O postgame
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