The following are excerpts from Coach Ed Orgeron's Monday press conference.
Orgeron's Opening Statement: We watched the film yesterday of the Vanderbilt game and will go over it with the players today before practice. We will take the positives from the game, correct the negatives and move on.
Some of the things I was impressed were TB Mico McSwain showing up as a playmaker on offense, Larry Kendrick doing some good things when he got the chance, MLB Robert Russell leading our team in tackles after Patrick Willis went down, and Mike Espy's punt return on special teams. I was really proud of that return and the scheme Chris Rippon designed to give him a wall of blockers. That was nicely done. I also felt the blocked field goal by special teams was very positive.
The things that hurt us were a bad second quarter on defense and not being able to stop them on third down. I'm the Defensive Coordinator so I will take responsibility for that. We didn't put enough pressure on Jay Cutler and when we did put enough pressure he made good plays. Give him credit. Our offensive production of 400 yards was good, but the thing that hurts us was the penalties. We had nine penalties and shot ourselves in the foot. We have to be more disciplined. Nine penalties are way too many.
We are excited about the Wyoming game. They have a wide open offense and a high pressure defense we are looking forward to competing against.
Q: What is the status of QB Micheal Spurlock and Patrick Willis?
Coach O: Both were operated on by a hand specialist and both operations came out fine. We are not going to have them this week and aren't sure when they will be back.
Q: How did you handle your first loss in a long time?
Coach O: I prepared it the best I could for my team. I was very disappointed that we lost, but I was mostly disappointed in myself and getting the team ready to play better. It's my job to keep this ship going in the right direction and I'm going to do that. We will continue to build a championship program in the positive way.
Q: What is the process of handling key injuries?
Coach O: It's just part of football. We have tried to develop depth. Now we'll see. I'm looking forward to seeing Robert Lane at QB. I think Robert will do a good job. We will miss Patrick, but that's just part of this game and we won't dwell on it.
Q: How ready was Robert Russell Saturday?
Coach O: He got ready in two seconds at Vandy. (Smiles) I think with a week's preparation he will be as ready as a freshman can be to play. He's physically talented. He has been studying hard and I think he can do a good job. We may not be able to do as many things as we could with Patrick, but Robert can run our defense.
Q: What is the recovery process for Patrick with the knee injury he has?
Coach O: We're not sure, but we think it's going to take a little while, probably a little longer than Micheal. It's going to be a week-to-week deal on both of them.
Q: What will you do about depth at MLB?
Coach O: Right now we are talking about moving Dontae Reed inside, but that is not for sure. We're not sure on that, but that's the initial plan right now.
Q: How did Michael Oher grade?
Coach O: Michael played very well. I'm really pleased. He's a physical talent who can handle that end of it. He made a couple of assignment mistakes, but overall he did well.
Q: Do you learn more from a loss or a win?
Coach O: I like to learn from a win, but sometimes it doesn't happen that way. You just have to take the positives from a win or a loss and not dwell on the negatives other than to correct your mistakes.
Q: How will the loss of the QB and MLB affect your gameplanning for Wyoming?
Coach O: It will not affect us. We are going to run our offense and our defense. There may be a couple of things we can or can't do, but overall we will run our systems.
Q: What have you seen of Wyoming that impresses you?
Coach O: They are well-coached. They compete. They went to Florida and moved the football on them. They give you some problems with their zone blitzes and their kids know how to win.
Q: Was there anything you saw to indicate the performance you had on defense versus Vandy was coming?
Coach O: No. Not at all. In the first quarter, we did a nice job and it looked like our plan was going to work. After that, Cutler started hitting us and making plays. We were caught off guard with the speed of his release and we weren't able to put pressure on him like we wanted to. Then we started overcompensating for the passing game and they started running the ball on us. Then we were in trouble when they became two-dimensional.
Q: How do you correct penalties?
Coach O: We will meet individually with the guys who are having those problems and we will continue to work on team discipline in practice. We cannot have nine penalties. Some of the penalties killed us. It's a mind and discipline issue. It's part of rule number one - protect the team.
Q: Are you excited about your first home game?
Coach O: Yes, very much so. We are glad to come home after two away games. College football in the South - I can't wait. We are looking forward to the Walk Through The Grove and getting a victory.
Q: Where is QB Ethan Flatt in the QB misx?
Coach O: Robert is the guy right now and will start for us, but Ethan has to get ready and be ready to play. If something happens, and Robert can't perform, we will go with Ethan.
Q: Are there any similarities between Wyoming and Vandy?
Coach O: Very similar - wide open offense. The QB can throw very well. They can spread you out and run it. They create mismatches in space.
Q: How has Mico McSwain progressed and DT Jeremy Garrett?
Coach O: I was happy to see Mico make the big run on the reversed field. Micheal gave him a big block on that one. He has a lot of speed on the edge - he just needs to learn to run inside better and block better. Jeremy has done OK. I won't say he's playing great, but he's doing pretty good. He's a tough kid and I like him.
Q: Are Mico and Alan Abrams still the main two TBs?
Coach O: Mico and Alan are still our starters, but we'll see how this week goes in terms of the others.
Q: Has LEO Corvelli Haynes stepped up his game?
Coach O: He had a big sack in the game. He's a good pass rusher, but he needs to learn to play a little more consistently. He has won the job, for now. We are pleased with him to this point.
Q: Are you looking for different ways to create pressure?
Coach O: No doubt. We are going to have to create pressure and we have it in our package. We just have to call it and get it done. We have to get our players better at applying pressure.
Q: Do players like Cutler present pressure problems though?
Coach O: Yes. Arkansas tried to pressure him and didn't get to him. We tried to sit back and he got to us. I was pleased with most of the second half of defense we showed. It wasn't always pretty, but we did a better job than we did in the second quarter, for sure.
Q: Are Cutler and the Wyoming QB similar?
Coach O: Corey Bramlet is a good passer, but he's probably not as good at scrambling and running the option as Cutler. Bramlet is very well-coached.
Q: How valuable is having Matt Lubick, who has faced Wyoming, on your staff?
Coach O: Very valuable. We've already discussed things with him and he has a good scouting report on them. We will use him a lot this week.
Q: Is SS Jamarca Sanford injured and what's the extent?
Coach O: Yes, we are sending him to get an MRI today. We don't know the extent of his knee injury right now.
Q: Is there a way to prepare for injury?
Coach O: We always put our second team under the same pressure in practice that we put the first team under. They get equal reps, for the most part. We constantly challenge them to be ready. You have to. We always have a plan "if this guy goes down, who's next?"
Q: Are you confident with Robert Lane?
Coach O: Yes, very excited. He brings a different dimension to our team and I want him to have a chance. He has a competitive nature and a will to win. Mike has that too, but I feel very good with Robert. He does some things that are very appealing as a QB. We'll have to coach him up and get him to protect the ball a little better, but I'm pleased to have him under center.
Q: What will be the biggest difference for Robert Russell between game one and game two of his progress?
Coach O: Night and day. He'll know this week that he has to have every assignment down. He led us in tackles, but he missed some tackles he'll make this week. He wasn't in the right place at the right time some against Vanderbilt that we think Patrick would have been and we think Robert will be the next time around. He knows he's "live" this week.
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