Coach Ed Orgeron's postgame press conference

Ole Miss head football coach Ed Orgeron spoke to the media underneath Neyland Stadium after the Rebels lost 27-10 to Tennessee.

Orgeron: It was very good to come here today. This is exactly what our team needed to play a team like Tennessee to see where our team is talent-wise, scheme-wise, and competitive-wise. I was really pleased with the way the defense played for the most part. We had good improvement on defense. We had improvement in the kicking game. We've still got a ways to go on offense.

Q: Talk about the return of Patrick Willis.

Orgeron: He did a great job. Those plays they've been popping on us when he's not been there, well they were stopped today. He makes the difference in our defense. He's truly one of the top players on our team. I'm very proud of the way he's come back and fought. He's one we can build our program with.

Q: When did you decide he could play?

Orgeron: It was a gametime decision. Tim (Mullins) and Shawn (Slocum) came up to me and said he's ready. Actually I was a little concerned letting him play. But to show the type competitor he is, I wanted to give him a shot. He played excellent.

Q: What did you guys do to slow Tennessee down after they got up early?

Orgeron: We zoned blitzed a lot on their first series, and we were out of position a couple of times. We just settled down and played. We made a couple of adjustments on third down and it worked.

Q: Was there a little bit of a shock factor for your team after Tennessee scored 14 points so quickly?

Orgeron: I felt today our team was ready to compete no matter what happened – and it happened. They did score fast on us. I was really pleased with how our coaches kept our team together. They battled.

Q: Talk about turnovers and penalties.

Orgeron: They always hurt. Those are the things we cannot have. Those are the things we will continue to improve on. We have to eliminate those things in our program. We're not good enough to overcome turnovers or penalties.

Q: Spurlock had his worst ball-handling game it appeared.

Orgeron: First of all they have a good defensive line. Give them credit. They had a lot of one on one with offensive linemen. I don't think we protected very well. We have to see the film on his ball-handling. But he was running most of the day.

Q: Is it good to have a game coming up that you feel your team can win this weekend?

Orgeron: I don't look at it that way. I really don't. I want my team to improve. Obviously we want to win every game. I want us to come together as a team. I felt we made the most improvement as a team this week. I want us to play good whatever the results are while we're building this program from the ground up. I'm gonna get my players in here. I'm gonna get my staff together and continue to work in this system and continue to build a great program here.

Q: So you don't feel you will have any problems getting your team back up this week?

Orgeron: No, I don't feel that at all. I don't feel it's like that. That's not the approach of our football team. We try as hard as we can to go one day at a time and not have an up and down attitude.

Q: So you felt the effort was there today.

Orgeron: Parts of it, yes. I thought defensively our guys came ready to play. I was really pleased with Will (Moseley). I thought he kicked and punted the ball well today. But we're still not clicking on all cylinders. It's not where we need to be clearly.

Q: What did you think of the offensive line today and the fact that you played five guys most of the time?

Orgeron: I didn't see much difference, to be honest with you. We had holding penalties. We jumped offsides. We're still not where we need to be there.

Q: How nice will it be to have three straight home games now?

Orgeron: It's great, and we love playing at home. But we love coming to great atmospheres like today too. I think it pepped the boys up a little bit. We need to go back home with our fans and get ready.

Q: Talk about Mico's day.

Orgeron: I didn't think we got the ball to him enough in critical situations. I expected him to do more, to be honest with you. We have to use him more. He's a good athlete. Although he ran a variety of plays today, we need to get the ball in his hands more.

Q: You talked about the team improving this past week in practice. What made you feel that way?

Orgeron: First of all defensively. We had been really disappointed in our last two outings (Vanderbilt, Wyoming). Having Patrick (Willis) in there makes a whole lot of difference. We worked hard on our tackling this week. We still had some missed tackles today. We definitely have to improve on that. We just need to keep on getting better at it. Obviously we have a lot of work to do on offense. We have to address that again this week and continue to improve.

Q: Your offense had a couple of good sustained drives today. Those had been hard to come by in the first three games.

Orgeron: Yeah, but it happens in spurts. We're inconsistent. The penalties hurt. A big play here, or we don't score there. Turnovers hurt. We just do too many things that hurt us.

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