From the Locker Room

After Ole Miss' tale-of-two-halfs 27-7 victory over The Citadel, the Rebels who were asked to "meet the press" had two general thoughts - it was good to get a win after three straight losses, but some major improvements must be made before ranked Alabama rolls into town next weekend.

The following are quotes from some select players - and one coach - after the 27-7 win over visiting Citadel Saturday afternoon.

QB Robert Lane: (On his brief entrance into the game to start the second half) We came out and completed a long pass and I thought 'here we go,' but we were called for holding. After beating them on a go route, I expected the safety to get some depth and not be sitting on the slant the way he was. They had not shown that look in any films we watched, so it caught me by surprise when he stepped in front of the pass and took it back for a score. That's just the way it goes sometimes. You just have to get over it, turn the page and get ready for Alabama. (On the difference in the offense in the first half - 3 points - and the second half - 24 points) The execution in the second half was much better. We came out flat in the first half and didn't execute. In the second half we just did things the way we are coached and we got the win.

OL Coach George DeLeone: (On the difference in the first half and second half offensively) In the first half, we could not string any successful plays together. In the second half, we got some continuity and put four or five or six good plays in a row together. That was good to see. In the first half, we had a couple of good plays, but we just didn't keep it going or get any rhythm.

P Rob Park: (On his first collegiate punting effort, 5 kicks 40.8 yard average) I felt real good. I've been punting with the first punt team for two weeks, so I was used to the tempo and just approached it like it was practice. The wind was swirling all day and I hit my punts pretty well in the first half, but the wind just knocked them down. I got a couple of kicks that were helped by the wind, too. I'm getting more comfortable every day and felt pretty relaxed today.

WR Mario Hill: (On his return to action) It doesn't get any better after missing a couple of games. I just like being out there with the guys and having fun. I've been missing being out there. I felt real good today - the treatment from the trainers has worked well. (On the difference in the first and second halfs offensively) We were hurting ourselves in the first half. We weren't on the same page with some things. At halftime, we fixed some things and looked like a whole different team. We were very positive in the locker room and just concentrated on the different looks we were getting and how we could attack them. (On Alabama) I believe this is a positive step toward Alabama because it's a win and we can hold our heads up a little bit. It's always easier preparing after a win. We know it's going to be a tough game, but we just have to step up to the plate and play ball the way we can.

WLB Kelvin Robinson: (On the defensive 'shutout') I'm glad we were able to do our part in the victory and glad the offense came on strong in the second half. I won't ever take any win for granted. We worked hard all week on defense to shut down their option game and we did. We worked all week against the option, so we knew what to do, and we took that into the game and executed. To hold anyone under 100 yards of offense is a good effort. (On facing Alabama) We needed some confidence going into the Alabama game after losing three straight games, so this can only help us. I know our crowd is going to be wild and I know we are going to be ready. They are real good, but it's time for us to show what we can do. We are looking forward to it. (On The Citadel having only 81 yards of total offense) That's pretty special in this day and age of offense. Patrick Willis, Garry Pack, the whole defense was tuned in and focused today and hopefully that will springboard us into some better things against some of our tougher opponents. I know this will spur us to work harder because we know we can execute. Now it's a matter of executing against the better teams on our schedule, starting with Alabama.

CB Travis Johnson: (On his fumble recovery for a TD to start the second half) We needed something to get us going and there's nothing that will pump a team up more than a defensive score. It's like a freebie. I was watching the QB the whole time and I don't think the RB was ever looking for the pitch. The QB pitched earlier in the game without the back seeing it, so I felt he might do it again. The second time, I was ready for it, they laid it on the ground and I scooped-and-scored like we practice every day. It was about time I made a couple of big plays. I've had several opportunities this year but haven't capitalized. I feel that play gave us a spark and some momentum. (On stopping the option) We worked hard on it this week because we hadn't seen a lot of option. We were ready. We felt going into the game if we could show up well defensively that we could get some confidence going into Alabama. (On expecting to beat The Citadel) We never looked at them like a D-1AA team. Everyone has athletes these days. We looked at them like they were an SEC opponent. On defense, we played that way. On offense, we struggled early, but played a lot better in the second half. Hopefully we can carry it over to the Alabama game.

WR Mike Espy: (On the tale of two halfs offensively) In the first half, we were playing and we were trying to be pumped up, but we were just dead and we don't know why. There was very little fire in the huddle. In the second half, we had some fire in our eyes. The OL seemed more focused and so did the rest of us. I'm glad we turned things around in the second half, but we have got to quit starting like that. We have got to come out from the start ready to play. This has become a pattern and it's a bad pattern.

QB Micheal Spurlock: (On the first half and the second half difference) We had some miscues here and there and stopped ourselves. At halftime, we talked about everyone taking care of their own jobs and it would all fall in place. That's what happened. Travis' fumble recovery lit a fire under us and then we got the running game going some. The team energy increased a lot. (On coming back after being benched at halftime) As a competitor, I wanted to be in there, but I understood why the coaches were sitting me. In the first half, I was rushing some and things weren't clicking. Ethan (Flatt) told me at halftime to slow down and play my game - to let the game come to me. When I got my chance in the second half, I was more under control and things looked like they were in slow motion. Even though we were playing an opponent that was not as good as the SEC teams we face, it was still Homecoming and we were all anxious to play good and get on the winning path. It worked in reverse in the first half - we put too much pressure on ourselves. When we relaxed and let the game come to us, we were effective. (On starting faster) We have to quit killing ourselves. We had penalties again, we missed reads again, we missed throws again. That has to stop. Alabama is coming into our house undefeated and they are going to be rocking and rolling. We have to do better. We have to go get the points we are capable of scoring. We have to do our jobs like we are taught to do them. If we do, everything will take care of itself and we'll be a good offense, but it takes all 11 on the same page on every play.

SS Jamarca Sanford: (On the defense's effort) We treated Citadel just like they were Tennessee defensively and just played ball like we are capable of playing. We did not play down to their level. Coach Orgeron preached the option all week, so we knew what to do and what to ollok for. They didn't do anything we hadn't studied and prepared for and the game felt easy because we were focused and knew what to do. (On getting ready for Alabama) We needed a win for our confidence. We got that and now we need to turn our attention on a great opponent who is on a roll. We have it in us, we just have to pull it out and let it flow.

TB Mico McSwain: (On the game) We didn't seem real focused in the first half on the offensive side of the ball - almost a little dead. Coach O was positive at halftime, but also got on us a little to get our attention. We came out ready to play ball in the second half. We got the running game going and that set up some other things. (On improving first-half performances) Today, I think we - in the back of our minds - took these guys for granted, but we have to snap out of that quickly. We have to start games the way we've been finishing them or we will dig ourselves too deep a hole against the better teams on our schedule, starting with Alabama next Saturday. (On his 100-yard game) I like having the ball in my hands and trying to make plays for the team, but I've still got a lot to learn. My hard work is starting to pay off, and I'm enjoying being the tailback, but I know I can do so much more once I learn the position better. It's more to it than taking a handoff and running and those are the things I'm trying to learn and perfect now. I'll get better.

LG Andrew Wicker: (On halftime offensive adjustments) We weren't expecting the linebackers to be playing as deep as they were and we had to adjust to that a little. We also were not making good OL checks at the line based on their tendencies and formations. We were just a little off. But in the second half, we figured them out and got our assignments down. The first two or three drives, we were figuring them out. The next couple of drives, everybody was not on the same page. In the second half, we had them figured out and we were all on the same page. (On Alabama) Today was a win, and that's big. We didn't have anyone injured, and that's big. We will need everyone on board to face a great Alabama defense. We have to start Monday with our minds on Alabama and nothing else. (On the OL progress) We are getting there, but it's painful at times. Bobby (Harris) and Tre' (Stallings) are the only ones with much experience and it's been slow. But we are getting valuable reps now and starting to understand defenses and what we have to do. (On slow offensive starts) We have to score early and play a full 60-minute game on our side of the ball the way the defense did today. Not being able to score until later in the game, and to not get rolling until after halftime, won't get it done against Alabama. I think we will do that.

DT McKinley Boykin: (On Alabama) They've got a real good team and I'm sure they will come in here expecting to win since we are 2-3 and are 0-2 in the SEC, but we'll be feeling good about ourselves and we ride our crowd to better things. This win, even against Citadel, was important to us. It was important we play defense the way we know we are capable of playing, regardless of the opponent. We will have confidence when we line up next week.

MLB Patrick Willis: (On his second start since breaking his finger) I didn't feel as clumsy with the cast on today. I'm getting used to it and learning how to adjust to not having two hands to grab a ballcarrier. (On Alabama) They have a multiple offense and are two-dimensional. We will have to be at the top of our games, but that game is why you play in the SEC - to compete against the best and see what you are made of. We will practice hard and get ready.

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