Opening statement: "Obviously this was a hard-fought football game by our football team, but we need to find a way to win this game. It was right in our hands. The kicking game hurt us in the first half. Mistakes down there at the goalline with substitution problems hurt us, and we have to correct them. We gave them one series here in the second half, and I'm very disappointed in that. We fixed it, and we fought hard on defense. That third down call hurt us, when Croyle scrambled out of the pocket."
Q: What happened on the two delay of game penalties?
"We need to find out what happened. I think there were some things in the huddle and some miscommunication, but we need to find out why it happened."
Q: Some teams have trouble with delay penalties. Do you think it was a quick 25-second clock all game?
"I didn't notice that. Maybe it was, but it wasn't something that I noticed."
Q: Did Micheal say anything that happened with the delays?
"I didn't talk to him. I didn't talk to anybody about it. We will find out what happened."
Q: What happened on the Croyle scramble?
"We were in two-man. Everbody was in man coverage, and it was good coverage. It just led him up the middle. That's one of the things that happens when you're in two-man. You've got to get (the quarterback) down."
Q: Coach, I know you're disappointed now, but are there also some positives to draw out of this game?
"Sure we can. We have to keep on fighting. I'm proud of our team, but close is not good enough."
Q: Talk about what you all did on defense to hold Alabama down on offense.
"We just played our defense, really. I think we have a strong defense. We were able to stop the run and play press coverage against their receivers for most of the game. We tried some blitzes, some of them worked, some of them didn't. I thought we just came ready to play on defense."
Q: You said before this game that you didn't want Croyle to beat you over the top. Did you feel like you were able to do that today?
"We did it. We did a good job of doing that. They really didn't run the ball that much on us either. There was one run (Darby's 48-yard TD run) that was a busted play in the second half, but that was all we had."
Q: It seems like Micheal had a lot more time to throw the all. Did you see improvement in the pass protection?
"There was a lot of improvement. We played a very good football team today, and we played them really close. There was a lot of improvement on our football team."
Q: How about the offensive line in particular? What did you think of them today?
"I thought they did a good job. All week they've been under some pressure, and I thought they did a good job today against supposedly a great defense."
Q: You said before this game that this was about Ole Miss and not Alabama. You put yourself in a position to get it done.
"That's how it's always going to be. It will always be like that. That's what I told the team after. We are not that far away from some of the top teams we play in the country. If we eliminate the mistakes, if we do what we have to, if we go after the football and make plays and make field goals, then we're going to win them. It's always going to be about us."
Q: Talk about the two missed field goals.
"They hurt us, obviously they hurt us. Those two field goals should have been made and were easy field goals. We needed the momentum and we needed the points."
Q: Are the kickers doing better in practice?
"Yeah. I feel like they're doing OK in practice. I think it's experience, the blocking, and the protection. The first kick wasn't very good."
Q: Is this the best you've played in the trenches so far this year?
"I think so. I think we played very well there today, but again it's not good enough. Close is not good enough."
Q: Could you be a little more aggressive with them not having Prothro this week?
"I think it gives you a little bit more confidence. Obviously he's a touchdown maker every time he touches the ball with his speed, but they had a lot of speed anyway at receiver."
Q: Talk about Mario Hill's game.
"He had a good day for our best receiver. He makes big plays."
Q: It looked like ya'll were trying to get the ball more to Mico. Talk about his day.
"I thought he did pretty good. He ran the ball well and caught the ball well. He's one of our best players on the football team, so we had to put the ball in his hands. He did well against a good football team."
Q: Were you happy with the way you contained Darby?
"I'm disappointed that we gave up that 50-yard run. We shouldn't have done it. To win championships, you cannot give that up to good football teams. Yes we played well, but I want my team to understand that's not good enough."
Q: What happened on that run?
"We were in a zone blitz, and they split us in the middle. What we did later was show zone blitz and played our normal defense and stopped them."
Q: Coach, you were on the upside today in time of possession. That's got to be a positive.
"Yes it is. There are a lot of positive things that come out of this game. I want my team to continue to fight, it's just disappointing that we lost."
Q: Talk about Willis. Have you ever coached a guy that makes a bigger difference than he does?
"No. He's a special football player. We knew that in spring ball. He's a character guy. He makes our defense better. With him I know the middle of our defense is going to be strong. He's an outstanding young man and an outstanding player. He's one of the best I've been around."
Q: It seemed like ya'll had more opportunities to blitz today. Did you blitz more today?
"We had to put some pressure on the quarterback. There were some situations that afforded us to blitz, so we did."
Q: What kind of adjustments did you make to put pressure on them?
"Really we just kept on playing our defense. We played tighter coverage every once in a while and blitzed them and backed out. The defensive line played well, but we should have sacked him on that last third and ten. We needed a big play and didn't get it.
Q: This seems to be a team that is very unified with the team coming out at the end of the game. Is this a team that has a spirit of togetherness?
"There's no doubt. "We are working and we are practicing on our mental attitudes and our physical well-being. Everybody has pulled together, and I can feel this team turning, just like I did in my other program. We feel it turning and we're getting there, we just have to push to get to the next level."
Q: Does this game make you feel you're that much closer having played No. 6 Alabama so close?
"Right now I'm not feeling too good. But I'm sure tomorrow after watching the film that I'll be more positive. I just thought we should have won this football game."
Q: So moral victories are not acceptable any more?
"There's no such thing in my mind as a moral victory. The team played well enough to win. That's what I came here for - to win. We're right there, we just let (this one) slip away from us."
Coach O postgame Q & A
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