From the Locker Room

The following are quotes from the Rebel players, and a coach or two, after the 13-7 SEC win over Kentucky in Oxford yesterday. Ole Miss is now 3-4 overall and 1-3 in the SEC.

QB Micheal Spurlock: (On the next-to-last drive where Ole Miss was 4-4 on third down conversions) We had some miscues earlier on and weren't converting on third downs. We just talked to each other. We knew we had to make the plays. (On deciding whether to pass or run) Sometimes in the moment you just have to decide that, if it's not there, you need to go and make something happen. I need to do more of that. (On offense's slow start) I think we were dead as a team early. We never could get going early on. I think we were flat all the way through the game. (On reasons for that flatness) If I could tell you that, I would have done something to change it. But that's something that can't happen. (On gut feeling whether to tuck it and run) If there's one guy, I think I can make him miss and get 6 or 7 yards. But the protection has done well the last two games. The guys on the offensive line are getting a feel for each other and getting a feel for me. I can sit back there and trust them and they can trust me. (On performance of offense) I think we did well, but not great. If we're getting the ball on the 50, then we need to get points. We didn't do that. We need to watch the film and figure out why we didn't and change that. (On solving offense's woes) We just need to keep pushing and keep pushing and after a while it will break. (If whether this was the game where the offense was going to break out) We thought so, but we knew they were looking for a win just like we were. No matter who's coming in, they're not going to lay down for you. And they didn't. They played hard all day and fought us hard. (On the win) I can go home and watch the other games on TV and smile knowing that I came away with a win today. At the same time, I'm not satisfied with this win by any means.

QB/FB Robert Lane: (On his FB debut) It felt good to get out there and play a new position. I didn't play much in the second half because Kentucky was taking away the little package I had for the game and that's fine. I made a few plays and we got the win, so all is well. (On expanding his FB package) I'm looking forward to adding some plays to my repetoire this week. I talked to Coach (Noel) Mazzone after the game and he said we're going to work on getting me some more plays. We will work on them Monday. Kentucky caught on after the first couple of times. We were expecting more man coverage, but they went zone more than we anticipated and that kind of cuts off that swing pass to the fullback. The personnel we started using more didn't include a fullback as much and what fullback we did use was for blocking, which I haven't gotten into yet. My deal was all about catching the ball this week, but things will expand in time.

DS Sidney McLaurin: (On the placekicking) I think all we need to do is make a few kicks in games like we do in practice and we'll be OK. I think most of it is about confidence, but we'll make sure all the mechanics - the snap, teh protection and the hold - are good and go from there. I thought Matt (Hinkle) had some good kicks today. Maybe we can build on that. You just have to keep firing and get it right. The 47-yarder just before half that hit the goalpost would have been big. He hit a good ball there, but it just didn't go through. We'll get it right and the right guy will step up, I believe.

PK Matt Hinkle: (On the PKs) It's hard to go out and kick the ball when everyone is booing you, but it's up to us to change their minds by making more. We just need some success. (On his day) I was hoping to get a chance, but I wasn't sure if I would. I had a good week of practice and when I got my shot today I thought I hit a couple of good balls. One didn't go through - hit the goalpost from 47 out, but I made a couple and felt good about them. I don't know what happened on the one that was blocked, but we'll get that worked out. The bottom line is that we've just got to do better in games as a group of PKs who have the ability but haven't put it together in games. We'll get there.

LG Andrew Wicker: (On his shoulder) It's about 85% right now. That just goes to show you how good our training room is for them to get me back in a week with the injury I have. (Trainers) Tim Mullins and Shannon Singletary did a great job getting me back and I am happy about that. (On the offense) Kentucky did a few things we weren't expecting defensively and they got us on a few things. We started getting better in the second half after the adjustments we made and started running the ball better. In the first half, we got beat too much up front. We escaped with the win despite playing like we did and we are thankful for that. (On the OL progress) I don't think we took a step back because we all got more valuable reps and that, in itself, is a step forward, but I don't think we took the giant step forward we were expecting to take. We wanted to take a leap, but only took a baby step. (On next week) I think we feel pretty good about ourselves. From today, we know we can do better and we can correct our mistakes after a win. That's never a bad thing. We believe it's about us and not our opponent. We will just have to execute better and recognize what they are trying to do more quickly.

DT Michael Bozeman: (On the defense) We slipped up on the last drive by Kentucky. They ran a two-minute offense and we didn't respond the way we should have. I think we did take a good step forward in improving, but we aren't perfect yet and that's what we are striving for. I thought we set the tone early like last week and got some three-and-outs. We played to our capabilities until the last drive. (On playing to the level of the competition) I had a feeling before the game that some of the guys were too relaxed because we weren't playing a ranked team. We can't do that. We have to play hard every snap against every opponent, but we are not doing that sometimes. This was a close game, even though we felt we had it under control the whole way. We can't just keep doing enough to win. We need to push it harder than we did today. If you look at the Alabama game and this game, we played 10 times harder against Alabama.

CB Travis Johnson: (On not getting the shutout) We all wanted it, but we didn't get it. We did get what we came after though, an SEC win. I think we are ready, defensively, for anything that faces us the rest of the season, but we have to keep working in practice and keep getting better. (On ranking this defense versus others he has played on) This is the best defense and group of guys I have played with since I have been here. We are a tight unit on and off the field. Nobody wants to let the next guy down.

WR Mario Hill: (On the offense) We didn't play very well today. I think it was a lack of focus on everyone's part. We just crumbled a little today when we had an opportunity to really get some things rolling on offense. I don't know if we slacked up because we knew the defense had the game in hand or what, but it's unacceptable. This was a game where we should have been making a statement on getting better and we didn't do it on our side of the ball. (On playing to the level of the competition) I'm worried about it. For us to be a good time, you have to make a steady rise throughout the season. You can't play the ears off the number six team in the nation and then follow that up against this team we played today and not do anything. That inconsistency doesn't allow you to build anything. We have to grind against everyone and play everyone like they are number one in the nation. We have to be pumped up against everyone and we weren't today.

RT Tre' Stallings: (On the OL) I have mixed emotions about today. On one hand, we made some plays we needed to make, especially late with the third-down conversions, but then we shot ourselves in the foot at other times when we had the chance to blow the game open. We couldn't get the running game going in the first half. Kentucky slanted their DL more than they have shown - almost every play - and that threw us off a little. In the second half, we adjusted to it and ran the ball pretty good. Everything starts up front. When the OL has a great game, we can compete with anyone in the nation. When we don't, we can't. It's pretty simple. We have to learn how to make plays up front when they are there to make. It's our responsibility to give our skill people time to operate and today we did it some and didn't do it other times. (On playing to the level of the competition) I think it goes back to execution. The effort was there, but we weren't on one accord on the OL. We blew some protections today that we normally pick up - the level of competition had little to do with it. It was us and we have to fix it.

MLB Patrick Willis: (On the defense) We did pretty well for 57 minutes, but their final drive for a TD was like a gut shot. We wanted the shutout really bad, but we didn't execute to get it at the end. We were dominant in the first half and most of the second half, but that last drive was painful to be involved in. (On the defensive improvement) I think we have steadily improved each week. Now our mindset is geared toward shutouts. When you think that way, you will play that way. I'm excited about the rest of the year because we are in a good place mentally on the defensive side of the ball.

TB Mico McSwain: (On the game) We played to their level for a lot of the game. We can't continue to do that. We have to play at our level. We have to transfer more of what we are doing in practice into games. Once we got the running game going today, we were better, but we had a lot of opportunities in their territory in the first half that we did nothing with. We made too many mental mistakes and weren't as focused as we should have been. (On the freshman single-season rushing record) I'm proud of that, but our work is not even close to being done. We have to keep pushing. Myself, I think I have the running game down, but my pass blocking needs to improve a lot. I'm now comfortable in the zone running game, but I have to protect (Michael) Spurlock better when I'm called to do that.

Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone: (On the game) Thank goodness for great defense. My hat is off to the job they did today. On offense, we didn't do enough to win the game, but we didn't do anything to lose it either. We had no turnovers and limited penalties and no delay flags, which we have been stressing and harping on hard the last weeks, but Michael (Spurlock) and the receivers were out of synch today and didn't have one of their better days. It was good to see Mico get going in the second half and it was good to get Robert (Lane) involved early. We have to get him more plays to run, but this was a good, positive start for him in his transition to fullback. Anytime you win, you have to consider it a step forward, but when there are plays to make, we have to make them. It's kind of the same story that has haunted us all year, but today we didn't move forward in that phase of the game. We had a lot of open receivers today and they just didn't connect the way I was expecting. It's hard to tell how the guys up front did without watching the film, but I know they did better in the second half because we got a running game going at points. We just have to go back to the drawing board and get some things corrected.

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