From The Locker Room

The mood outside the Rebel locker room after the 27-3 loss to Auburn yesterday was predictably and justifiably somber. The frustration level has risen as their record has dropped to 3-5. One thing they were unanimously excited about was having an open week to lick their wounds. Read about it inside.

The following were comments from Rebel participants in the 27-3 loss at Auburn yesterday.

QB Micheal Spurlock: (On the game) We just didn't get it done offensively - again. When you get the ball down deep, like we did early, and come away with nothing, it's just unaccepatble. There's no way to win that way. But there was still a lot of football to play, so we felt good about the way we had moved the ball on that first possession. Then, we just lost whatever we had going. We couldn't convert third downs, we couldn't help the defense, we couldn't keep drives going - it was frustrating. That first drive hurt us, but it's not the reason we lost the game. We lost the game because of our continued inconsistency on offense. (On the fourth-down pitch to TB Brandon Jacobs that was muffed) It really doesn't matter whose fault it was - it may have been a little behind him, I don't know. But that is beside the point - we have to make that play and score. The play was open for a score and Brandon and I can't complete a simple pitch. (On the offensive woes) It's very frustrating and has become a broken record. I know we are better than what we have been showing, but it's up to us to prove it on Saturdays. (On the coaches changing QBs and putting in Ethan Flatt in the fourth quarter) That's the coaches' call. I just try to do what they tell me to do and let the chips fall where they may. I'll keep battling for the team - we all will. Whatever happens, happens, but what we can't allow ourselves to do is stop working.

CB Travis Johnson: (On the halfback pass over him for a TD) The wide receiver jogged off the ball and baited me. I bit on coming up for run support and didn't read my keys right. The WR got behind me and they scored over the top of me. It was my fault. (On the defense overall) We played great at times, but today we gave them too many big plays and let them convert too many third downs. For the most part, we got a lot of things done and made some stops, but we didn't make enough. They hurt us on some play-action stuff and some misdirection stuff. We did a good job of stopping the run, but we gave up too much yardage in the air. Coach (Orgeron) has a lot of confidence in the secondary and we loaded up against the run, but the DBs didn't hold up their end of the bargain today. We gave up some things we never should have today. We gave up some pass plays today we haven't given up since the Vanderbilt game. (On the open week) We need it badly. We are beat up physically a little bit and we have to regroup mentally. We're a tired football team, but that's normal for the straight stretch we've had. We can use the open week to get better, get a little healthy for the stretch run and get rested some.

Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone: (On the game) You have to make plays when they are there to be made. Auburn is a good defense, but we've been playing good defenses all year long. We had plays to be made and didn't make them. We are still searching for the right combination of players to make plays for us. It's frustrating because we are so up-and-down. We look great on one drive and totally inept on the next drive. (On putting in Ethan Flatt to QB the last quarter) I thought Ethan came in and did a nice job. He looked under control and had a pretty good rhythm not to have played any this year. We will give him another opportunity. The receivers played hard today and the OL showed some signs they are coming around in spurts. Again, the consistency is what we are striving for and we aren't getting that. What's frustrating is when you see something work and know we are capable of executing, but we don't do it but every second or third series.

DT McKinley Boykin: (On Auburn's offense) They got us on a couple of trick plays - the halfback pass and the reverse. Other than that, and a couple of third-down conversions, I thought we played good defense. We handled Kenny Irons pretty good - he had to fight for the yardage he got. I'm not taking anything away from them, but I thought we held our own except for a couple of trick plays, as I said. Their offensive line is supposed to be really good - they are good, but I've played against better. They did not blow us off the ball. (On the Rebel offense) It's frustrating a little, but those guys are working as hard as we are. It just hasn't clicked for them. It's harder to put in a new offense than it is to put in a new defense. The defensive guys are not blaming the offensive guys. This is a team. We win and lose together. We aren't pointing fingers, we are just trying - as a defense - to help the offense get over this bump in the road by causing more turnovers. If we have to score for them, that's what we need to do. We knew going into this year that the onus was going to be on us. We're playing pretty good on defense and trying to help them, but we have to do better.

LG Andrew Wicker: (On the offense) We just did not get it done and we are not executing. It's as simple as that. I've heard all kinds of things from fans about lack of talent and lack of scheme. I don't want to disrespect anyone, but that's just not right. It's on our backs to execute. The plays are there, the scheme is fine, we are talented enough to do it. We just aren't doing it and that's the bottom line. Today was a tough day for Ole Miss football and for this team. Auburn is a good defense, but if we had been clicking - 11 guys as one, we would have had a chance to win today. It's disheartening because we know we are capable. (On Flatt's performance) I commend him for coming in cold and moving the team. He did a good job in a situation where Auburn knew we were going to throw and could bull rush on every snap. He was cool and collected back there.

SLB Garry Pack: (On defending the run) We are doing that fine - except for the reverse today. We practiced that all week and still let them get us on it. We controlled most of their running game, but we weren't as sharp against the pass today. We started out getting good pressure on Brandon Cox, but then our pressure wasn't as good as the game wore on and he made us pay.

QB Ethan Flatt: (On his opportunity to play) I was nervous at first because I hadn't played since last year, but as soon as I got hit once, I was fine. It took me a few snaps to adjust to the speed of the game, but then I got comfortable. I'm looking for another opportunity. I'll be working for another chance. It's been frustrating for me, some games more than others. I'm a competitor and believe I can help this team, but I'm just like Michael and Robert (Lane), I'm a team guy and will do what's best for the team. I have to be honest - this has been a tough time in my life. We put a lot of effort into football and it's tough not to play. With the help of my faith, family and friends, I've been OK, but it's been tough being a bystander. (On his performance) There were a couple of plays I'd like to have back and a couple of penalties hurt us, but I think it's something I can build on. People have to realize that putting together an offense takes time. It's more rhythmic than defense. Everyone has to work together. I know it hasn't been showing up on Saturdays, but this offense is making strides that we can see. Hopefully we will break through soon. (On the open week) We need it. We need to correct some things and get a jump on the Arkansas gameplan and we need some time to heal and rest.

MLB Patrick Willis: (On the flow of the game) We did a pretty good job in the first half, but we got hit in a couple of seams in the second half that hurt us. We've been doing pretty good on stopping offenses on third downs, but today Auburn hit us a few times that hurt when we needed to get off the field. (On Auburn's balance) It gave us some trouble that they were as good throwing as they were running. We devoted a lot of effort to stopping their run and they hit us on some passes we thought we could stop in man coverage. Their balance was an asset to them.

RT Tre' Stallings: (On the opening drive) We gained momentum against Alabama when we stopped them on their first drive. The same thing happened against us today when Auburn got momentum from us not scoring on our first drive when we had the ball on their 1 with two downs to punch it in. After that, we seemed deflated and couldn't get anything going. (On the consistency of the offense) We are not flowing as one. We are inconsistent in our assignments and execution. On offense, it only takes one person to mess up and the whole play will blow up in your face. We're getting better, but not as quickly as we need to. It's all about knowing what to do. I've heard our fans talk about us not having any talent. It's just not so. We are busting assignments. If you know what to do, we have plenty of guys talented enough to do it, but our inexperience is still showing and evolving into this offense and this scheme has taken longer than we anticipated because we have so many inexperienced players. When we were down there deep on their one, for instance, we had a bust on the OL and Brandon (Jacobs) was tackled for a loss. It wasn't being overpowered - it was missing an assignment. Eight games into the season, that is frustrating and something we have to fix. I'm seeing progress. We're staying encouraged, but it's not paying off as quickly as we thought it would.

OM Spirit Top Stories