The following is Rod Barnes' weekly press conference after the Rebels' loss at Georgia and before their game at Arkansas Wednesday night. Ole Miss is 13-4 overall and 3-1 in SEC play. Arkansas is 13-5 and 2-3.
Q: Talk about Arkansas.
Barnes: Very talented team. Many picked them to win the SEC West. They have a lot of experience. Most of their guys have played two years together. They're a team that's been up and down the last two or three weeks. Ronnie Brewer will be considered for Player of the Year in our league. It will be a tough game for us. We're anxious to play again after a tough loss on Saturday. Our staff has done a great job putting a gameplan together. We just have to go execute it. It's another great opportunity for us. It's a tough place to play. A lot of our players have never been there. But we're ready to bounce back, and I believe we will.
Q: After looking back at the tape of Saturday's 71-65 loss at Georgia, what were your thoughts?
Barnes: We got off to a bad start. In our first 10 possessions we scored one field goal. That's a tough thing on the road. We probably could have stuffed the ball inside to Dwayne (Curtis) early, and maybe we'd have come up with a basket. We had too many possessions without getting anything. You can't do that on the road. We didn't give ourselves a chance early to get in the flow because we turned it over too much.
Q: You led 47-46 in the second half, then what happened?
Barnes: We had great opportunites. We had Jermey (Parnell) about three feet from the basket and don't score. We get Bam (Doyne) on the baseline with an easy opportunity and we don't score. We had some opportunities, we just didn't get them down. It was a struggle for us a lot of the day. We had spurts of playing well, but we didn't finish the game. We played great defense possession after possession, and then they'd get the offensive rebound. Sometimes that just takes a toll on you, and it seemed to in that game.
Q: Did the week off from games have a negative affect that you had hoped it wouldn't?
Barnes: At the start of the game, I believe it did. That's not the reason we lost, but we appeared to come out flat, not as aggressive, not as focused as in the past. At Alabama, we played better early in the first half, even though we didn't play as well as we'd like to have (Rebs trailed 30-23 at halftime at Bama). But against Georgia we were down six points (36-30) at halftime, that's really not a lot. And we had some opportunities to bring it back. But we didn't finish.
Q: What is the status of Dwayne Curtis as far as his brother Jarrod who was in the auto wreck?
Barnes: Not much has happened. I will try to find out an update when I talk to his father. I have obviously talked to Dwayne, and Dwayne's not going to say a whole lot. Nothing much has changed. So we'll try to find out more.
Q: Do you prepare differently knowing Dwayne might be out at anytime for any game?
Barnes: We are approaching it right now like Dwayne will be with us, until we hear something different. We don't want to prepare for something that may not ever happen. We have some other guys who have been playing, so it's not like we'd be bringing kids in who have not played. Of course, that could happen, and guys' minutes could increase if he was gone. We've tried to be ready for anything. If you lose anyone, like with an injury, you have to be ready. That's why we've played a lot of people. If we lose one guy we wouldn't want it to cost us our season. That's why we have been playing guys like Mike Smith, Xavier Hansbro, Trey Hampton. It's a long season. We want to try to stay fresh as long as we can. We want to get stronger and not get too fatigued. That's something we've been planning for. We've felt all along we'd play better as the season goes along. There's a lot of games left to play.
Q: Arkansas has been up and down some but won a big road game at Auburn 68-52 last Saturday.
Barnes: This is a long season. You play well sometimes and then you might cool off. Then you get hot again. We all want to play well and win. I'm concerned because they went on the road and beat Auburn. When Arkansas is playing well, they're as good as anybody in our league and most teams in the country. If they're like that on Wednesday night, we'll have to play great. They're a talented group of players.
Q: Was Saturday's loss at Georgia a wakeup call for your team?
Barnes: I'm not sure it was a wakeup call. It might have been for them (Rebel players) to realize as soon as we get to the floor, we have to be at our best. Our league is so balanced. Tennessee beat (No. 2 ranked) Florida. Some might have thought when we beat South Carolina, that they weren't very good. But they are. Any given night, you can win or lose. What we have to do is be consistent in our play. We were not that at Georgia, especially at the beginning. So maybe it was the wakeup call for us. I understand what you mean.
Rod Barnes weekly Q & A
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