Coach O's postgame press conference

Whene Ole Miss football Coach Ed Orgeron approached the podium to address the press after the 28-25 victory over Memphis this afternoon, he was happy with the offensive performance and the overall play of the special teams, but he said his defense was "bad." Read about it inside.

The following is Ole Miss Coach Ed Orgeron's press conference following the 28-25 season-opening win over visiting Memphis this afternoon at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in front of 55,549 fans.

Coach O's Opening Statement: "I'm really proud of my team - the way they fought to win the football game. I thought our offense did a fantastic job. I have to give Dan Werner, Art Kehoe, Hugh Freeze, Matt Lubick, Frank Wilson and Grant Heard a lot of credit. They did a tremendous job. We had no turnovers and no penalties or mistakes. That is exactly the kind of offense I would expect with Dan being the offensive coordinator. They won the game. I thought Dexter McCluster had a fantastic game for his first college game. I thought Brent Schaeffer did an exceptional job running the offense and BenJarvus Green-Ellis is a very good running back, what we needed.

"I thought we did a fantastic job on special teams. The guys played with fire. We had some big hits on special teams. Marshay Green had a really good punt return and Dexter had a couple of good KO returns. Rob Park punted the ball well and freshman Joshua Shene was 4-4 in PATs.

"On defense, I thought it was a very, very poor performance. It was poor against the run, especially in the second half. We were out of our gaps and did a poor job with our defensive line. We are banged up there, but that's not an excuse. We have to get better and we have to get better fast. We did not do many good things on defense today.

"I was pleased with the effort today and the win. I gave Coach Werner the game ball and I'm really pleased to have him on my staff."

Q: Talk more about Dexter.

Coach O: We used him every way we could. He's very mature, he's worked very hard, he's quick, he has good hands and he's tough. He was a TB in high school. He can do a lot of things. We like him a lot.

Q: Talk about Schaeffer's game management.

Coach O: I thought it was excellent. He came in here very hungry and very mature. We saw that all camp. He executed the offense well and made the big plays he needed to make when we needed them the most. He threw the ball well. I'm very proud of him.

Q: Talk about the trick play that Dexter scored on.

Coach O: That was a great call by Coach Werner and Hugh Freeze. I think they must have drawn that one up in the back of the office one day. I said I wanted to do more trick plays this year and that was a great call, a great play at a great time. We haven't stopped it in practice yet, so I knew it was going to work.

Q: What did you see in BenJarvus that impressed you?

Coach O: Just toughness. Being able to run between the tackles, go North and South and break tackles. He's going to fall forward and you know he's going to break one sooner or later. I give credit to the offensive line too. They looked bigger and stronger out there. I didn't see a lot of tackles in our backfield. They played low.

Q: What happened on the trick play?

Coach O: Dexter hid behind Brent, Brent put the ball between Dexter's legs and he sort of hid behind the line while Brent and the rest of the backfield went the other way, drawing the defense with them. Dexter hit the corner and he was gone.

Q: What wasn't good on your defense?

Coach O: We didn't stop the run. I thought Memphis won the line of scrimmage. And I was really disappointed on the two personal foul calls on their quarterback. That is ridiculous. We had a big coverage bust and they scored. That was a simple coverage and we blew it. There were some mistakes made on defense that we haven't made since I have been here. We are going to find out why we made them.

Q: On the DL, what was your disappointment?

Coach O: We have to get some guys healthy first, but we had a few guys who didn't show up to play. They played too high and let Memphis win the line of scrimmage. I thought Patrick Willis played well, but beyond him we didn't get much out of our linebackers. We didn't play the screen well in the first half when our CBs weren't getting of blocks. We have a lot of fundamental work to do on defense.

Q: Talk more about the OL and moving Corey Actis into the starting lineup at center.

Coach O: We've been thinking about moving Corey in there. Thomas Eckers was playing well, but toward the end of camp he started getting physically overmatched by some of our inside people. We tried Andrew Wicker at center, but he does such a good job of pulling in our power plays that we didn't want to move him because he is aggressive and athletic. We didn't want to lose him at LG, so we moved Actis in there.

Q: Did Dexter catch six balls because he had the hot hand or was it something you saw in Memphis' defense?

Coach O: We want to get the ball to our best players and Dexter showed us in camp he has the best hands. We thought we could get it to him today and we did.

Q: You went for it on fourth down a couple of times today. Why?

Coach O: I've been going against the offense in practice and haven't stopped them much on fourth down situations. Plus, I'm not really confident in our field goal kicking right now to win a game. If I have a chance to go for it on fourth down, I'm going to.

Q: When did you settle on Josh Shene to handle the FGs/PATs?

Coach O: Last night. He did a good job. Punter Rob Park did a good job too. Rob has done well in practice and carried it over to the game today. He had a good game.

Q: You weren't able to get the ball to the tight end today. Any reason?

Coach O: Dan saw something in Memphis' scheme that took the tight end away from us and opened up Dexter. We had the TE open a couple of times today, but Brent didn't see him.

Q: How far along is Brent in the offense?

Coach O: He knows as much as anyone could know for being here only a month. He made some plays today, but we think he can do more running the ball.

Q: Why were you not able to put them away?

Coach O: Memphis fought. Give them credit. Their OL came off the ball, their QB did a good job, their scheme was good and they made some big plays when they needed to. They are a good team. Give them credit.

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