Monday Press Conference

The following is Ole Miss Football Coach Ed Orgeron's Monday press conference after the Missouri loss and prior to the Kentucky game this Saturday in Lexington. Coach O stopped short of calling it a 'must win' game, but conceded that the SEC matchup is 'important to our program.' Read about it inside.

The following is Ole Miss Football Coach Ed Orgeron's Monday press conference prior to this weekend's game with Kentucky in Lexington.

Coach O's Opening Statement: "Obviously, we are very disappointed with our performance against Missouri Saturday. We came out very flat. We have to look at what we did last week and fix it. Our team is disappointed and so is our coaching staff. We couldn't stop their offense in the first quarter and dug ourselves a hole. It was an overall poor performance. We will work this week to correct what we did wrong. We are looking forward to our first SEC game of the year against Kentucky, which is very, very important to our program.

"We had a couple of positives, but very few, after watching the film. WR Marshay Green did a good job and got more involved in the offense. We only had one penalty on offense. On defense, the move of Peria Jerry from DE to nose tackle was a good one, even though he's still injured and hampered. He's going to be an excellent NT for us. LB Rory Johnson made some plays and we are looking to move him up on the depth chart, depending on how he practices this week. Also CB Dustin Mouzon will be more involved in our gameplan.

"Looking at Kentucky, they are very similar to us on defense. We can expect an over and under defense and a lot of zone blitzing, which is very similar to us. On offense, we know their QB can throw the ball very well. They run a two-back set, which we are looking forward to defending after defending the spread offense the past two weeks. We are looking forward to being with the team today, being very positive, fixing our mistakes and moving on."

Q: Other than the personnel changes you mentioned, do you anticipate any more?

Coach O: No, we are looking for Rory to make more plays so we need to simplify a little and put him in a position to make more plays. That will be it - for right now, but we will have to check out our injury situation this week.

Q: After watching the film, were you still as surprised as you were immediately after the game at the lack of production from the offense?

Coach O: Yes. We just didn't execute. We didn't run the football like I know we can. We made mental errors and we got whipped in our pass protections a little bit up front. We look to shore that up this week.

Q: Physical play, the lack of it, was a buzz word after the game from you and others. Is that something you can teach or something kids have to have naturally?

Coach O: We try to teach it every day, but we are very thin on both lines and have to be careful in the manner in which we practice so we have enough bodies for Saturdays. Having said that, we have to recruit players who will be physical on both sides of the line of scrimmage. We need more depth. We don't have the depth to get real physical in practice right now.

Q: What does Rory provide at the Will LB?

Coach O: Speed. He has the ability to close very fast and he's a good tackler. His deal is learning the defense. We play a multitude of defenses, so he has to learn every defense and every adjustment, which has been tough for him. He's pretty close right now, but we will have to simplify things some so he can play.

Q: How did Brent Schaeffer do from week one to week two?

Coach O: He kind of played like it was his first game. He made a lot of mistakes and didn't operate in the framework of the offense like we wanted him to. There were some missed reads within the scheme of the offense and he could have made more plays than he did. He did not play as well as he did the first week. We also had to play from behind and that threw us out of our gameplan a little. We had to throw the ball a little more than we wanted to and that was not in our favor.

Q: How far do you think the team has to go to be competitive every Saturday?

Coach O: A long way, I believe. We are not that far away in some areas. If we get back to the basics, I think we can have a good offense. We still have to develop as a defense. We are making mistakes on the back end we shouldn't be making as a veteran group. We have to fix that. We have to fix a couple of things we are doing in coverage to shore that up. Our linebacker positions should be solid and I think the defensive line will continue to come along, but are they there yet? No.

Q: What would you like Mico McSwain's role to be in future games?

Coach O: I would like to see him continue to progress in the offense and show Dan Werner during the week that he can perform the way he wants him to. It's a comfort thing right now. It's hard to take BenJarvus out of the game right now because he's a good player.

Q: Coach, you have been hinting to the media for several weeks that your team was not where you wanted it to be. So this was not a total surprise to you, was it?

Coach O: Did I think we were going to win every game? No. I knew we had a way to go in some areas because I've been out there watching us practice every day, but there is no way that we are as bad as we showed against Missouri. We just need to go out each week and play the best we can. We were flat and I take the responsibility for that. We seemed a little tired and not as enthusiastic. We didn't stop the QB like we should - I take responsibility for that too. But there are some areas we need help in and hopefully we can get it.

Q: Do you think Kentucky is a must-win game?

Coach O: We need to go up there and play well and win. I don't believe in must-wins and wouldn't tell that to my team because we have a long season ahead of us. This is a game we need to play well in and if we do we should have some success.

Q: How much has Peria's injury hurt him?

Coach O: A lot. He's operating at about 50%, at best, right now and he's not practicing much. He will have to deal with this the whole season and hopefully he can play with his injury and it doesn't get worse.

Q: Does going into conference play help put Mizzou behind you easier?

Coach O: Sure it does. The SEC is important to us. We had a taste of traveling and hopefully we will handle that end of it better. We have to do well in the SEC - that's why we are here.

Q: Did you expect your defense to struggle this much?

Coach O: I expected our defense to struggle some against spread offenses. Spread offenses are going to score some. I didn't expect us to struggle this much though. After the first week, we were missing our gaps. Last week, we overcompensated by putting them in the gaps that they were supposed to be in and that ended up hurting us some too. No, I didn't expect this much of a struggle.

Q: Do you anticipate any of the guys who didn't play against Missouri being back for Kentucky?

Coach O: I don't think so. I think we will be very thin at practice and very thin against Kentucky.

Q: How many do you have that are the walking wounded and how many out of circulation?

Coach O: On the DL, we have three or four who are hurting and on the OL we have a couple who have injuries but will probably play.

Q: Is it a surprise the tight end has not caught a pass in two games?

Coach O: Yes. But we've only played two games. I know this offense and know the TE is part of the gameplan, but the first two defenses we have played have paid a lot of attention to that position. We have faced some double coverage there. It will come around.

Q: How did your young players handle the loss?

Coach O: They were shocked. We had to talk to them in the dressing room. I really believe our team thought they were going to go up there and win. We need to handle a loss as well as we do a win. I don't think we handled the big win against Memphis during the week the way we should have and it affected our play. I think we listened too much to people saying how good we did and patting us on the back. I think some of us forgot we had another game to play in six days. Some of us got overconfident in some areas and didn't handle winning the right way.

Q: Did falling behind quickly contribute to that?

Coach O: I don't know that because we came back and went into half down 17-7. As bad as we had played, I thought we had a shot at halftime. But we just couldn't generate anything in the second half.

Q: You mentioned being positive with the team. If that your general attitude after a loss?

Coach O: That's not my general attitude after a loss (laughs). I know my team and I know what we have and I know what we are building. I don't want to set my expectations so high that we can't reach them and I also know they are hurting today and I know I need to bring them back because we have to go play Kentucky in a hurry.

Q: Have the injuries been the most difficult part of the season thus far?

Coach O: Yes. Coming into the season, I was anxious about the DL and their development. Now, some of those guys are not even able to practice, much less play. It shows. We are not able to do all the things we want to do as far as stunts, blitzes, assignments and guys getting it right. We had a lot of busts and containment problems due to inexperience. But we will work through it and get better.

Q: Evaluate your young guys like Marcus Tillman and Greg Hardy?

Coach O: We thought Marcus played well and made some plays, but he's still not the pass rusher we need at LEO because he doesn't have the technique yet and he doesn't use his hands properly yet. He's giving is everything he has though. Greg will be an excellent player. He missed some assignments, some gap assignments, that hurt us some but he also made some plays. They are big and physical and mature and they are getting a quick lesson on how to play that will help us later down the road.

OM Spirit Top Stories