The following is Ole Miss Coach Ed Orgeron's Monday press conference prior to the Wake Forest game at 5 p.m. Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
Coach O's Opening Statement: "After watching the film of the Kentucky game, the five turnovers are obviously very disappointing, especially the two in the Red Zone. I thought we had the momentum in the game at that time after making some halftime defensive adjustments that worked. We made their offense go three-and-out several times and you could feel the tempo and momentum on the sidelines shifting our way and we fumble the ball. We also had 12 penalties, seven of them on the line of scrimmage. We have to fix that in practice. We had a penalty on a young receiver that negated a TD that was definitely a big play in the game. Penalties really hurt our team in that game.
"Wake Forest is 3-0 and is a good football team. Their defense has only given up 12 points a game thus far and they have six senior starters. They play very solid defense. They are plus 2 in turnover margin and we are minus 6, something we have to improve on. They average 19 points a game on offense. We expect a spread offense and the shotgun run game, which we faced the first three games, again. Their QB Riley Skinner has come in for their injured starter and has thrown no picks and done a good job.
"We are anxious to look at the film, get to practice and stay positive with our team and move on to the next game."
Q: How did RT David Traxler and NT Brandon Jenkins do in their extended PT against Kentucky?
Coach O: I thought Brandon Jenkins did a very good job and had his best game. He had two plays back-to-back, a sack and a big play in the same series. I was pleased to see him play well. I was also pleased to see Traxler get in there and perform. I will consider starting him this week, depending on how practice goes.
Q: Talk about TB Bruce Hall's play.
Coach O: He did some things we haven't seen in our offense. He hit the holes fast and made some big plays. He's been showing that in practice and we wanted to give him a shot. We are pleased with what he did. He earned the playing time in practice. He had a good camp. (RB Coach) Frank (Wilson) has been wanting to put him in. He got a chance and did well. Bruce is a very good kid who works hard. He's quiet and unselfish. He's grown in the weight room and he's tough. RB was natural for him and now he knows how to play it.
Q: What is the cumulative affect of the injuries doing to your team right now?
Coach O: We're very thin and playing guys out there who are injured and aren't practicing. As a result, we are making a lot of mental mistakes. We have guys playing at 50-60%. Obviously they are not playing up to their capabilities, but that's all we have. We won't make excuses. We will have to play more young guys, some of them aren't ready to play, but we don't have any choice.
Q: What can you do to take care of the turnovers you had?
Coach O: We will do a few different things in practice in terms of drills for ball security. I have been preaching since I got here that our program is about the ball - taking care of it on offense and taking it away on defense. I talked to our assitants today about teaching it more in practice.
Q: Talk about your secondary.
Coach O: They did a little better, but they still made some critical errors, like on the screen that put Kentucky up 28-14. We called a blitz - which was not a good call against the screen, but we missed several tackles. We played cover two one time and they leaked a back out for a six-yard gain, we miss a couple of tackles and it goes 25 yards. We made some critical errors in man coverage in terms of alignment and technique and gave up some run routes. There was a little improvement, but I expect those guys to play well every down and they are not doing that right now.
Q: How is the morale of the team?
Coach O: Our morale is good. The morale of the staff is good. The morale of the team is good. We will not allow it to be anything but positive. We will continue to take things one day at a time and get our team better.
Q: How difficult is it to have a brand new QB operate at a high level?
Coach O: Well, it wasn't a factor in the first game. If we can do it in the first game, we can do it in the second and third. So there's something going on there that we have to figure out. Are we doing too much? Did we have a high intensity level there at that position in the first game and it's not there now? Was it a total offense deal? We have to figure that out. I know we can do it because I saw us do it against Memphis and I expect us to get back to that point.
Q: Did you try to spread the ball around more against Kentucky or did it just happen?
Coach O: I think Brent is more comfotable in the offense now and sees more. Our receivers were also getting open. We are still not throwing to the TE like we want to. He was open a lot of times and we didn't see him when we could have just dumped it off to him and let him make something happen. We need to do that more.
Q: Are the young wide receivers making progress?
Coach O: Yes. Kendrick Lewis is coming along and had some good plays, but he had a critical holding penalty that was questionable. An effort play. It was good to see Marshay Green and Mike Wallace come along. It was unfortunate Dexter had the fumble. We need to teach him to carry the ball better because he was barely hit. Shay Hodge made some plays. I think as the season goes, those guys will become a pretty good unit.
Q: How much of the mistakes the last two games would be youth/inexperience versus road shock?
Coach O: I think it's a combination of both. We jumped offsides four times on the line of scrimmage with freshmen. I will pipe in crowd noise in practice from now on. I didn't think the crowd noise would be a factor at Kentucky, but it was. Maybe that will help eliminate some of the offsides. We need the three home games in a row. We need to practice well and we need to play well in the next three.
Q: How do you like the speed on your team?
Coach O: I like our team speed. We just have to use it better and quit making so many mistakes. We have some fast players on defense who aren't playing yet because they don't know the system yet, but they are getting there. Once they gain that experience, we'll be a faster defense.
Q: How can you eliminate the turnovers?
Coach O: Get after it more. I don't think it's a matter of doing things differently, I think it's a matter of doing what we do better. We always teach protecting the ball on offense and going after it on defense, but we aren't doing either as well as we should.
Q: You mentioned using more young players who weren't ready. Any specific positions?
Coach O: O-Line, D-Line, WR mostly is where we are younger than we'd like to be.
Q: What are your impressions of BenJarvus Green-Ellis so far?
Coach O: Tough. A winner. I expect a lot out of him, maybe too much. He gets 70 yards and we want him to get 200 but there aren't enough holes for him to get 200. Consistently, he's a very good football player.
Q: Wake Forest WR Willie Idlette is the ACC sprint champion. Will you package anything special for him?
Coach O: There are a few things we can do in our defense to help out, but to double himwould lead to trouble elsewhere. There are coverages we can play to be on top of him at all times and that's what we'll do.
Q: What is Mico McSwain's situation now?
Coach O: Mico is getting his shots in practice. We are in a very competitive situation at running back. Those guys who practice the best play the most.
Q: Discuss your QB play right now.
Coach O: We're not making great decisions with the ball in the Red Zone right now. Our decision-making is a work in progress. Also, I don't think our pass protection from the OL was very good at times. We have to look at what we are doing to get Brent more time. The fumbled snap - there's no excuse for that. Get the snap, and if not at least fall on the ball.
Q: Talk about expectations.
Coach O: Expectations from the outside are different from expectations from the inside. We are going to take it one game at a time. I didn't know what kind of team we were going to have with all these new players at the start of the year and I still don't, but my goal is to get better every week. We will live up to that expectation.
Monday Press Conference
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