Postgame Press Conference

Ole Miss Coach Ed Orgeron isn't into moral victories, but after watching his team drop a hard-fought 14-9 contest to 10th-rated Georgia in Oxford last night, he couldn't help but express pride in the team's performance. Read his press conference inside.

The following is Ole Miss Coach Ed Orgeron's postgame press conference following the 14-9 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs Saturday night.

Coach O's opening statemnt: "On Tuesday, we got back to practicing the way I thought we needed to practice. We went back to some fundamental things and I think it showed tonight on the field. I was proud of my team the way they played against Georgia. Obviously we made some critical errors at the outside linebacker position in the second half that cost us on their long drive. We need to get better there. On the fourth down we went for, Dexter (McCluster) had the ball in his hands. No telling what happens if he makes that play. We were a couple of plays away from winning that football game. I thought my team outplayed Georgia and I think my coaching staff did a great job. Did we fall short? Yes. There's no second place, I understand that. But I was really proud of the way we practiced and proud of the way we competed. I think it's something we can build on. We changed a few fundamental principles of our program and we will stick to those."

Q: Did you feel you had a better chance of winning a low-scoring game versus a shootout?

Coach O: You have to play good defense to win. I have never been a part of a good team that has to outscore people. I told the team that and it was time for our defense to show up. We needed to play good defense and we played better tonight.

Q: Moving Marcus Tillman to DT and moving Rory Johnson into the starting lineup at WLB - did the added speed on your front seven give Georgia problems?

Coach O: I don't know, but we played better. Marcus did a nice job inside. We had four or five true freshmen playing against a good team and we held them to under 250 yards. We seemed to get good penetration - maybe speed was a factor.

Q: Talk about BenJarvus Green-Ellis getting 135 yards rushing tonight?

Coach O: I was proud of him and the offensive line and OL Coach Art Kehoe and OC Dan Werner. To have success, we have to run the ball, we have to put it in BenJarvus' hands.

Q: Were you surprised you had that much success on the ground with a makeshift OL that was playing without your top two RTs?

Coach O: Not really. I knew our guys were ready to play. The crowd was fantastic and the electricity was in the air in the Grove. We obviously needed to win this game, but we also needed this kind of showing for confidence and to understand the way we are going to do things and that if they continue doing them this way we are going to have success. We have a few players banged up, but we aren't making any excuses. Just put someone else in there and let them play.

Q: Will Marcus stay inside at DT or is that a move you made because Hayward Howard was out?

Coach O: If guys do not do what I ask of them during the week, I'm not going to play them in games. We made the move because guys were not doing what they were supposed to do on the field.

Q: You blocked two punts tonight. Talk about those.

Coach O: Give Coach Chris Rippon credit. He's worked really hard on getting that done. We got a questionable holding call on one of them. Georgia's punter was really slow. He was a three-step guy. He looked like a nose tackle out there. We felt all week we could get it blocked and we did. I was ribbing the guys yesteday that if we couldn't block his punts, we might never get one. They believed it. On the holding call on our first blocked punt, it was a ridiculous call. It had nothing to do with the play. Ridiculous.

Q: Assess the defense's improvement.

Coach O: We stopped the run, for the most part, but we gave up a couple of plays where they bounced it outside on the edge. Those are just fundamental assignments we should have gotten done. We played better at NT and DT. I thought Patrick Willis played better and Rory Johnson did a nice job, but he did miss one big play on fourth down. He's got contain on the outside and he gave up a big play. We got outphysicaled a couple of time and we lost our technique a couple of times, but overall we did OK.

Q: Did Rory have a good week's practice?

Coach O: Not really - he made a lot of mistakes in practice, but we just had to put him in there and start playing our fastest players. He brings a lot of speed to our defense. We will continue to watch him grow.

Q: What was your thought process on going for it on fourth-and-five instead of taking the field goal?

Coach O: We were playing to win. I wanted to get a lead. We're going to go for it sometimes and take some chances. I felt good about that one. The play called was the right play and the ball was there. Normally Dexter catches it. I also thought about going for an onside kick with 6 minutes. I wanted to but nobody else did. (laughed)

Q: What about Brent Schaeffer's play?

Coach O: He did some good things. His scrambles were good and he threw some good balls. He still needs to make better decisions more consistently, but he was under a lot of heat in the first half. We were struggling protecting him, but Dan and Art did a good job of changing the protections and buying him some more time in the second half.

Q: We know you are not into moral victories, but would you consider this game one of those?

Coach O: It's something to build on. I'm proud of my team. I hear there is a lot of negative stuff going on outside here. We don't read the paper and we don't get on the internet. We just come to work and coach. I'm really proud of my staff and my team. It felt like there were influences on the outside wanting us to fail and we aren't going to do that. We want to win. The difference in this team this year is that we are not allowing outside influences affect the way we coach and the way we play and I'm proud of that.

Q: What has prevented you from making that big giant step into victory lane?

Coach O: We are thin on both lines, we need to play better in the secondary and we need to score more points. It all starts up front. The guys are getting better, but we need more linemen on both sides of the ball. We are short personnel-wise. We have five or six guys on the OL who can play on this level and four or five on the DL.

Q: You said last week the intensity level would be better and it was. You backed up what you said.

Coach O: That's what I'm supposed to do. I just love to coach ball and I am going to coach like this for a long time.

Q: Talk about Brent's late interception.

Coach O: He may have forced it a little bit, I don't know. But I'll tell you this - I thought we were going to go down and win the game. We had everything you want. The momentum, the crowd, the plan - but that's where we are right now, we are just falling a little short, but I was proud of the way we competed.

Q: Did SS Jamal Harvey and LB Jonathan Cornell do well?

Coach O: No doubt. They may start after this. If Jamarca is healthy he will start at SS, but I liked the way Jamal played. Jamal is a really good athlete and we are fortunate to have him. We beat Florida State at the end for him and he's going to be a great player for us.

Q: Your excitement level was high tonight.

Coach O: Yes, it was. This is an emotional game and I am an emotional guy. The crowd was fired up and we were making some plays and I was having fun.

Q: Catch us up on the status of Peria Jerry.

Coach O: I doubt he will play the rest of the year. He's hurt. I don't know that for sure, but that's what I think. I think he's still eligible for a medical redshirt.

Q: When did you feel the turnaround that produced tonight's effort?

Coach O: Tuesday. The guys knew - we knew. We didn't play well the past week or two and we knew we had to turn it around. I could feel a change Tuesday with a great practice.

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