The following are player/assistant coach comments after the 14-9 loss to Georgia in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Satruday night.
MLB Patrick Willis: (On the game) We came out with fire and effort and for the first time since Memphis, we finished a game playing as hard at the end as we did at the start. I think this game against the 10th-ranked team in the country proves to everyone what we can do if we put our minds to it and put our hearts into it. This is a good starting point. (On the defense) I thought the speed of our front seven with Marcus Tillman at DT and Rory Johnson at WLB gave Georgia some problems. We brought it today and they didn't handle it very well. Brandon Jenkins stayed fired up the entire game, Greg Hardy gets better every snap, Chris (Bowers) flew around all night and Marcus - what can I say about him? Moving a true freshman from DE to DT and watching him produce like he did. That was some good stuff. Later, (Jonathan) Cornell came out there and played very well. It felt good. (On Rory Johnson) For the most part, he was doing well with his assignments, but I had to help him some. It felt good to have him in there flying around. I made one tackle and felt someone swooping in to help and thought 'who is that?' It was Rory, who was away from the play, but almost got there before I did. I told him a little while ago that I was proud of him. All he has to do is keep working and he will be an excellent player. (On Georgia's gameplan from the 1st to 2nd half) They didn't change much, they just hit us with a big run or two and one big pass. That happens - they outexecuted us on those plays. For the most part, we had what they wanted to do covered, but they are number 10 in the nation because they are good and they were going to hit a few plays.
Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner: (On the game) We did a pretty good job in some phases, but the first thing we have to fix is our pass protections. Brent (Schaeffer) has to have time to throw and he's not getting that. We had the running game going, but you have to be able to run and throw. We'll keep working at it. We had a couple of guys banged up on the offensive line and had to move Andrew Wicker outside to RT, where he has never played. We knew it would be tough, but that kid battled. I am proud of the way all the guys battled. We got the running game going with an unbalanced line, putting both tackles on one side. That's a nice looking package that's working well for us right now. I really thought some throws out of that package would be good too, but we just never had time to throw or our receivers were covered. We knew Brent wasn't going to have time to go to his fifth progression or anything like that, but we thought we'd get to the second or third progression and sometimes he didn't even have time for that. Also, there were some times when Brent could have thrown it a little quicker. Those are things we can work on, but the bottom line is we have to be ble to throw better. We'll get there. (On BenJarvus Green-Ellis) If you had told me we were going to have a 135-yard rusher, I would have told you we would win the game. One or two plays the other way and we probably would have. BenJarvus ran hard all night. He did an excellent job - he is my kind of back. (On moral victories) I'm proud of the way our guys battled, but to be a good football team, you have to finish. We felt we had them on the ropes during the two-minute drill. We had some guys open, but it just didn't work out our way. Our guys are going to keep battling and we are going to keep coaching them hard. We are going to get this thing rolling. I hope the players can see we can move the ball against a top-notch defense and that our defense is going to help the offense out. We'll show them the film, correct our mistakes and get better. The kids will be able to see a lot of things they did right and they'll know the things they did wrong are correctable.
RG John Jerry: (On the OL's performance) We all bought into what Coach O and the staff were selling this week. They came with a different approach and we liked it. I expect them to turn it up next week too. I liked it. I came to a lot of practices last year and this past week was more like those practices - high energy, high intensity. That carries over to the game. We did a real good job of run-blocking, but we had trouble protecting Brent. We have to be more consistent with pass protection. We did fine sometimes, but other times we broke down. Run-blocking was pretty consistent the whole game, but our pass blocking was not. We can fix that.
CB Cassius Vaughn: (On his blocked punt) Everyone fired off the ball and did their assignments. Dustin (Mouzon) went outside and opened a lane for me by drawing the blocker to him. I dove for it and got my hands on it. We came close three or four times. Dustin got one too, but it was called back. That time, the blocker went with me and Dustin had a lane open up. It all felt good. The coaches sold us all week that we could block some punts and we worked hard on it.
FS Jamal Harvey: (On his extensive playing time when Jamarcas Sanford went down with an ankle injury and B. Brown went down with cramps) I was pretty nervous, but I just tried to limit my mistakes. I was comfortable - football is football, but I was cautious. There was always something in the back of my mind that told me to be conservative this first time so I wouldn't have a big bust. The older guys helped me out a lot. I'm close to playing without that hesitation, but it was there some tonight. I was prepared and am getting more and more in tune, but I still have things to learn before everything is second nature to me. I was happy with the way I played tonight, all things considered. This will help my confidence and get me going in the right direction.
TB BenJarvus Green-Ellis: (On his rushing performance) It was OK, but I never feel good about losing. Maybe I could have done more. If we had all done a little more, we would be smiling a lot right now. We never lost our belief the past three weeks. We are confident in our ability, but we just haven't quite put it all together on offense, defense and special teams yet. Tonight was a lot closer, but we still have work to do. (On the unbalanced look) Our heavy look, with two tackles on one side of the line, worked tonight. I was getting some good holes to run through. The pulling guard going to the side with two tackles put a lot of beef to run behind. Georgia adjusted to it a little in the second half, but it was still there for the most part. (On moral victories) I don't like them. It doesn't matter to me if we are playing the number 10 team, number 100 team or number 1 team. We are supposed to win and finish games. We were right there, one step away, but we didn't get it done. I'm not saying I'm not proud of the effort - I am, but we're here to win, not play close. Sixty minutes, finish, win. We're capable.
Secondary Coach Chris Rippon: (On the blocked punts) They were a thing of beauty to me. We felt in watching Georgia's film that there were a couple of things we could take advantage of. We had some free guys before in other games but hadn't made it happen. Tonight, the guys made it happen. One of the blocks tonight was a called return, but in our scheme, which is aggressive, Dustin broke free and blocked the son of a gun. Cassius' block was a called block. It was great because there may not be a more exciting, momentum-changing play in football. We got one and thought 'why not another?' The kids worked hard to make it happen and it was nice to see them rewarded. (On the secondary) We played a lot better. We played hard and made a lot of plays. We lost Jamarca Sanford on the first series and B. Brown steps up, but then he goes down. We have to put freshman Jamal Harvey in there and he didn't blink. He played well. Trumaine McBride played his guy man-to-man and tough all day long. And my heart goes out to Nate Banks. He was in great position on the long pass they hit and did exactly what I asked him to do, but sometimes those guys (opposing WRs) make a play too, you know? Their kid went over Nate's back and made the play. 99 out of 100 times, in that kind of position, that play is stopped. I don't want him getting down on himself for that play. He bounced back. He's getting more mature and gaining some confidence. He doesn't need to let that play stick with him. Charles Clark had one of his best games at Ole Miss at free safety. We gave them some problems with what we were doing disguise-wise. They never knew which safety was coming down, which technique the corner was playing, etc. They tried to take us downtown six times. They were 0-5 until they hit the last one. We were also able to create some pressure with some secondary blitzes. Nate had a sack. Coach O called a great game tonight. I saw a different mentality out there tonight. Our kids are such good kids that sometimes I think they play a little tentative because they don't want to make the big mistake. Tonight, I thought they felt like they had nothing to lose and they played that way. They played extremely hard. This hurts bad, but I think our guys will build off this and get it done in the future.
QB Brent Schaffer: (On his scrambles) Most of them were not scripted. I was just pressured and took off trying to make something happen. the Georgia DL was coming hard off the edge and I was just trying to slow them down by taking off some of the time. I was trying to make them hesitate in their pass rush. (On the offense) I thought we were in synch better tonight. We were clicking way better than we were last week. That's a positive. We were able to run the ball and that made everyone's job easier. Ben had about six yards a carry - great job. (On the feeling of the team) We fell a little short, but this gives us confidence knowing we have the talent to play with one of the better teams in the SEC. We just have to get on the same page a little better and I think we will become the team we want to be.
DE/DT Marcus Tillman: (On playing DT) I like end better, but I did what I had to do. I thought our inside speed helped us sometimes, but sometimes I was overmatched. I should have made a few more plays, but I did the best I could for my first time at DT. I have to get my hands moving faster before the OL fits me. Once they fit you, you are toast. I will get better.
From the Locker Room -
OM Spirit Top Stories
Rebels Preparing for Fournette, GuiceOle Miss defensive end John Youngblood has had his mind on stopping LSU running backs Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice this week.
OM Spirit6:45 AM
WRs Holding Each Other AccountableAfter some uncharacteristic drops in last Saturday's 34-30 loss against Arkansas, Ole Miss WR Quincy Adeboyejo says the Rebels are keeping each other accountable to prevent dropped…
OM Spirit12:51 AM
Freeze Frames: LSU Up NextOle Miss head coach Hugh Freeze met the media Wednesday afternoon to discuss the practice week thus far, as well as LSU and much more.
OM SpiritYesterday at 4:51 PM
Pickett has major breakout potentialOle Miss landed Jamarko Pickett on Thursday. While being a bit off the radar, Pickett shows tremendous upside and long term potential.
Scout Hoops8:26 AM
Jamarko Pickett commits to Ole MissOle Miss adds their third pledge of the class, as Jamarko Pickett committed to Andy Kennedy on Thursday.
Scout Hoops8:02 AM