The following is Ole Miss Coach Ed Orgeron's press conference following the 26-23 overtime loss to Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
Coach O's Opening Statement: "We are obviously disappointed. We came here to win and prepared to win. We all believed we were going to win but we just fell short. I'm very proud of my football team though. They are hurting inside. I was really excited to see the offense make some improvement. I give credit to Coach Dan Werner and his staff. I thought the offense did a fantastic job. We played good in spots on defense, but we made too many mistakes on third down. We got beat on third down at the cornerback positions - we have to fix that. The last play of the game in overtime, we knew they were going to pass the ball and we were right there, but give them credit - they made a good play. I was really pleased to see Josh Shene kick his field goals. Last year we couldn't kick them, so we have made some improvement there. This was a key game for our program. We really wanted to come in here and beat Alabama and we threw everything we had at them. Now, we have to bounce back, and we will. We will get ready to play Arkansas and will find a way. We will keep on working. That was the best my team has played since I have been here. I think you can see that we have made improvement and are getting closer to where we want to be."
Q: You have to be pleased with the way your team handled the noise.
Coach O: Yes, we were ready for it. We knew all their songs by heart - we heard them all week in practice with piped in crowd noise. I was surprised I didn't hear the elephant more.
Q: What did you see in Brent Schaeffer today?
Coach O: The ability to make plays when he needed them, his scrambling ability. I thought our protection was better in spots. The throw to Mike Wallace for the long score was excellent. We knew he could throw the deep ball given enough time. We moved him around a lot today - rolled him out and he made some good decisions. A big improvement. We know he can be a weapon for us.
Q: What was your thinking late in the first half when you had the ball on their seven with 50 seconds to go and you took the field goal after three runs?
Coach O: We were just being conservative and trying to get the field goal to go into the locker room with a lead. That's what we did. I didn't want to risk throwing a pick there in the end zone because I felt it was important to take the points and go into the half with a lead. That gave us momentum going into intermission.
Q: The wide receivers seemed to catch the ball better today.
Coach O: We coached them really hard this week. If they dropped the ball, they had to do up-downs. We had to in order to get their attention that drops are not going to be tolerated. I guess it worked.
Q: What about Bama's TD in OT?
Coach O: We were in man coverage, he ran an angle route and our linebacker overstepped him a step. The guy came back inside and made a play.
Q: Talk about Kenneth Darby's second half success in the Bama running game.
Coach O: He broke a lot of tackles and made a lot of big runs. We know he's a good back and we'd have to bottle him up the whole game, which we didn't.
Q: Was BenJarvus Green-Ellis hurt in the fourth quarter?
Coach O: I don't know. I will find out, but I'm not sure.
Q: What did you tell your guys in the locker room?
Coach O: They gave it everything they had. They came here to win and we fell one play short. We didn't make some third-down plays on defense and we missed some tackles, but we had a chance to win the game. I told them I was proud of them.
Q: Talk about the fake punt.
Coach O: We practice it a lot. Give Coach Hugh Freeze the credit. He designed it and it was a good time to do it. It worked.
Q: Did Alabama do anything differently in the second half on offense?
Coach O: No, we just missed tackles. I could feel us wearing down some - I could see it. We had a couple of guys we were going to put in the rotation, but they weren't ready at game time. We missed some tackles and we will find out why, but I think fatigue was part of it today.
Q: Do you think your team is gaining momentum?
Coach O: In a way, yes. We want to be able to compete in arenas like this and we did. Now we want to take it a step further and win. I think our young guys are getting better and I think they are learning lessons in what it takes to win. Ole Miss has not won here since 1988 and we were one play away today, so we're getting there, but it's going to take just a little bit more.
Q: Talk about Josh Shene.
Coach O: He won the job in practice and we've been patient with him. We just wanted to let him grow as a kicker and he has. He did a great job today.
Postgame press conference
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