The following is a transcript of Ole Miss Coach Ed Orgeron's Monday press conference.
Coach O's Opening Statement: "After looking at the film of the Alabama game, we were pleased with the play of QB Brent Schaeffer. He played a pretty good game. Dan (Werner) was pleased with how he ran the offense and with his play. We didn't have any turnovers, which was a change for us on the road. I thought the TD after the fake punt was an excellent call by Dan. It was great to see Mike Wallace make a play and it was an excellent play by Brent, who had to scramble a little bit to get it off. It was exciting to see that play in our offense. In the Red Zone, we were 4-4, so we are happy about that.
"On special teams, the fake punt play was excellent. It was a play Coach (Hugh) Freeze had in his gameplan and we thought it was a good time to call it. It was very close on the spot, but we are happy Bruce (Hall) got the first down. We were very pleased with our PK Joshua Shene, who was 3-3 in field goals and had two real big kicks, including the one in overtime. Mico McSwain also had another good KO return.
"Defensively, Rory Johnson continues to play well. Patrick Willis' fourth-down stop to put us in overtime was a big-time play against a very good back. I was pleased to see Jeremy Garrett and Peria Jerry get in the rotation on the DL, which I think helped us. Obviously there were some negative things. There were too many big plays - eight big plays made by Alabama. They were critical.
"Overall, by no means are we satisfied by going to Alabama and losing in OT. I want to make that clear. That is not the intention of this program - to play close. We went to win. I thought we played better, but the team was hurting because they lost. We thought the outcome should have been different. We have to get our team back this week because we pulled out a lot of stops and went after Alabama hard. We will have to do the same thing to go on the road and play a fine Arkansas team. We will get them back. After we watch the film on Bama today, they are gone. We have to continue to get better. I was pleased we made fewer mistakes in this road game. We were not mistake-free, but we were better. We have to take the next step in our program. Fix the mistakes and go compete against Arkansas.
"Looking at Arkansas, they have played very well since the USC game. They have one of the better backs we are going to face in Darren McPhadden. He's having an excellent year and QB Mitch Mustain is doing a great job running their offense as a freshman. Marcus Monk is a big-time WR. He's tall and gave us problems last year on third downs. They have a very good offensive line and very good ofensive scheme.
"On defense, we know we are going to face an experienced group. They zone blitz and attack. They have 17 QB sacks already. I believe our team has confidence we can play a good team on the road and compete to win."
Q: What can you do to correct your third-down results on both sides of the ball?
Coach O: When we are making third-down packages, we are studying it hard and making decisions on protections, routes and everything. When we go into the game, we have an extensive plan. We got beat and we made some mistakes. The right calls were there, we just didn't play them right.
Q: Where have you seen the most improvement in your team the last three weeks?
Coach O: We are competing harder and we have gotten more physical. Our linebackers have improved, our DL has improved, Brent has improved, our running game is getting better each week, special teams continue to produce, our attitude is good.
Q: Is there a tandem of LBs you have coached better than Rory and Patrick?
Coach O: I haven't thought about that, but they have played pretty good. We've had some guys at Miami that were real good, but our guys are playing well.
Q: Arkansas played a lot of freshmen last year and grew up this year. Do you envision that for your program next year with these frosh getting a lot of time now?
Coach O: We take things day-by-day and I don't like to look at anyone else's program. We could do it like this or that, but everyone's program is different. Everybody is on a different timetable, but if you are asking me if it can be done, the answer is yes. I think you can see a turnaround in our program right now, although it's not in the wins right now. We are getting better and are competing with teams in the SEC. We are very close.
Q: How did Jamarca Sanford do coming off injury?
Coach O: OK. He's a good player but he missed some critical tackles on (Kenneth) Darby that allowed them to make big plays. It's always great to see him in there - we love his attitude.
Q: Talk about Josh Shene's progress.
Coach O: We have a lot of confidence in him now. The Alabama game was a turning point for him. He has now made some pressure field goals. He hasn't made a real long one yet, but he's passed the pressure test so far. We'll see if he can make the 50-55-yarder next time - I think he can. It's exciting to see we have a kicker in our program who can make pressure kicks. Last year, we couldn't make one against Alabama. This year we made three. That's progress.
Q: What have you seen out of Mustain so far?
Coach O: The main thing is that he has a great supporting cast. His OL is good, McPhadden is excellent and so is Monk. They don't ask him to do a lot of things. They are very smart in their approach with a freshman QB. He throws a lot of quick, easy throws. They run the ball a lot and it opens the passing game up for them. Monk is an outstanding receiver when they throw it. We can also see them doing some different things with him as weeks go by. He's showing more confidence. He had his best game against Vanderbilt. They threw for a bunch of yards against Vandy - we'll study that film a lot.
Q: How do Willis, Pack and Johnson compare to some great LBs you had at USC?
Coach O: I think Willis is one of the best players I have been around. Johnson is also becoming an impact player. To do what he has done in his first year is excellent. I can't wait for him to grow and really learn what he needs to do. I think Rory and Willis are a great tandem.
Q: Where are your offensive guys in their understanding and their rhythm in the offense?
Coach O: They are just hitting their rhythm now. I think you saw us last week call plays in the philosophy of the offense with Dan being comfortable in our guys to run it. We showed more variety and had some success. I think once we get our receivers to catch the ball better in key situations and on third downs, we will have more success. Our running game is where it needs to be at this point. It can improve but we have some good TBs and the OL is blocking well. We just need to improve in the overall passing game.
Q: What was the difference in Schaeffer and what is the status of BenJarvus Green-Ellis?
Coach O: BenJarvus is fine. I think he will play. He's banged up a little, like all good tailbacks are in the middle of the season in SEC football. I think Brent played with confidence. We rolled him out more and didn't give up any sacks. I think the plays we called were easy, short throws. He showed he can throw deep with the TD to Wallace. He has tremendous scrambling ability and can throw it on the run. There are things he needs to do better. Alabama gave us some things we could have taken advantage of and he didn't and some things he did take advantage of. As far as being the general out there, he has work to do.
Q: Is there anything else you can do on third downs to help you out?
Coach O: There are a lot of things we can do on third down. We have an extensive third-down package. I'm a four-man front third-down guy, but we don't have four DL right now who are big-time pass rushers yet, so we are going to a three-man package and we rush five. They scored their first TD on a five-man rush on a pass. Then we rushed three and got beat. I think it's a matter of getting our guys in better position and understanding what to do in every situation. I don't think it's what you call, it's playing what you call better.
Q: How did Garrett do in the game?
Coach O: He made a nice play on the goalline there. I think he's fine and we expect to get him in the mix more this week. That will give us some much-needed depth on the front.
Q: Can you tell us the status of Robert Lane, Dexter McCluster and Jason Cook?
Coach O: It's too early in the week to say.
Q: You have had the team emotionally high three straight weeks. How important is that and how difficult will it be to do it again this week?
Coach O: It's what we are about. We need to play every game with emotion and fire. I think if you do the same things each week and you don't gimmick things up when preparing your team, they will understand what to do. I know we pulled out a lot of stops last week and we are going to do the same this week. It's all Arkansas from this point on - no more Alabama talk after today.
Q: Have you been back to Arkansas since you coached there early in your career?
Coach O: I went there last spring. It has changed a lot. I'm excited to go back. There are some great people there. I learned a lot of football under Coach Ken Hatfield and Coach Fred Goldsmith. Those guys gave me my chance. It's a nice place and was good to me.
Q: When you say you pulled out a lot of stops, what do you mean?
Coach O: We got after it real hard in practice - there was something special in the air. We go hard every week, but we ramped it up every day and we will have to do that again. There was just a different feeling last week and we have to capture it again. On the road, you have to outplay the opponent to even have a chance.
Q: Even though you aren't looking for moral victories, do you see confidence and encouragement from the Alabama game?
Coach O: Yes, we built a lot of confidence. We were worried after Kentucky and Missouri. We knew we had to play better. We had to eliminate mistakes and compete. We did that and it's showing now.
Monday Press Conference
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