Monday Press Conference

The Ole Miss football team is coming off a 38-3 setback at the hands of Arkansas and faces number 7 Auburn this weekend in Oxford. So what's the good news? Coach Ed Orgeron said in his press conference today that the Rebs will be ready to play. Read about it inside.

The following is Ole Miss Coach Ed Orgeron's Monday press conference prior to the Auburn game.

Coach O's Opening Statement: "After watching the film of the game, I have to give credit to Arkansas for making some very big plays when they had to. We had some opportunities to make some big plays and we didn't, especially on offense. We had some guys open and either didn't catch the ball, throw the ball well or protect. It was a combination deal. On special teams we had a big breakdown on the opening kickoff. They had a wedge return and we didn't hit the wedge the way we should have. They went 100 yards with it. That set the tone for the game.

"Defensively, we gave up the screen for 70 yards and we gave up a long throw late. Other than that, I thought we performed very well against their run game. We saw improvement there. Overall, we did not play very well. Give Arkansas credit - they are a very good football team that performed well that day.

"Now we have to change our focus to another great team - the 7-1 Auburn Tigers. They have an outstanding RB in Kenny Irons. They have a very quick, physical defense, but I know our team is going to be ready. We are anxious to get to practice today and prepare for Auburn."

Q: Did you feel the team was going to be kind of flat last week after pulling out all stops for Alabama?

Coach O: No. We had some really good practices last week. Saturday morning we were a little quiet in pregame. Then we get hit with the big kickoff return which startled me a little bit. I thought we were more prepared than that, but I thought as the game progressed, we played better in spurts. It just took us some time to warm up.

Q: How much of the emotional state of the team is the responsibility of the players and how much is the responsibility of the coaches?

Coach O: It's a combination of everything. We have a system here, but I am responsible for everything.

Q: Talk about Auburn QB Brandon Cox.

Coach O: He's more mature and is able to run the offense better in a very good scheme. It's not a complicated scheme, but they do things right with good players.

Q: Talk about your wide receiver progress and what you are looking for out of them.

Coach O: We have to have guys who can make the plays when we need them to. We have to have guys doing fundamental things. We have to continue to recruit better receivers, bigger receivers and faster receivers. As we play the better teams in the SEC, we can continue to see where we have to get better. Receiver is one of those positions. With the ones we have, we have to continue to work on catching the ball and getting open.

Q: Where is your team emotionally and mentally?

Coach O: We're fine. I think we'll regroup today and be ready to focus on Auburn. Our program is one day at a time, one game at a time. We knew we were coming into a tough stretch, but we are prepared for it.

Q: Is there anyone in the receiving corps who is catching on and has a bright future?

Coach O: Hopefully they all do. I think Mike Hicks has done some good things, despite a couple of drops. Shay Hodge has done well. Dexter McCluster will be fine, even though I don't think he will play again this week. We are confident those guys are good players - they just need some help.

Q: Overall, was your pass protection a little better Saturday?

Coach O: I thought it was a lot better. Overall, it was a lot better. I am really pleased to see that Maurice Miller is doing a good job for us at right tackle.

Q: What is your approach in practice after a loss?

Coach O: Sometimes we need to stay positive, sometimes we need to get on them some. I'm sure today there will be more 'getting on' than 'staying positive.'

Q: Do you have any playmakers waiting in the wings that are almost ready?

Coach O: We're pretty limited with where we can go with position changes now. We've tried a lot of players at a lot of positions. Greg Hardy can catch the ball well, but we are going to keep him on defense. We don't have many options left to find playmakers at receiver.

Q: Talk about the progress of your defensive line.

Coach O: I'm really pleased. I think (DL Coach) Ryan Nielsen is doing a good job. Those guys are coming along. Having Jeremy Garrett back helps us. Brandon Jenkins is playing a lot better. Chris Bowers is doing a good job. Hopefully we can get Peria Jerry back this week. We're doing OK up front. You can tell a difference.

Q: Is Auburn still the same old Auburn - talent-rich?

Coach O: Sure. I haven't watched them much today, but I will study them extensively through the week. I kind of know what to expect of them because this is my fourth time playing them and I know the type of system they will run. We really feel we will be very well-prepared.

Q: What kind of problems does Auburn OC Al Borges give you as the Rebel DC?

Coach O: Last year it was tick-and-tack for a while then they hit a couple of reverses on us. They loosened us up some with those plays. He knows how to attack the secondary. We played pretty good against their run game last year. He will be multiple with his formations and spread the ball around.

Q: What do you know about Auburn DC Will Muschamp?

Coach O: They have a very good defensive line. We didn't touch Quentin Groves one time last year, it didn't seem like. They moved Will Herring from safety to LB and always have very fast linebackers. They have an attacking DL. Their NT is about 6-0, 300 pounds and he hunts the ball very well. We will have to work with Corey Actis about how they use their hands and hunt the ball. They swarm and play some Bear alignments with nine men in the box and on the line of scrimmage. They play press coverage and zone blitz. They have five INTs and seven fumble recoveries. They don't give up the ball on offense and they go get the ball on defense. They are a good, solid, fast defense. They are giving up 12 points a game average.

Q: How is Quentin Taylor doing at FB?

Coach O: OK. There's improvement to make, but he gives us a body there.

Q: What is John Jerry's status?

Coach O: I don't know for sure, but how can a big guy like that get hurt? (smiles) I expect him to play. Injuries have obviously taken a toll on us, but we can't look back. We have to go. We are right in the meat of our schedule and have to stay positive and get the most out of our team that we can. I think Robert (Lane) may be back this week, too. Q: Talk about playing ranked teams back-to-back.

Coach O: I like playing big teams, ranked teams. For three games, I thought our team performed pretty good and I thought we were about to get over the hump, but we took a step back against Arkansas. That will give us some motivation this week to get back to some tough, hard-nosed, physical ways and get ready for a good Auburn team.

Q: Can you talk about the guys we aren't seeing in terms of their progress? Markeith Summers? Allen Walker? Michael Herrick?

Coach O: They are doing well. I don't know if Markeith or Allen are going to play this year or not yet. We'd like to redshirt them since it is so late in the year. Michael Herrick will not play, for sure. The other two probably won't play, but you never can tell. Summers is still at corner and Allen is at free safety.

Q: With four games remaining, you have three at home. You have a chance to get something going that will carry over into recruiting. Your thoughts?

Coach O: There's no doubt. I really believe this team will finish strong. We will take the games one at a time. I know we will all take Auburn seriously. We're at home, we want to play well. It's about us, not Auburn. We come back home knowing we didn't play well against Arkansas, but knowing we can play well against the best teams in the SEC. We can rise to the challenge.

Q: What about LB Jonathan Cornell - will he play more, do you think?

Coach O: I think he will get more snaps. I'd like him to get a lot more and think you will see that the rest of this year.

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