Monday Press Conference -

In Monday's press conference, Ole Miss Coach Ed Orgeron expressed he is proud of his team's attitude during a tough 10-week stretch without an open date and he does not fear an emotional letdown when the Rebels face his alma mater, Northwestern State University, this weekend. Read about it inside.

The following is a transcript of Ole Miss Coach Ed Orgeron's Monday press conference prior to the Northwestern State matchup Saturday at 1 p.m.

Coach O's Opening Statement: "We are excited to start our 10th straight week. I'm really proud of our coaches and the players and the attitude they have kept up for 10 straight games without a break. We are looking forward to building on what I thought was one of our best games, in a lot of areas, against Auburn.

"On offense, we made some big plays. We thought we were going to have to start fast and we made some big plays early, especially with finding Robert Lane over the middle. It's good to have him back - he brings a spark to our team. I really felt that after watching last year's Auburn game versus this one, you could see a lot of improvement on the offense, especially on the offensive line. I think Coach (Art) Kehoe has done a tremendous job with our OL and I was really pleased to see we handled their front most of the game. We did make some mistakes and gave up a couple of sacks, but there was tremendous improvement. The play of (TB) Bruce Hall was very good. He also gives us a spark and made some good plays for us. I thought the two trick plays - one a halfback pass with Bruce and the reverse to Mico (McSwain) - were excellent calls by Dan Werner. We'd like to see more of that in our offense. We thought (Brent) Schaeffer had perhaps his best game. I liked the way he handled the offense. He wasn't perfect, but he did very well and was more of what we expect him to be. (LT) Michael Oher had one of his best games as well. We also thought their NT was very good and he played an unusual technique, but we thought Corey Actis played a very good game. We are very proud of the way Corey played.

"On defense, the physical play and the competitive attitude of our young players lasted throughout the whole game. You can see on the last series Greg Hardy making a tackle behind the LOS. Our guys gave it all they had for 60 minutes and that was our goal. For most of the game, we did a pretty good job against the run and we held Auburn to 4-14 on third downs, which is a pretty good percentage for us. I thought Patrick Willis and Rory Johnson were very good, Greg Hardy had an outstanding game and (FS) Charles Clark had his best game since I have been here. He made a lot of tackles and had an interception. He was very active in what we asked him to do. We were also very pleased with the play of Jamarca Sanford at Sam LB.

"On special teams, Coach (Hugh) Freeze did another great job with the punting team, using the rugby style kicks a couple of times to pen Auburn down deep in their territory. Josh Shene is 8-10 in field goals now and perfect on his PATs. That's a lot better than we've been. We are making progress.

"Looking at NW State, they have a good defensive front. They are not giving up a lot of yards. I know them very well. They are not going to have 22 great players on the field, but they will have two or three every year that will be picked in the top three rounds of the NFL draft. They have had some great guys in their program. We will have to get ready. On offense they are strong at RB and they will always have good skill position players. I graduated from Northwestern State. I am very appreciative of my degree from there, which has allowed me to coach. We will get ready for them like every other team we face and we look forward to practice and the process of getting better. We want to move forward this week."

Q: Talk about some of the standout players you played with there.

Coach O: Bobby Hebert, Mark Duper, Victor Otis, Joe Delaney - we had a lot of good football players on that team. We had a lot of guys go to the NFL.

Q: Is this a week you can rest some guys?

Coach O: No. We are going to go get it. We are going to treat NW State like any other team on our schedule. There's no resting for us.

Q: Can you expand on Jamarca's play more?

Coach O: The closer he is to the ball, the better he is. He's tenacious. He's going to get after it, he's fast, and he's a good tackler. He has to work on his technique, but overall, I have always liked Jamarca and believe he plays defense the way it should be played. I think he will be a good SLB and I feel we've gotten better there.

Q: You mentioned Saturday night your guys weren't quite getting there on the blitz. After watching the film, are there specific reasons why?

Coach O: They were throwing it quick, most of the time. We used the blitz against the run and it was effective a lot of times. But then they started cutting our linemen and throwing the slants, so we stopped blitzing as much. We blitz more than we have ever blitzed and a lot of them worked against the run. We knew Cox was going to roll left and we had a guy coming from the boundary, but they were slipping the TE to the flat and we weren't covering him quickly enough.

Q: What is the danger with NW State?

Coach O: If you allow them to, which we won't, they will want to come in here and make a statement. This is a signature game for them - a game against an SEC team. They want us to underestimate them, but we are not in a position to underestimate anyone. I expect my team to understand that and I believe they will get that message today.

Q: Has Bruce Hall earned more playing time and how much does that help BenJarvus Green-Ellis with his shoulder problems?

Coach O: It helps a bunch. He has earned more playing time. Bruce is a team guy who hardly says anything. We'd like to see him more and do more with him.

Q: Do you expect to incorporate Robert Lane into the passing game more?

Coach O: I've been wanting to do that since August, but Robert has been out for a few weeks. We may play Lawrence Lilly at TE and put Robert in the backfield more to give him a chance to be really active in the passing game and in catching the ball.

Q: What about the three players who were here and are now at NW State - Rogers Loche, Tim Henderson and Gary Riggs?

Coach O: I'm really happy for them and that they are doing well. I'm proud for them and their parents. It's an opportunity for them to play and to get an education. It's a good school. I am really glad to see they made it and I am happy for them. They have a good program there. Coach Stoker is doing a good job. You watch their film and can see they are doing the right things and are well-coached. Those guys will help them.

Q: Talk more about Corey Actis.

Coach O: When we went out to recruit last year, we saw him running down the field and giving extra effort. He's very tough and that's what we wanted and needed. In the SEC, your center has to be tough. Auburn was a huge test for him. He's grown within the program and accepted the challenge. I give Kehoe a lot of that credit. Art knows how to get to these guys - how to challenge them. I can really see the progress in our OL. Another guy who had a great game was John Jerry. He didn't practice last week until Thursday and he made some fantastic blocks against some pretty good defensive players and scheme.

Q: NW State wants to make a statement. What about you? Is it important to not only beat them but to beat them soundly?

Coach O: I just want us to play well and win. I want us to give great effort, eliminate penalties, play well. I want us to get better, regardless of the opponent. This is a big challenge for us. We know we can get ready for Auburn and Alabama. We need to do the same no matter who we play.

Q: Injuries in general have taken their toll. Any chance to get some players back?

Coach O: With the open week next week, I think we will eventually get most of our guys back.

Q: Talk more about Schaeffer.

Coach O: I liked the way he handled himself out there. He operated the offense better, making some good checks at the line. He handled himself well. He had a very good competitive attitude out there. He showed in a big game that he wants to be a big-time QB.

Q: Do you think it will be sooner or later to get Dexter McCluster back?

Coach O: I hate to say it, but it doesn't look like he's coming back any time soon. He's lost some strength and is not able to support his neck properly right now. I'm not sure if he will come back or not right now.

Q: What about Chris Bowers?

Coach O: I don't know about him yet - maybe later today I will know something.

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