Coach O - 'We're going to get there'

The following is Coach Ed Orgeron's postgame press conference at Memphis.

Coach Orgeron: I'm really proud of John Thompson and our defense. Our defense caused six turnovers which obviously was the difference in the game. Our guys hung in there. We did make some plays on special teams. Dustin Mouzon had a tremendous game. I was very disappointed with our run game. I thought Seth played a good game. The wide receivers dropped the ball a couple of times. But for his first time I think he was OK. Give credit to Memphis. They fought back. Tommy West did a good job with his ballclub with us up 23-0. You've got to give them a lot of credit.

Q: The theme of your camp has been to finish. How did your team finish?

O: Well, we finished. We made the play on the two-point play. We finished today. There were some plays last year where we didn't finish. We found a way to win the game. We didn't finish the way we wanted to the whole third and fourth quarter. But we found a way to win the game.

Q: There's been a lot of talk about this series. What are your thoughts?

O: I think it's good. But that's not one of my concerns. My concern is getting ready to play Missouri next week.

Q: Talk about the pressure your defense brought.

O: We got some good hits. We got Greg Hardy and we got Marcus Tillman and we got Peria Jerry. I think we have the makings of a good defensive line. We got wore down there in the third and fourth quarter. We're going to get there.

Q: How big a role did that play in the turnovers?

O: I think it played a big role. We had pressure all night. John had some good blitzes. Our defensive backfield was in pretty good position. So it's a combination of pressure and good coverage.

Q: Did you think you would get that much pressure on them? That wasn't something y'all did a lot last year.

O: We've talked, John and I. That's one of the things I brought him in for was for us to let it loose a little bit more. We did some research in the offseason, and I think we've got a pretty good package. I know he's going to expound on that package.

Q: Talk about Greg Hardy today.

O: Greg has a chance to be an outstanding player for us. I thought he got a little winded there in the fourth quarter. He's a guy that goes both ways. He catches a touchdown pass. He gets a sack. He's an outstanding athlete. We just need to put him in the best position as much as we can.

Q: What about Dustin Mouzon's 99-yard interception return for a touchdown?

O: I thought it was the turning point of the game. There they were about to score. It gave us tremendous momentum going into halftime. I think it was the difference in the ballgame.

Q: Did you feel that momentum turn the other way when they overturned the lateral?

O: Yes, it was 29 points or whatever. That could have been a big play in the ballgame. It was a very close call. But hey, that was the call.

Q: What was the call on defense there on Mouzon's 99-yard TD interception return?

O: That was an all-out blitz. That was an all-out go-get-him. That was John Thompson style football.

Q: How was it not calling the defensive plays?

O: It's kinda boring out there. I have complete confidence in the guys (calling the plays). I was able to be on the headsets with the offense. I was looking at what the defense did, just doing what I can to help. I have compete faith in both my callers. Just being around my team and being the head coach, it was fun.

Q: Talk about how you felt your defense played when their backs were against the wall.

O: We were hanging on there, but our guys believed. We made the play (late on the two-point conversion). We didn't play well there. We just didn't make some plays we're supposed to. They threw the ball to Duke Calhoun a few times. We got beat on the corner. We had some mismatches out there and they found them. But we were able to make the play at the end.

Q: How much did your offense miss Dexter McCluster?

O: A lot. We missed Dexter a lot. Dexter's a playmaker, and you can see the spark he brings to our offense.

Q: Talk about Chris Strong's first game.

O: First time in a (college) game. Spread offense. He had to make the calls. We had some blitzes where he had to make some difficult calls and he did well. He's a little overweight right now, but you can see that he is a tremendous football player.

Q: Was Joshua Shene shaky today?

O: Yes and we have to see why. He's a good kicker and I have complete confidence in him. But today wasn't a good day for him.

Q: It seemed your team had a chance to really have a big lead early but couldn't make that happen.

O: I don't know if we could have put ‘em away but we could have got a big lead in the first half and didn't do it. There were some opportunities there that we missed on.

Q: Memphis ran 96 plays and you ran 59 plays and you won.

O: That's a credit to the turnovers. Anytime you get that many turnovers, you should win the football game.


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