Coach O postgame

The following is Coach Ed Orgeron's postgame press conference after his Ole Miss Rebels lost to the Missouri Tigers 38-25 in Oxford Saturday night.

ORGERON: Give Missouri credit. That was a very good football that we played today. Chase Daniel is one of the better players we've seen since I've been here. Give them the credit. The first half we're going down there to score (to make it 14-7) but we fumble the ball and give them the football. Going in at halftime, I was proud of my team. We were down and we'd given up some big plays. Our offense especially made some adjustments. BenJarvus Green-Ellis had 226 yards rushing. That was a positive for us. Also the way Seth (Adams) operated the offense. We made some big plays in the passing game. I thought overall in the second half, we played a pretty good football game. I know we've got to play for four quarters and we've got to win. But I was proud of our team to battle. They battled the whole way. We really thought we were going to win the game at the end. There were some very positive things I feel that happened to our team, especially in the second half. We were down and we fought. I thought we outplayed them for the most part in the second half after their first drive. I thought our offense looked like a completely different offense, the best it's ever looked this year. So I think we found some positives. I'm most proud of them for fighting the whole game. Give credit again to Missouri. It's a tough offense to defend, a spread offense and a good quarterback and some good players. We got outmatched in some situations out there. We changed some things at halftime that I think worked for the most part.

Q: Talk more about BenJarvus Green-Ellis tonight.

O: The offensive line blocked a little better. He had some holes and ran tough. I thought it was his type of game. Give credit to Dan Werner and the offensive staff. I was on them very hard about our running game. They did some good things tonight.

Q: Talk about Seth's play through two games.

O: It's exactly what we're looking for, a guy who is very consistent and operates the offense the way we want him to. He was cool under pressure. It was disappointing he threw an interception at the end. But for the most part he's the type of quarterback we're looking for.

Q: What did you think of Seth early tonight? He seemed to be off, threw behind receivers, etc.

O: I think the speed of their defense (was part of it). I was on the headsets. We knew exactly what they were running. Our running game couldn't get going, and there were a couple of miscommunications between him and the receiver. I thought as the game went on he hung in there.

Q: How much concern do you have about your defense after tonight?

O: We don't have a lot of depth at linebacker. We want to go to a nickel or bandit package. It takes more DBs and linebackers that are very athletic, and that's a concern. I was concerned about us getting beat at the corner position tonight with the deep balls. We have to look and see if it's technique or if we have to put somebody else in there.

Q: The defense has been on the field a lot the first two games, averaging about 90 plays a game. Is that a concern for long term?

O: You're going to be on the field a bunch against these offenses. These guys are going to average 40 points a game. That's the type of offense they have.

Q: When Jonathan Cornell went out (late in the first quarter), what did that do to your defense?

O: Brandon (Thomas) had to go in and he did good. (Losing Jonathan during the game) eliminated some of our packages. Jonathan is one of our best players out there. Playing an offense with so much speed, we tried to put speed out there. A couple of guys stepped in and did an OK job.

Q: Talk about Jamie Phillips tonight.

O: Proud of Jamie. He's been in the system now and was with us this spring. At one time he was a starter. Now he's a second-teamer and doing a good job. He answered the call tonight.

Q: Talk more about Chase Daniel for them.

O: He spreads you out. He knows where to go with it. He has good leadership and is also a good runner. He has some good targets out there and has a quick release. He is hard to get to in that shotgun. We wanted to but we couldn't.

Q: Talk about your receivers tonight.

O: Really pleased with the progress they made from the first game. I was disappointed in the Memphis game with the drops and the fumbles. They worked very hard this week. They're coming along. Glad to have Shay Hodge out there. I thought Mike Wallace had his best game since he's been here.

Q: Your team had 534 yards of offense. Can they sustain that as SEC play begins?

O: We're very good up front, and those guys played good for the most part tonight. We have some good schemes, and we have a very good tailback. Anytime you have a very good tailback, it's going to open up the passing game. Sometimes teams are putting eight guys in the box, and it opens up the passing game for us.

Q: Can BenJarvus hold up under that kind of load (33 carries, 226 yards) every week?

O: We've got to put some other guys in there. We put Cordera (Eason) in there. Bruce (Hall) has a slight injury. He (Green-Eliis) did run out a little bit at the end. We need to alternate some guys. It was just hard to take him (Green-Ellis) out of the game. Cordera's first play was at the (Tigers) 10-yard line. That makes me a little nervous right there. You don't know how he's going to handle the football. Then the next play BenJarvus fumbles, so you never can tell.

Q: How much did the fumble (down 14-0) affect your momentum?

O: It was a 14-point swing in the ballgame. Not only the fumble, the next play we send a blitz and we have a guy going for the dive and he takes the quarterback. We get beat one on one and the ball's in the end zone. So that was a momentum changer for us. But for the most part our guys hung in there. At halftime you could see it in their eyes. They were willing to fight. This team has some fight in them. They have some competition about them. They were not going to sit down and take a defeat easy. No way.

Q: Talk about the tackling against the spread offense?

O: It's open field. It creates a lot of one on ones. There are some guys who do a very good job of wrapping up and getting them going. Those big tight ends you gotta tackle their legs, and sometimes we missed.

Q: Were you pleased with the tackling?

O: No, I'm never pleased with the tackling until we win.

Q: Has the spread offense reached its peak or will it continue to progress and grow throughout football?

O: I think it will keep spreading. It forces defenses to go to 3-4. That's what it's for. We did a lot of it tonight. It forces you to go nickel and dime and play six DBs and stuff like that. This is a year where we're very strong in the defensive line. We're taking out a defensive lineman and putting in a defensive back where we're very thin. It's affecting us some. We have to change the way we recruit. I need more skill guys. This year I'll have to go out there and get more DBs and wide receivers.

Q: Talk about Jamarca Sanford.

O: I love him. He's a fantastic player. He's a fantastic competitor. He gives us everything he has. He goes every down. He's one of my captains. Not a permanent captain but has been a captain the last two weeks. He's a leader. He's a great young man.

Q: Did you feel your gameplan worked?

O: We had a good plan. We made some mistakes and got beat on the corner. I felt the plan was fantastic. It was a lot better than we had last year. But we didn't execute the way we wanted, and they found some weak spots in our defense.

Q: Are you relieved you don't have to see a spread offense every week?

O: I take it day by day. I'm sure Vanderbilt will pose another challenge I have to be concerned about. There's no doubt about it.

Q: Talk about Seth's deep ball.

O: Yeah. That's the one I didn't let y'all see at practice. His deep ball throwing ability kinda surprised me too. This was a good night for him, and he's coming into his own. He's getting more confidence out there. He's poised as heck. He's making good decisions so hopefully he can continue to improve.

Q: What was the difference in the first half defense and the second half defense?

O: Execution. No doubt. In the second half we kinda calmed down and played one or two defenses that worked pretty good. Give the offense some credit in that they gave the defense some rest. We needed some rest on the sideline. It all works as a team. I thought we played better as a team in the second half.

Q: Talk about your guard play.

O: I think John Jerry has the capability of being an All-American. Is he there yet? No. Of all the schools I've been to, I don't ever recall having a lineman that big with that type talent. Reid (Neely) is coming into his own. So we're very proud of those guys. Obviously we have to get better, but I think the offensive line did some good things tonight.

Q: Talk about the play of Greg Hardy.

O: He continues to make plays out there. He's a good football player. I wish I had about 10 of them, spread them around. There's a couple of different things we need to do with him down there. Everybody's going to start playing that jump ball. So I think we can teach him a couple of other routes.


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