Coordinators -

The Rebel coordinators were a lot like Coach Ed Orgeron after the 27-24 loss to Alabama that ended on a controversial reversal of a long pass the Rebels seemed to have completed. They were "sick" for their players to have exterted that much effort and energy only to come up short again.

"I am just so proud of our guys. They really competed and sold out today. They did some great things," said Ole Miss Defensive Coordinator John Thompson. "It just makes me sick that we came up short - again. This was a game we had in our hip pockets and it just wasn't to be. . . "

Thompson's voice, kind of trailed off and then he gathered himself for an analysis of the flow of the game.

"I thought the telltale factor defensively was that in the first half we were terrible on third downs and in the second half it was just the opposite, we stopped them on third downs most of the time," J.T. said. "We blitzed them early and they got us and we went a little conservative and they just nickel and dimed us to death.

"Then, we settled in after some adjustments and played excellent defense the second half. DE Greg Hardy was phenomenal - absolutely phenomenal. We got in some doable third downs and just turned him loose and he made play after play. We got some third and longs where we felt we could get some pressure on them and we did. In the first half, we were 3rd and 3 and 3rd and 4 most of the time."

Thompson was very proud of the stops the Rebel defense made in the fourth quarter with their backs against the proverbial ball.

"We had terrible field position and had to make some stops. And we did. Had we not made those stops, the game is basically over, but our guys dug in and got it done," he continued. "In two key possessions, we had a short field to defend and all Bama could get was three points. That's great defense.

"You just hate it for those guys to give that much and come up empty again. And for it to happen the way it did (on a controversial ruling). One of these days we are going to get that call and get it done."

In the opening half, Alabama was able to run the ball fairly effectively on the Rebs. In the second half, that stopped, for the most part.

"We played a different look on defense we hadn't shown before and moved our safety toward the line more. That seemed to slow them down. We also tackled better," Thompson assessed.

The Rebels were also effective when they pulled at DT and moved Marcus TIllman down and inserted Kentrell Lockett at a DE opposite Hardy.

"That gave us more speed off the edge. We also brought our linebackers out wider. We were moving too much in the first half and we didn't fit it well. We slanted more in the second half," he said. "The Tillman at DT gave us more rush ability.

"We rushed four to one side and Greg to the other and he beat his whole side. He was something special today. He reminded me of Derrick Thomas the way he dominated the game. He's also like Billy Ray Smith. They can all rush, drop, cover, do whatever you want."

More on Hardy. . . .

"He's healthy now, he's practicing well and he's into it. He's just flat out good. Greg has a world of ability. He has size, speed and competitiveness. He can do a whole lot of things - he could probably play every position out there," John noted. "Alabama even slid their protections by putting an extra back on him and they couldn't block him. Like I said, he was phenomenal."

Hardy was not a one-man show, according to J.T.

"Ashlee Palmer, Peria Jerry, the secondary, they all played well. I thought Johnny Brown showed up well. We challenged Alabama's receivers with some man coverage and did OK in those situations," Thompson said. "Johnny showed up by us not noticing him in terms of giving up plays. He did what a safety is supposed to do."

J.T. does not fear an emotional letdown as the losses mount.

"I'm telling you these guys are resilient. I'm telling you, we are going to come back. They are in the dressing room with their hearts broken talking about how they are going to practice harder and work harder," he said. "No, we are not concerned about an emotional letdown - we are just concerned about getting the job done and finishing." Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner had the same sentiments as Thompson in regard to the final outcome.

"The wait for the ruling on that last pass play seemed like it took an eternity and I got a sick feeling in my stomach because it took so long for the ruling," Werner said. "I'm really aching for these players. They played their hearts out for four quarters.

"This one is tough, but we have been through this before. We will keep battling. I don't know how to grade how tough they are. We feel we have played well enough to win some games and it just hasn't worked out, but we will keep battling, I promise you that."

Rebel QB Seth Adams was throwing up with a virus all Friday night. He arrived in Oxford Saturday morning before the team to get an IV and get some fluids back in his system.

"I was very proud of the way he played. He was real sick last night, but he gutted it out. He battled through it like the competitor he is," Werner said. "He had a good game. He had three interceptions, but I didn't think two of them were his fault.

"We were able to get some balance in our offense today with a pretty good run game and we threw for nearly 284 yards. The offensive staff came up with some good stuff for this week - some new formations that worked in the run game. The OL blocked well too and the backs ran well. We kept Alabama honest with a couple of deep balls."

The Rebels also threw to the backs a little more.

"We detected Alabama was blitzing away from the backs and kind of let the backs go, so we hit them with a screen or two and then a couple of short throws to the backs and tight ends. They adjusted to that later, but it worked well for a while," he said.

Werner was still in a daze when he met with the press.

"We went into this game knowing we could win and we were right there. I think it is obvious we can play with anyone in the country. Now we just have to find a way to finish it and win," he lamented. "That last call was out of our control, but what we can do something about is the interceptions and correcting a few things we did wrong.

"We will keep working until we get it right. We had 420 yards against Alabama, so there is a bright side, but I'm tired of bright sides in losses. Last week we didn't play well on offense, but we won. Today, we played better on offense and lost. I promise you I felt better last week."

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