Nutt pleased with 'whole day'

The first thing Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt said when he addressed the media after the Grove Bowl was he was appreciative of 'everyone involved.' From the crowd to Eli Manning to Partick Willis to Derrick Burgess to experiencing the Walk of Champions, he was ecstatic with the day.

The following is Coach Houston Nutt's press conference after the Grove Bowl.

Nutt's Opening Comment: I am really, really appreciative of a beautiful day, the best we've had in a couple of weeks, and of the fans. For them to come out today and break a spring game attendance record was special. The players appreciated it, the coaching staff was ecstatic and I'm really thankful. I am also very thnkful to Eli Manning, Patrick Willis and Derrick Burgess speaking to our team today. They did a magnificent job. There's nothing like players like them, including a Super Bowl MVP, to come back, give their time and talk seriously to our team. Priceless. All of them did a great job talking about accountability, making great decisions, work ethic - all those things they can't hear enough. That was the start of a great day for us.

We had a good spring. Of course there's always room for improvement. The season will be here before you know it and we can't wait. We'll get a little discretionary time now to tackle our books and get ready to start back working hard around mid-May. As far as the game, I just liked that the kids were playing hard and having fun and that the fans were there. That's what it is about. It is the greatest game in the world and they wanted to play well for their fans. We had too many illegal procedures and too many balls on the ground and all those things, but it was still a great day because Ole Miss won today, on and off the field.

Q: How much of the play selection was fun and how much is it stuff you work on hard?

Nutt: We work on a lot of those things, but we also had some fun. We wanted to put the ball in Dexter McCluster's hands because he's an exciting player. I thought our receivers had a great spring and showed some flashes today. They are experienced and it showed. Mike Wallace, Shay Hodge, Markeith Summers, Lionel Breaux, Dexter, all of them did well. We were fortunate enough to have enough depth at WR to move Marshay Green over to defense, which was fun to watch develop this spring. We tried to mix and match some things today and see what happened. The OL did well for the most part and we opened up a couple of running lanes for Cordera (Eason) to break a couple of long runs. We didn't totally shut down (DC) Tyrone Nix, but we limited him a little in his blitz packages. Even at that, the defense managed a couple of sacks. We made improvement, but we have work to do as well.

Q: What did you think of Jevan Snead's performance today and also Cordera's?

Nutt: Jevan had an excellent spring. I love the way he stands in that pocket, he has a quick release and he doesn't flinch under pressure or a rush. He doesn't care if he has to take a shot, he will do it for the team. I've seen a lot of QBs who would run and hide, but Jevan sets up strong with confidence and he finds a receiver no matter what. The TD he threw at the end was a bullet between two defenders. You have to have a great arm to do that. He gives us a chance offensively to keep people off-balance. As far as Cordera, he has really improved from the start to the end of spring. He's been very physical in the run game and in pass protection. He had too many fumbles this spring we have to get corrected, but overall he had a very good spring.

Q: How did you decide on Dexter to run the Wild Rebel set?

Nutt: Just watching him work day-to-day. He makes plays and has played QB in high school. I knew he could handle the ball, he can hand it off and he can read the defensive end. He made a major step to us so we thought it made sense. A fast guy who can keep people off-balance. He's dangerous with the ball in his hands.

Q: Talk about the message Eli and Patrick gave to your team.

Nutt: It is apparent both love their school and love coming back here. Derrick Burgess lives here and he can live anywhere in the world. He chose Oxford. The theme of their talks was accountability. Be accountable to your teammates, to your team, to your home town, to your Mother, to your coaches and to do the right thing. It was awesome, very, very good.

Q: Talk about LB Allen Walker's progress this spring.

Nutt: He's been our most consistent LB this spring. He's quick and he doesn't stay on blocks. He makes plays and is a good blitzer. Tyrone is using him very well moving him around and keeping people off-balance. Allen has gotten a lot better fundamentally too. We're excited about him.

Q: Talk about The Walk of Champions.

Nutt: I'm glad you asked. I have always heard about The Grove. For many, many years. TO experience that was unbelievable. You can feel the enthusiasm and the hunger to support the team. To look back and see our players smiling, there's no better feeling. I want them to walk that walk with no headphones, giving their complete focus to the moment. It's a great tradition.

Q: What have you seen as the differences in recruiting to Ole Miss and to Arkansas?

Nutt: Kids can get here a lot easier. We're closer to Memphis, Alabama, Atlanta, Louisiana, Florida. Also Mississippi has more athletes. I have been overwhelmed by the number of players that have been on our campus since signing day. It's all about location, location, location. We're in a great area, it's a beautiful place and we feel we have a lot to sell here.

Q: How do you feel about special teams play?

Nutt: I thought the kickers, snappers and punters did a nice job today, but I am concerned with kickoffs. You have 70 yards to cover and we have to do a better job in that area.

Q: Where do you go from here?

Nutt: I start tomorrow with an early team meeting and individual meetings. The thing I want to harp on is to change an attitude. It's difficult when these kids have never won in the SEC, so we are trying to change a mindset. The mindset is that it takes all of us, it's one heartbeat. Encourage your teammates. Everyone do right. Be accountable. Do your job and don't complain. Everyone has to pick it up a notch. How bad do you want it? That's what we have to change and we will get that point across.

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