Houston Nutt Transcript

Houston Nutt is 1-0 as the head coach at Ole Miss after a 41-24 victory over Memphis. Go inside for his thoughts on the successful night.

It's always good to win the first one. Our fans, our students, showed up, had a lot of emotion. Our players felt that and played off of it. I really liked the way we played. I didn't like the way we finished. You can't scrimmage much with the numbers we have. You lose a guy like Peria Jerry. You lose a guy like Greg Hardy. Cassius goes down early with an ankle injury. There are no NFL preseason games. I thought we were in good condition. I didn't like the way we finished the game, but I am tickled and happy for our guys to win. We played a very good first half, and we have things to get better at. For the most part, I was proud of our offensive line. They were physical. Our backs ran hard, especially in the second half. And Dexter is our knuckleballer, the guy we can move around. You have seen us do it in the spring, and we have gotten better at it. By moving him to quarterback, he can hand it. He can run it. He can throw it and then I love our freshmen backs. They are very, very physical, and they are maturing as we speak. They got a good dose tonight. Our receivers are excellent, and we will be better getting the ball to them next time. We missed some things, especially the first series we weren't on the same page, but that is expected with the first game jitters. They are trying hard and want to please. For the most part, we put points on the board, executed and took care of the ball. Jevan didn't have an interception, and he hasn't played in a long time. That's his first game in a long time. I was proud of Jevan, the way he handled things with a lot of expectations. He managed the game, didn't have a delay of game. Defensively, when you have a 6-8 receiver and 6-4 Calhoun, You have to give them credit. You can see why they went to bowl games. You see why they've won a lot of games. They mix it up, and spread you out. Without key players, I was proud of our effort for one, two three quarters. At the end we got a little tired and didn't finish.

On the offense rolling and the Memphis defense struggling in the first half.

We were executing and when you can execute that many groupings, they have to think about who is in the game and who is at quarterback. Is Jevan going to throw the deep ball? You can stretch them. You can hand it with a good running game. And then you move in Dexter McCluster to quarterback, and they have to start thinking about responsibilities. That's what this offense gives you. We can do things better, but to answer your question. I just felt that we were executing. They have a good defense and can run. Freddie Barnett, I know him very well. These guys are talented and athletic. You have to put a hat on a hat and give your backs a chance. Jevan was protected well. When you can run the ball and playaction, mix it up. You have a chance.

On executing well in first game at new school and with Snead coming off a long layoff.

You never know. I had butterflies up until. I was scared to death nervous because they hadn't played. You never know. Some days in practice I felt so good and some days I didn't know if we have a team or not. I'm glad to go play. Jump and start swimming. We need to improve, and we got a big game this week. Can't think about this one too long.

On the defense without key players

The only really bad time was right there at the end when I thought we got sloppy. Ty does such a good job with emphasizing tackling. I've been with Coach Rocker for so long. I know what he stands for. They will be the first ones to tell you that tackling will be our first point of emphasis tomorrow afternoon. You have to get that corrected. Early on, there was a lot of energy. That's a hard team to defend.

On the Wild Rebel set

When you have ball-handling skills, it gives you a chance. He has played quarterback before, so you trust him with it. He is reading the triple option. If the end closes, he pulls it out. If the end plays dead, he hands it off. That is how Bolden scored. He is unselfish. The triple threat, a lot like Darren McFadden, is when you can throw it. Now, boy, you have the total package. It keeps people off-balance.

On the mood in the lockeroom after the game

They were happy and excited. They felt good. But they know they can do better. That was the first question I asked. ‘Do you feel good?' They said ‘yes.' The next question is was that the best we can do. They all 100 percent said no. that is the key. We are going to get better this week. You can make a lot of strides between the first game and the second game.

On Brandon Bolden

He is tough, physical. I'm mad at him on that kickoff return, gotta go get and hold on to that ball. There is no excuse. He has power, and then you see him scoot away. They fell off Enrique Davis a couple times too down there. He has speed and power. Devin Thomas is another guy, and as you can see, we aren't going to redshirt anybody. We're going to play them.

On his experience Saturday night

I had a lot of fun. Great atmosphere and really enjoyed it. The biggest thing is looking into an 18-20 year old's face in a celebrating lockeroom. That's what it is all about. That is what it is fun.

On Snead's receiving ability

Awesome. I was going to get mad at him if he cut that thing back up. He is supposed to hit the side and get out of bounds.

On Michael Oher on McCluster's touchdown run

Oher did an RBI block to spring Dexter. Most tackles can't get out that far. He got out there and pinned him in, he is a big old mountain. And then you can't find Dexter. Michael came from the other side.

On his first day at Ole Miss

I was just so appreciative. I'm so happy, and it has been a great eight months. To see the thing almost full and all the students are there, pumped up. Grove was amazing. I'm still deaf. I have to put something in my ears from that. It is loud, and I got chestbumped.

On what he learned from the night

There were situations that I couldn't simulate, and we responded well. To answer when it was 7-7 and answer again when Memphis scored, I was proud of the way we competed.

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