Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt said at his Monday press conference that the Rebel offensive line/tight ends/running backs had some lapses in pass protection against Vanderbilt that will have to be corrected.
He credited Vanderbilt with some new looks that disrupted the Rebels some, but he said the pass pro unit should have reacted better, or more quickly, to what Vandy was throwing at them.
Senior Right Guard Maurice Miller agreed.
"I give Vandy a lot of credit for introducing some new stuff in our game, but that happens in every game," Maurice noted. "We just did not communicate well enough and we did not keep our composure at times.
"We put our offense in some bad situations of third-and-long before we cleared it all up on our last few possessions. We have to adjust quicker than that to new things."
Miller believes the communication up front has been "pretty good" overall, but there were some kinks in the armor against the Dores.
"Communication up front is so vital to good pass protection. We had a period or two there where we were not getting our point across to each other and it stalled us for a while," he explained. "We have to do a better job of that and we can easily accomplish that."
Miller was excited about the improvement in the run game and the part the OL has played and will play in that development.
"I give Coach (Mike) Markuson credit for that," Mo stated. "We went back to basics after the Wake Forest game. We got our pad level lower, we did more combo blocking, we got underneath defenders and we got nastier.
"He said it would come around if we kept working hard and bought in to what he was saying and he was right. I've seen a lot of progress in that portion of our game and I expect to see a lot more. We want to be known as a physical OL and the only way to do that is to keep being physical."
Miller said he's gotten "a whole lot better" in recent weeks.
"My combo blocks with John Jerry, my one-on-one blocks - I can tell a big difference now. I think we all can, we just have to stay on the path we are on and we'll be fine," Miller said.
The Rebels, Miller said, will put the Vandy loss behind them and will move forward because they are getting the right leadership from their coaching staff.
"One thing I love about Coach Nutt is that he is teaching us not to dwell on the negatives, to work hard to fix the negatives, but dwell on the positives and build on that," he said. "He preaches to us to always look ahead.
"We couldn't make a bigger mistake than to still be thinking about Vandy with Florida lined up in front of us this Saturday. Vandy is over. Learn from it, don't repeat it, but then forget it."
The bottom line, Miller said, is that he has strong faith in what is happening in Ole Miss football now.
"I knew he was a good coach when he was hired to come here, but I had no idea how good until he and his staff got here and started working with us. The job they are doing with us is way more than I anticipated," Miller closed. "I knew he was a good coach, but he's been tremendous.
"We are sick about losing the two games we have lost because Coach Nutt and the staff put us in a position to win both those games and we did not come through for them. We are determined not to allow that to happen again."
Maurice Miller -
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