Houston said 'believe!'

At halftime, trailing 17-7, Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt was "frustrated." Read his potgame comments after the Rebs came back for a 31-30 win over the 4th-ranked Florida Gators.

The following is Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt's press conference after the Rebels whipped number 4 Florida in Gainesville 31-30 Saturday afternoon.

Nutt's Opening Comment: I am thankful for our players. After being so sick to our stomachs last week, you always wonder how someone is going to respond, especially young kids, but they hung in there and kept believing. I am very proud of them because it took offense, defense and special teams to get it done. Oddly enough, last Sunday we kept telling our extra point block team to keep staying in their gaps because you never know when someone is going to take a lazy step. Kentrell Lockett did what he was coached to do and blocked the extra point that won it for us. It took everybody to win. I thought Jevan Snead made some good throws against an incredibly talented pass rush team. Nobody has scored many points on Florida this year and the reason is that they are so athletic, so quick and so fast. We just believed and got it done and now I just want to build off this one.

Q: On the 4th and 1 tackle on Tim Tebow that effectively ended the game, what did you see?

Nutt: DC Tyrone Nix called a good game all day. I believe in him so much. I told him to keep putting pressure on Tebow and he did that. On the fourth and 1, our 2 and 3 technique guys got some push and we stopped him cold.

Q: How was the locker room after this one?

Nutt: You had to be in there. That's why you're in this business - to see the faces of young kids in a celebration locker room. We didn't let go of the rope and it would have been easy for them to do that at halftime. They kept believing and fighting. I told them all week to believe, we have a good team. Sometimes words don't register after a couple of tough losses you think you should have won, but those kids kept playing hard. This time, they finished.

Q: One of the players said you weren't happy at halftime. Elaborate?

Nutt: I was disappointed. I thought we could block better than that. We weren't physical enough. I leaned on Michael Oher, the senior, and told him I was depending on him. He answered the bell, as they all did. Jevan made good throws and Dexter McCluster was a workhorse for us.

Q: How was the sidelines when Florida was driving for the winning field goal?

Nutt: Our sideline was up all day. They wanted this one badly. When we scored the last TD to take the lead with Shay Hodge going 86 yards, I felt a real good energy level. Of course, we were nervous with the athletes they put out there, but we were into it and doing everything we could. Everyone was pulling for everyone and nobody was sitting down.

Q: Why the Wild Rebel so much this week?

Nutt: Because it was working and because we believe in Dexter so much. Nobody in the locker room last week hurt like Dexter did and I just knew he would come through. I told him we would always believe in him and he delivered today. We were executing it well and it was giving us our best running lanes.

Q: Talk about the 86-yarder to Hodge from Snead.

Nutt: That was a great call by Kent Austin. What a beautiful call. We kept the tight end in and did a play-action fake. We kept running outs all day and we thought their corner may squat and cheat on the out. When he did, we went over the top and it was there.

Q: Talk about Greg Hardy.

Nutt: He gives us a great rush off that edge. We are going to get him in there as much as we can, especially on passing downs. He's our best rusher.

Q: You had a first-and-10 on the 17 before the half and didn't get any points due to a barrage of penalties. . . .

Nutt: I was very frustrated with our organization from the sideline to the field. We were going on the center snap and Daverin Geralds, our center, did the right thing and tried to mix it up to keep Florida off-balance. Your guards and tackles have to hang in there until it is snapped. That hurt us badly and I was upset.

Q: The screen play for a TD. . .

Nutt: We hadn't run a screen in two weeks and we thought it would catch them off guard. It did.

Q: Talk more about Snead's play.

Nutt: This was big for him. He's won a major game now. To go in a great team's back yard and win - we can build off this and so can Jevan.

Q: Talk about your front four on defnse.

Nutt: They were awesome. We have a great rotation going in there now and Coach Tracy Rocker is doing a wonderful job with them. We are getting production out of all of them.

Q: You forced three turnovers. Florida had none coming into this game.

Nutt: That's how you win, to win the turnover margin. It was scary because they had not given it up at all. All their turnovers were huge.

Q: How did you stop return specialist Brandon James?

Nutt: I give a lot of credit to ST Coordinator James Shibest and all those players. Brandon can take it all the way any time and to bottle him up all day was a job. It was a key to the win.

Q: 31 points. Did you ever think it against their defense?

Nutt: We have some playmakers. All we have to do is keep believing and execute. Don't shoot ourselves in the foot. If we do those things, we proved today we can play with anybody.

Q: What can this do to your program?

Nutt: We ought to be able to take off now. We had a different mindset today. They weren't thinking about losing or if something bad was going to happen. They took care of the ball and our defense bottled them up well enough to win. You know they are going to make plays with their great athletes, but we had a lot of sacks and loss yardage plays on their offense today. We made them work and we knocked the football loose a couple of times.

Q: What happened in the third quarter for your team?

Nutt: We had had enough of beating ourselves and did something about it. We took off once we quit giving it away.


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