Really proud of the effort Saturday, really on both sides of the ball. Special teams really continue to help us, coverage teams have just been outstanding, their effort. Return game was really good with Mike Wallace. There is nothing like field position. The punt return game, Marshay had one very good run. There were just a lot of very good parts to that ballgame that you want to bottle up. And on top of that, when you are up 20-7, you got to put it away. You have to learn how to pressure and maybe get a turnover. Got to learn how to finish. Overall just really proud, proud of the victory. Now it is time to get ready against a very, very tough Auburn football team. They have an excellent defense, very physical and can also run the football. They are athletic, Auburn is big and fast. It is always a battle.
On Cordera Eason' game against Arkansas and the run game in general
I thought he really read running lanes well. He did an excellent job of hitting the holes and protecting the ball. Really physical. It was probably our second highest total of knockdowns this year. We are getting better in that area of running the football.
On the game plan to run between the tackles in a base set
We have always been able to emphasize being very physical running north and south in every game plan. But sometimes it doesn't work out that way. We as a staff have always tried to be physical and really run downhill. Then you can go play action and try to mix up formations. Those things will help your running game.
On putting an emphasis on winning at home
Absolutely, one thing we have to do is take care of our home. (The home losses) are the one thing that is tough to get out of my mind. We have played so good at times, but then there is that stretch of five, six, seven minutes where we didn't wrap the game up. So you want to play a full game in front of our fans, and I can't say enough about our road fans. I've just been so impressed with the road Rebels. The other night, hearing our fans in a very tough environment, it was impressive, and I know our players appreciate the fans, coaches appreciate it.
On Greg Hardy's and Jamaica Sanford's injuries
You know, Greg has worked really hard to get back out on the field. The foot's still bothering him a little bit. We tried to get him out there at the end. We put him in there to rush the passer, but he is still struggling with it. Hopefully we can get him 100 percent, we won't know til later in the week. Jamarca (Sanford) got a helmet right under the deltoid muscle in the arm and couldn't really raise his arm. So, he had a hard time using his arms. He couldn't get in some plays, and bless his heart; he wanted to get out there. Hopefully, it is something that will heal up pretty quick and we can get him ready to go.
On Peria Jerry's game against Arkansas
Probably (Peria's best game), you know he has been the most consistent of all our guys on the defensive line. He is a playmaker for us, and he is playing football. He is playing so hard with excellent intensity. The guy blocking him has a hard time each Saturday. He's so relentless, and I am so very proud of him. He is one of our senior captains, and he is playing at a very high level.
On Dexter McCluster playing tailback
We knew that question would be brought up. 'Why in the world would Coach Nutt put Dexter McCluster, who has fumbled the ball, at the 'I' tailback?' We believe in him so much, and we have spent so much time, more time than I can ever remember, from the moment he steps on the field, cover up the ball. From the time he got on the field until the time he left, 100 percent emphasis on protecting the football. And there is no one that wants to take care of the football more than he does. Nothing is more important than protecting the football, and in order to stay on the field for this football team, you have to protect it. We put him at tailback for a reason, he gives us that extra step, one more step, and then we use him and others in the passing game. We are going to keep it going, wide receiver, tailback; we are going to keep them all. If he plays the way he did Saturday night, he will be fine.
On the cornerbacks and the options
We go by practice, and it will be open this week. Marshay brings a lot of fight, and we are going to go with those three: Cassius Vaughn, Dustin Mouzon and Marshay. Those are the guys, and hopefully we can get better at playing the ball.
On Ted Laurent
A little bit (hurt), but nothing serious. Causing him to not play to his full potential, and Lawon (Scott) right now is giving us a big lift when he is up there. Hopefully we will get Ted back to 100 percent this week, and he will be ready to go. Right now the way Peria is playing, it is hard to take him out. Really hard to get him out of there, but we do roll them. I'm really proud of Lawon.
On Bradley Sowell
That is a good question, Bradley Sowell, we used him as a second tight end since David Traxler has gone down with a back injury. Bradley has come in and been outstanding. Protection, pass protection and the run, got about five or six knockdowns. That is really helped us, he is going to be a good player for us. He'll take over that right or left tackle soon, but right now, we have a real role for Bradley, and that role will increase.
They are working a few things out, and are a little different looking at them from years past, but I know how good their lines are. They are very physical and very athletic. I know how good the backs are, Lester, Tate, how hard they play. I have a lot of respect for them. The worst thing you can say is how they are struggling, but I don't want to hear that. I've seen them go and seen them break out. You go watch that LSU film, and you get nervous in a hurry. I have a lot of respect for their athleticism and how fast they are. The things they can do. Have they done it every game? No, but like our offense, sometimes they are very good, and sometimes you sputter around, turn it over and don't do things the correct way. Don't execute. Their defense can make you look bad.
On goals being in front of the team
We talk about those goals before the season, and the players are smart enough to realize. You are going into November, and our theme, like I have told many teams, is that people remember in November. It is a real football month where a lot of things can happen. They know, and they sense what can happen. But for us, we can only look to the next 60 minutes. We can't look past that. The ballgame is at home in a great atmosphere, against a good football team. It is important that we put four quarters together, offense, defense and special teams. That is the only way you can win. Then, all the goals and things you talk about come into play. Otherwise, it isn't worth talking about.
On possibly celebrating too early at Arkansas
I don't know about early celebration, but I know this. When you win one like that, you get an itch. What we did was let them back into the ballgame. When you have them 20-7 and they are on the minus-3, they aren't supposed to be able to go the length of the field in 50 seconds or whatever. Can't let them do that. Can't give them a quick one and let them out of the hole. We were in a good coverage. Tyrone (Nix) can't put them in a better coverage than what we were in. We had to make a play. Jumped too soon, and the safety didn't get there in time. It is things like that that has hurt us all year. Whether it be on offense, defense or special teams. With a win, maybe that will improve. Better to teach on Sunday and learn after a win. Getting a victory on the road is a precious win. Don't let them get back in it. Let's go ahead and make it 31-7, 28-7, 35-7, finish when you have the opportunity. If not and they make a big play and another big play, now they have confidence. Now they get an onsides kick, and you are in for a battle. I didn't see much celebration on the sideline. Our coaches are always very aware of the situation, and we tell the players that it isn't over until it is over. We just had a really bad case of mistimed jumps. Especially with the ball where it was. I hope next time the safety intercepts it or splatters the guy so hard that he doesn't want to catch it.
On what makes Peria so disruptive
There are a couple things. He has excellent quickness. That offensive lineman has to get out of his stance in a hurry. He beats you to the position, whether it be inside or outside he has excellent moves. Another thing is he has great perseverance. He never gets discouraged. When knocked down, which doesn't happen much, he is back up in a hurry. He is relentless. He is constantly moving and strong. When you are that quick and strong, he is a handful. A lot of teams put four hands on him. If you don't keep him occupied, something negative is going to happen. He is a disrupter.
Elaborate on the cornerback position
It was targeted in the offseason when we moved two guys from offense to defense. It tells you a lot right there. They have done some very good things, like the second half against Alabama and Julio Jones. I have seen them defend very well. And then the things you can't give up, the things that are too easy. That is what we are fighting. We have basically those three guys. Temple is another that comes in and could be a corner for us, but those are our guys, and we are going to play with them. They have to get better and keep fighting.
On Eason getting the bulk of carries against Arkansas
It was a feeling based on the way he is running. With authority. If you tip-toe, you are going to be over there next to me. It is the guy who gives you the best chance to win, guy who hits the hole and makes a play. Enrique Davis made a play against Alabama by running hard. What I like about Cordera, instead of sulking after coming back that Sunday after Alabama, like a lot of people, saying they got Dexter ready, Enrique, Brandon Bolden, I'll stop playing. No, you go back to work. He had a great week of practice and competed hard. You go with the hot hand.
Houston Nutt -
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