From The Locker Room -

There is room for improvement, but the Rebel players feel they are on the right track after the season-opening victory over the Memphis Tigers in Memphis Sunday afternoon. Read comments from some select Rebs,and OL Coach Mike Markuson, inside.

The following are quotes from the Rebel players (and OL Coach Mike Markuson) after the Rebels defeated Memphis 45-14 Sunday in Memphis.

OL Coach Mike Markuson: (On the OL play) It's hard to tell before we look at the film, but we battled, and that's the best thing. We have two new starters in there and they had their ups and downs, but they fought hard the whole game and I think they got better as the game progressed. We had a few breakdowns, but we can correct them and move forward. I have no major qualms with the outcome. I was not pleased with our play in the second quarter, but we rallied in the second half, making the plays you have to make to win games. I'll take this and move on. Certainly, I expect improvement between now and the second game, but I have no ig problems with our first showing.

DE Greg Hardy: (On his injury) I have a high ankle sprain, but it's no big deal. I will rehab it and be back full speed in a hurry. I kept on playing because I wanted to help my team and make a statement to the young guys that minor injuries are just part of football and you have to suck it up and go. (On his late fumble recovery) If I had been full speed, I would have scooped and scored, but with my ankle hurting, I decided to make sure I fell on the ball and let the offense do their thing. (On the defense) Memphis has a lot of good plays and good players, but we gave up more plays than we should have. We weren't quite as sharp as we needed to be, but we'll get better. We showed spurts of being solid, but not the consistency we wanted to have. We'll get that right.

MLB D.T. Shackelford: (On his 4th and 1 stop) I came on a blitz and came clean. The play was there for me to make and I did my best to make it. I wasn't sure I tackled him before he got the first down, but in the end I did. (On his first outing as a collegian) I felt real good. I was very excited. This is such a difference from high school. I had some ups and downs, but overall I was very happy with my play. I know I can get a lot better, but that will come with time and hard work. (On Memphis) We missed a lot of tackles, but Memphis played their guts out. I credit them. (On the defense) We missed too many tackles, man, but we'll get that down. I think we were anxious and got out of position some, but we were playing hard and that's a good starting point. Also, we are not going to complain too much about any win.

WR Dexter McCluster: (On the first half) We started out OK, but then we lulled. At halftime, we talked about how we knew that wasn't us - that wasn't Ole Miss football, and we came out in the second half and did something about it. We were never really worried about the game, as far as losing it, but we wanted to play better. We had some miscommunications on the line in the first half and took care of that at halftime. (On halftime) Coach Austin told us we were better than what we showed and we needed to relax and execute, believe in the program, believe in the play calls and get it done. That's what we did. We never got frustrated, but we knew we had a poor second quarter and we needed to get that corrected in a hurry. (On the overall play) Our goal was to be 1-0 and that's what we are. We'll take it, but we know we can do better. (On open week) I wish we didn't have it, but we do, so we will get healthy and work on being more consistent and wait for our next shot.

SS Johnny Brown: (On his game) I was comfortable that I knew what to do, but I felt kind of bad. I have a little touch of the stomach flu. I had to fight through it, but that's what we are here for - to battle no matter what. (On Memphis) They were better than I anticipated. Their backs were shifty and did a nice job. They played us hard the whole way. They were a good test for us, but we righted the ship and showed what we can do. We just have to be more consistent with it.

QB Jevan Snead: (On his game) I am unhappy with the way I played in the first half. I forced things again, things I didn't have to force, but at least now I can recognize it and correct as I go. I did much better in the second half. We were kind of kicking ourselves in the locker room at halftime, but we didn't panic. We knew we could do a lot better and we were determined to step up in the second half. In the second half, we all played better. (On the open week) We will work hard to get better. We don't want the open week, but we will make the most of it.

FS Fon Ingram: (On the play of the defense) We're solid. We're a team. We're going to fight when times get rough. Everybody gets mad, but nobody gets down. Everybody fights and pushes through it. We stay together. Everybody has their good spirit going. We've just got to keep our composure and go out there and have fun. When you do that, good things happen. (On the team's performace) Memphis is a good team. You can't take credit away from them. They played hard. But honestly, we knew we were the better team. We were just struggling. We were a little suspect defensively time-to-time. We got all of our jitters out and played hard. (On his interception returned for a touchdown) I knew when I caught it, it was six. It made me feel good. I went out and kept busting my butt. I thought I did pretty well.

LT Bradley Sowell: (On his overall performance)It was pretty tiresome. In the third quarter, I started cramping pretty good. I learned a lot, like game speed. I think I did pretty good. I think I'll grade out well and did well for my first start. I guess I need to just get in a little better shape. I just have to keep working hard. It's the first game. We weren't really that sharp. (On the third quarter) Memphis just figured us out a little bit. They started running a few different things. They started bringing some backers down and stuff. It was tough. They did a good job.


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