Coordinators -

Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix and Offensive Coordinator Kent Austin had very few issues with the way their Rebels performed in the 52-6 win over Southeastern Louisiana, but Special Teams Coordinator James Shibest was not happy with the punting game or punt return. Read about it inside.

Ole Miss Offensive Coordinator Kent Austin watched his side of the ball ring up 45 points (the defense scored once) in the 52-6 win over Southeastern Louisiana, leaving him very little to complain about.

"We executed better that we did in the opener against Memphis," said Austin. "We had a few dropped passes and have to hold on to the ball a little better, but overall I was happy. Offensive is about scoring points and we scored a lot of them, so we did fine."

Specifically, Austin was happy with QB Jevan Snead's play. Snead was 16-28 for 208 yards and three TDs and didn't throw an interception.

"I thought Jevan threw the ball really well overall. If we hadn't had two or three big drops, he would have had a really big night," Kent continued. "Jevan made good decisions and we didn't turn the ball over. Those are key elements to executing better, which was our goal.

"I also thought we protected better. It looked as if Jevan had more time to sset up, look over the field and throw."

The dropped passes came from unlikely sources, the usually sure-handed Dexter McCluster, Markeith Summers and Lionel Breaux.

"I don't know what happened. Jevan probably could have put the one on Markeith a little tighter, but Markeith is certainly talented enough to make that play," Austin assessed. "Those three stand out because they were going to be big plays had the catch been made."

Austin said the run game was "good at times," but he wants to see a little more from it.

"I think we need to be a little tougher at the point of attack, but overall we are pretty balanced right now and that's what we try to be. We had 258 rushing and 242 passing, so that's all good," he stated. "It will get better, and we need to get better in all phases of offense quickly as SEC play approaches, but we are headed in the right direction."

Unfortunately, one of the players who was producing at the point of attack, FB Andy Hartman, is likely out for a couple of weeks with a knee injury.

"That's a loss for us, no doubt. Andy was really playing well. He had a really good game against Memphis and was playing well against SLU. We can't get him back quickly enough," Austin added.

The offensive coaching staff inserted RG Rishaw Johnson into the starting lineup and Austin felt he helped matters up front.

"Rishaw is a talented young player - strong, quick and aggressive. He's probably one of more aggressive players up front. I like that about him," Kent said. "He still needs to come on, but we feel he can be a real player for us."

Nix had only one qualm on the night, the first drive of the second half by SLU.

"Other than that drive, there was nothing I was displeased with," noted Nix. "We showed some improvement. It looked like we are trying to become a more physical defense. We are still not as consistent as we need to be, but we improved."

One of Nix's prize young pupils - MLB D.T. Shackelford - recovered two fumbles and ran back an interception 58 yards for a touchdown.

"On the interception, another one of our freshman LBs, Joel Kight, made the play by hitting the quarterback with his arm extended. D.T. was at the right place at the right time, with the pick and with the two fumble recoveries. We have two real good freshman linebackers in those two," Nix allowed. "I have been talking about them all through summer camp and they will only get better with time."

DT Jerrell Powe got his first career start. Nix wanted to watch the film before giving a detailed opinion of Jerrell's performance, but in general, Powe did a nice job.

"I saw him get a tackle for a loss and make some good plays. He played within the defense and was productive," Tyrone stated. "(CB) Jeremy McGee also had his first start. I didn't see him giving up any plays. It will be an interesting battle to see who starts between him and Cassius (Vaughn) this week. Jeremy did not really beat Cassius out, there were some team rules issues we had to clear up with Vaughn, and Vaughn had a pick tonight as well. We'll see. That's a good battle."

SLU was 0-14 on third-down conversions on the night. No matter who you play, that stat jumps out and pleases a DC to no end.

"You have to feel good about that stat. The guys got themselves off the field and that's what it is all about," Nix closed. "Like I said, except for the opening drive of the second half, we did fine on defense."

Shibest was not happy with Marshay Green fumbling two punts, losing both, and Punter Justin Sparks' 28.4 punting average on five boots.

"For some reason, Justin didn't have it tonight. He's been doing well in practice and it just didn't go his way tonight," said Shibest. "We are going to have to monitor that closely this week and make some decisions there as the week progressed. You are not going to hit every one of them good, but when you don't hit any of them good, you have to consider doing something different.

"Both Justin and Tyler Campbell have done well in practice. We'll see how that shapes up. All I know is that a shanked punt is like a turnover and you can't do that to your defense."

Marshay's woes were even more uncharacteristic.

"Unbelievable. We are in shock too. He's very reliable and works hard at it. He takes pride in his punt returns," Shibest stated. "The good thing is that those things did not result in a loss, but I know we can't do any of that in SEC play. Punting and handling punts were two factors in why we were good last year. We have to get back in that rhythm in a hurry."

On the bright side, Shibest is pleased with freshman Kickoff Specialist Andrew Ritter.

"Andrew didn't kick as many for touchbacks tonight, but he did a good job. He's got good hang time on the ones that aren't touchbacks, but touchbacks are what we want when you look around the country and see the jets who are returning kicks these days," James ended.


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