From The Locker Room -

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The locker room scene after the Ole Miss-South Carolina game in Columbia, SC, Thursday night was unusual for the Rebels. They lost for the first time in nearly a year and there were different levels of frustration apparent. Read about it inside.

The following are player quotes after the tough 16-10 loss to South Carolina in Columbia Thursday night.

OG Reid Neely: (On the flow of the game) We put ourselves in situations we could not overcome. We only converted one third down and the main reason is we were in third-and-long a lot of the time. We had too many big penalties - the touchdown run by (Brandon) Bolden early in the game being called back was like a pin prick to a balloon and we didn't come back from that for a while, it seemed. (On USC standout Eric Norwood) He's a load. Very impressive, but they had other players too. Norwood was everywhere and we did not do a good job of slowing him down until later in the game, but they had other guys out there making plays too. I was impressed with their defense, but that's the quality of athlete we are going to face in the SEC every week. We have to respond and up our game as well. (On the offense) We have not gotten into a consistent rhythm all year yet. We talked long and hard about not being so up and down with our offense and becoming a consistent offense, but we stayed in the pattern we were in the first two games - hit and miss. That won't fly in the SEC, as we saw tonight. We got by against lesser competition, but not tonight. You have to play four quarters in this league and we sure didn't do that tonight. (On the previous ranking and tasting a loss) We never got caught up in that. We've been in these arenas before and know you have to play, not sit around patting yourself on the back for being ranked. Our ranking was not a factor tonight - we were the factor and USC played well. We did not match their play and that's a loss in this league. This hurts. We are not used to losing and I hate it. This one will stick a couple of days, but we can't let it ruin our year. We have a lot of football left to play and we have to regroup and get after it tomorrow. We are going to keep our heads up. There will be no long-term deflation from this game, I can promise that.

DE Kentrell Lockett: (On dealing with the loss) We can't harp on it. We have to start getting ready for Vanderbilt tomorrow. We played a good game defensively, but it was not good enough. We didn't make enough plays to win. We gained the momentum late and shut them down, but we didn't do enough to win, like I said. We had (Stephen) Garcia rattled in the second half, but we didn't get to him enough. (On the Rebel offense) The offense had a bad night, but that's when we have to pick up the slack. They have bailed us out plenty of times before and we didn't return the favor tonight. We should have made more plays and given them better opportunities to score. (On the mood of the team) A lot of guys are down in the locker room, but they don't need to let it stick with them. We have only played three games. This season is just starting. We will get our heads up and get back to work. Things change every week, we can get right back in it if we get our heads up, which we will.

OL Bradley Sowell: (On Eric Norwood) Eric is a good defensive player. We had him schemed but we didn't execute well enough. He beat me for a couple of sacks. I'm just going to have to keep working and correct what I did wrong. I thought we did better on him in the second half, but he was the real deal. Jevan was hit too much, something we will have to fix up front. (On the fourth quarter) We started getting more physical with them and started having success running the ball, that allowed us to buy Jevan more time to throw in some situations, which got us our only TD. But you can't take anything from USC - they played well and shut us down in the first half. It really hurt us to have the big run by Brandon called back. (On the ranking - a frustration response) I'm glad it's gone. We were not playing for rankings. We are playing for wins. We didn't care about the ranking, we care about wins. Maybe now everyone will quit talking about it and we can just play ball and win some games.

QB Jevan Snead: (On the pressure facing the team in the conference opener): There was some pressure to come in here and get a win, but that's how I like it. I like being on top. But we just let it down today. Our defense did an excellent job and gave us plenty of opportunities. We just didn't capitalize. I definitely think we can play better. (On the high ranking): Personally, I was just trying to do the best I could under whatever ranking we had. Now, maybe there's not so much pressure. I'd definitely it rather be the other way. (On the play of the USC defense): They're definitely the best defense we've faced thus far. They gave us trouble in a couple of areas. As far as my game play goes, there's a lot I can improve on, and make some of those throws that I missed. (On the frustrations of the first half offensively): It was pretty frustrating to know we couldn't come out and play the style of football we wanted to. It's tough, but I just tried to keep telling the guys to keep their heads up. Eventually we did start coming along. It was just a little too late. (On the final drive): Like we had all night, we really hurt ourselves. We had done it the entire game, not just the final series. Against good teams, you can't be playing against yourself. We did that part of the time, and it's something we have to correct.

WR Dexter McCluster: (On struggling to get the ball early in the game): They were keying on me all game – especially at wide receiver. They were keying on me a lot. I really couldn't get open. But coach (Nutt) saw that and told me to get back there at running back and do what I do. We were always one play from breaking a big one. (On if he ever felt the big play coming): I did, but we were always one block away. The game was full of shoulda, coulda, wouldas. We've just got to go out there as a unit and pull it together. (On if he'd wished to line up in the backfield sooner): I did, but we have plenty of talented running backs. I just had to wait my turn. But as a competitor, I just wanted to get back there and do what I could to help the team. When I got my chances, I did what I could to help the team win. I did my best. (On the weight of the No. 4 ranking): It really didn't have an effect. No matter our ranking, whether we're No. 4 or 100, we've got to go out there and play our game. We weren't really listening to the outside world. We just wanted to go out and play our ball.

FS Kendrick Lewis: (On the defense keeping the team in the game late into the fourth quarter): That's the mentality of our defense. We're never going to give up. Regardless of the situation, we're going to go out there and do what we have to do. We just go out there and play our game and whatever happens in the end, happens. (On supporting the offense): It was a different rhythm, but we were happy to do it. We'll do whatever we have to do to win. If the offense starts out slow, they start out slow. We have to make sure and do our jobs. We have to back them up and give them as many opportunities as we can. (On if he expected a defensive battle): Coming into this game, I knew (the outcome) would rest on the defenses. On both sides, they feel like they have a pretty good defense and we feel we've got a pretty good defense. We knew it would be a tight, physical game. (On dealing with the loss): We have to get back to the practice fields and get back to work. We'll watch film and correct our mistakes. We'll learn from this and get better as a team. We'll stick together, work hard and prepare for Vanderbilt. (On the carrying the burden of a high ranking): Coach (Nutt) did a good job of telling us to forget about the ranking. We weren't even in the rankings last year. It was just a number in front of us. We liked it, it was good, but we just have to get back to it. It's early in the season. Who knows where we'll end up?

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