The following are player quotes after Ole Miss' 23-7 SEC road win over Vanderbilt in Nashville Saturday night.
WR Dexter McCluster: (On the offense) The first drive was very important. We wanted to get out there and establish a rhythm and consistency. We didn't score a touchdown, but I think we made a statement by marching it right down the field on our first possession. We wanted to keep that mentality the whole game. We weren't able to do that, but we were able to come out in the first five minutes of the second half and do it again. The first five minutes of each half is always important and we did well both halfs tonight. The receivers were on, the backs were running hard and Jevan (Snead) was on, for the most part. We want to get used to the feeling of marching up and down the field. (On Alabama) We know we have a big challenge next week. We have a few things to correct, but we are getting our momentum back and that will lead to good things. We have a few more mistakes to eliminate to be where we want to be, but we are getting closer. On one of Jevan's interceptions, we had a miscommunication between me and him and it resulted in a pick. We will work hard this week to make sure that doesn't happen against Alabama. You can't have turnovers against a team of their caliber. We gained a lot of momentum tonight, but we lost a little bit of it in the middle part of the second half. We have to guard against that when Bama comes to town. (On his running mate, Shay Hodge, having a big night) I am very happy for him. He was hot tonight and Jevan kept feeding him. That will open things up for everyone. Shay is a great receiver and when he's hot, it's lights out. He had the feeling tonight and Jevan kept going to him. (On the defense) They are doing some great things right now. If they keep that up, and we keep getting better on our side of the ball, we will be very hard to beat.
TE Gerald Harris: (On his return to action after missing the last two games to injury) It felt great. It's painful to be watching your team from the sidelines and you cannot help them. My hamstring is great and we came out with a win. The trainers did a great job with me. (On the offense) We got a little confidence back tonight. That's a good feeling. We wanted to start out tonight doing good things instead of trying to build confidence during the game. I think we will take the field from now on with some confidence and start out strong. It was a positive game tonight. We were never down, we just weren't performing as well as we should. We are a positive bunch, so we will keep tweaking until we get it right.
DE Kentrell Lockett: (On the Red Zone play) It's pride. We have to be known for something - might as well be in the Red Zone. Coach Nix shows us what to do and we just have to go out there and do it. I've been pleased with the way we have buckled down in the Red Zone. On them getting into the Red Zone, I guess I should have a little concern, but I'm not because everything we did wrong are things we can fix, little things. We had fewer mistakes tonight and will keep having fewer and fewer. If we eliminate some little issues, we have a chance to be dominant.
OLB Patrick Trahan: (On his big night) I really didn't have a great first half, but I knew if I kept playing hard I could have a good second half and make Coach Nix forget about my mistakes in the first half. The linebackers kind of dominated tonight. We have been playing solid against a lot of different looks we have seen so far, but we seemed to be more tuned in tonight and got rolling pretty good. With all the spread teams we face, it's hard for you to show up with double-digit tackles every game - we might be clearing the path for our teammates to make plays and we don't show up on the stat sheet, but tonight the plays came our way more and we made them as a linebacking group. We are going to keep making plays as the opportunities present themselves.
QB Jevan Snead:(On the play of the offense early) "We really did start off great. We started out like we've been wanting to start out for a long time. We went out there and executed our plays the way we do in practice. It wasn't great there at the end, but I've got to give it up to our defense. They really did a great job. Personally, I put them in some bad positions. Still, as an offense, I think we played well. But there were definitely some throws I'd like to have back that hurt our offense. It wasn't anything they did or anybody's fault. I take sole credit for those picks. I'm really proud of our offense right now." (On the interceptions) "Personally, I put them in some bad positions. I was just trying to force a couple of throws. The second one just came off real bad. Right when I threw it, I knew it was bad. The first one, I kind of got hit when I threw it. I really think if I hadn't gotten hit, it would have been a big play our way. As far as the other two, they're just plays I'd like to have back. It wasn't anything Vanderbilt did or anybody's fault. I take sole credit for those picks." (On the unit's success on third-and-long) "It was one of the things we knew we needed to work on and do better at. First of all, we didn't want to get in positions where we were in third-and-long. Unfortunately, we got in a few of those situations, but did a great job handling it. I give all the credit to the offensive line and my receivers. They made some great plays." (On the momentum gained from the win) "I definitely think as an offensive unit, we leave here with some momentum. This game will be a great film to watch. As far as my picks go, I don't think as an offensive it's going to hurt us. Those are just something I'm going to have to watch film and get better at when to throw the ball away or take care of it."
CB Marcus Temple:
(On the play of the secondary) "We just are taking with the plan Coach (Chris) Vaughn has for us. We're trying to come out and capitalize. We study film a lot, but we just had to come out here and compete hard. We have a great group of guys. Like you said, at the beginning of the year, we got a lot of criticism. We wanted to come out here and get some respect." (On if he was looking to score after the interception) "I wanted to. I just needed a couple of more blocks. But I'm happy with what I got."
RB Brandon Bolden: (On his performance) "I think I played OK. I didn't play great or my best game. There were a couple of missed assignments and things I have to work on, but I plan on working on that tomorrow." (On the rhythm of the offense) "It really did feel like last year. We were clicking and on all cylinders and hitting everything we needed to hit on. It felt real good." (On the momentum lost after the interceptions) "Just because Jevan threw a couple of interceptions, it doesn't mean anything to us. We know we can still go out there and throw it or run it by them. It really didn't hurt us at all. But we know it's something we've got to work on and improve the next time."
DT Jerrell Powe: (On the defensive performance) "If I had to score it, I'd say we scored about a 90 on a scale of 100. I think we played well – especially in the first half. We came out in the second half and stoned them. That's the first time we've done that all season. Even though we did give up some long runs, we stoned them that first series. It was good to do that." (On the red zone defense) "Coach Nix always tells us, when we get an opportunity to play in the red zone, one of our goals is to not let them score. We take pride in it and get real aggressive down there." (On the offsides penalties by Vanderbilt) "I was talking a little noise to them when they were jumping offsides. I was saying, ‘Ya'll are complaining when we make our move calls, but ya'll are the ones jumping offsides." (On the mind games the unit was playing) "It's real fun. Just to be out there talking noise and knowing if you say move, they're jumping offsides. So I was saying it under my breath a couple of times."
WR Shay Hodge: (On his performance) "It was by design and I think Jevan did a good job of reading the coverage and coming to my side. I'm glad he did. It was one of the best times in terms of rhythm for me that I've had. I love getting the ball all the time like that. I hope it continues to happen. I was glad to get it before halftime. Coach got me the ball and I'm happy with it." (On the rhythm of the offense) "I sensed it. The coaches really simplified the playbook and went with plays we really, really know. I really think that got the offense going. That was really the key. By simplifying it, Jevan was able to run and do what he knows best." (On the cushion given by the Commodore cornerbacks) "I wasn't really surprised by it because that's how they did in film. It wasn't a surprise." (On the unit's play after South Carolina) "It was fun and I'm glad the coaches wanted to get me the ball. I know I can help this team. It felt good." (On the mindset of receivers when they're not getting the ball) "That's what I try to tell everybody when we get made when we don't get the ball. You've got to have a lot of character to play wide receiver, especially if you're not one of the main guys getting the ball. You just have to have a good attitude." (On the momentum lost after the interceptions) "I think we lost it a little bit. The defense stepped up and took it upon themselves not to let them score. We have a few kinks to work out. Jevan has some things to work on and the receivers have some things to work on. We're nowhere near where we will be. Once we get there, we're going to be pretty hard to beat. Today was a step in the right direction."
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