Nutt: 'Nothing like a celebrated locker room'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The following are Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt's postgame comments after his Ole Miss Rebels beat Vanderbilt 23-7 Saturday night.

Nutt: Nothing like a celebrated locker room. If you open that door you can hear them. Nothing like a celebrated locker room. The guys worked hard throughout the week after a very disappointing week last week. To pull together and stay together, we needed this victory in the worst way. It's always tough beating Vanderbilt, if you go back through the history. Y'all know it better than I do. This is always a tough, very close ballgame. We knew that. We knew what to expect from Bobby Johnson's teams. They always play hard. They're sound. They're well-coached, and they're tough, especially at home. This was a good win. I was proud of our offense in the first half. I thought they executed very, very well. Jevan was on fire. Shay Hodge made some good catches. Brandon Bolden ran hard. We're having to move around people at fullback because of the injury to Andy Hartmann. You don't realize until you go on the road when you miss a guy like Andy Hartmann or Gerald Harris. It takes away from your offense. We got Gerald back, at least 80 percent tonight. Played quite a bit, proud of him. We've just got to get better. We've got to improve on this one. Got a big game coming up at home.

Q: Was it frustrating to watch Jevan's mojo kinda slide away in this one after he appeared to have it back?

Nutt: Yeah, that was difficult. He's better than that, and he'd be the first to tell you. We can't have that from him in the second half. We had all the momentum. We were executing very, very well. We just can't see things that aren't there. Dump it to the back or throw it away.

Q: Did you want to get Shay more involved this week, or was it something they gave you?

Nutt: It was something they gave us. We want to get him the ball. They were playing cover three. They were playing off Shay and we tried to get him the ball.

Q: Your defense was good again.

Nutt: Outstanding tonight. We put them in some very bad situations in the second half. I just thought the effort was good. We were able to roll, our defensive line. That's an advantage. Guys like Jerrell Powe and Teddy Laurent, Lawon Scott, Lamark Armour, Lockett, Hardy, Emanuel Stephens, Tillman, that's a good feeling. That's a good front.

Q: Talk about the task ahead - Alabama.

Nutt: You're not going to let me get to 12 midnight, are you? They're tough. They're one of the best football teams in the country right now, because No. 1, their defense. I don't think anybody's scored very many points on them. Their defense is very, very good, led by McClain. Their offense is not making any mistakes, and they're scoring points. So, it's going to be a real battle. I'm glad we're playing them at home. Looking forward to it. We're going to watch this film and we're going to get after it this week. It's going to be fun.

Q: You cannot turn the ball over against them.

Nutt: You can't turn the ball over against anybody in the SEC if you want to win consistently. You can't do it. This was one of the widest margin of victories after all the years, if you go back and look (at UM-Vandy). The widest margin of victory since '98. That tells you. It's just hard, guys. So you can't gift wrap turnovers. You can't do that. We're not going to do it next week.

Q: It seemed like your linebackers at least statistically were a lot more active tonight.

Nutt: Trahan was phenomenal. Ten tackles. He's so fast. He's outstanding. Allen Walker. We're thin there guys. We're thin. They played the entire game. D.T. Shackelford is still banged up. Hopefully he'll be back. Joel Kight came in there and rested him a little bit for us, but he's young. He's a true freshman. So basically you have Cornell, Allen Walker, and Patrick Trahan playing the entire game.

Q: Are you seeing the secondary kind of get better, even though Vanderbilt isn't the best passing team in the world?

Nutt: We're not giving up big plays. We always got questions about the corners. Are they going to hold up? We had to move Marshay. And so we're thin there too. Cassisus Vaughn has come on. Marshay's come on. Johnny and Kendrick have been very good. They're playing good together. There's good chemistry.

Q: Were the interceptions Jevan threw bad reads?

Nutt: I know one was for sure a bad read. The first one. Bad read. Just throw it away. He's covered. We had a hitch and go, and I haven't watched the film, he tried to either throw it to the back shoulder or he tried to force it in there. We don't have to do that. We're up 23 to whatever. Just leave it alone.

Q: How did you feel about Brandon Bolden?

Nutt: I thought he was a warrior tonight. Just ran hard. He does so many things. He catches the ball. He blocks for us at fullback. We put him at tailback. He's a kick returner. He does a lot for our football team.

Q: Injuries? Did you come out of this one in OK shape?

Nutt: I think so. I'm going to go check. Usually I would know by now (if there were). So I think that's a good sign.

Q: Did you get a chance to watch Alabama today against Kentucky?

Nutt: Yes, and it's just what we were talking about earlier about not having turnovers. The turnovers flipped the game around. You've got to get to the fourth quarter with a team as good as Alabama.

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