Coordinators -

Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix could not enjoy the success of his group because the Rebels lost to No. 3 Alabama 22-3. Offensive Coordinator Kent Austin said it's back to the drawing board for an offense that gained only one first down in the first half against the Tide.

First the good, which there was not a whole lot of in the 22-3 loss to Alabama in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium before the largest crowd to ever witness a football game in the state of Mississippi.

The Ole Miss defense came to play, and play they did for most of the 60-minute game as the Rebel offense spent a good portion of the contest trying to figure out how to make a first down.

The Landsharks were on the field for 38:19 minutes despite holding the Tide to just 4-20 on third down conversions. Why? Because the Rebel offense was 0-9 on third downs and owned the ball just 19:33 minutes in the contest.

"We had some good moments throughout the game," said Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix. "We played well on third down for the most part and gave ourselves a chance.

"My guys showed a lot of character and heart. They played hard and were effective most of the time. I'd like to have a couple of calls back - like the run they popped for a touchdown right before half - and we needed to create some more turnovers, but overall they played hard and mostly effectively for most of the game."

On the 36-yard run by TB Mark Ingram on 4th-and-one with just 55 seconds left in the first half, Nix tipped his hat to the Alabama offensive staff.

"It was a good call by Alabama. I was thinking QB sneak or something right at us in that situation and they hit the edge. We didn't have a bad call on for that play, but it was not the perfect call and it popped open for them," he explained. "We brought more pressure up the middle and they bounced it outside."

Tyrone never thought his guys tired, even though they were on the field 2/3 of the game.

"We were rolling our players in and out and keeping everyone fresh and they are in great shape," Tyrone stated. "Alabama his a few plays on us - credit them, but overall this was an acceptable effort.

"By no means did we play as well as we can, but we came to play and we played hard throughout the game."

Nix challenged his group to play as well as the Alabama defense did.

"We don't think about what our offense is doing. We try to match the other team's defensive production," Nix explained. "In a lot of ways, we matched them, but we did not get enough turnovers. They beat us in that area. We needed to get more turnovers to match their defensive output. While I am pleased with the way we played, we can do better and we can get more turnovers."

Starting CB Marshay Green was lost in the second quarter due to a cracked rib and kidney issue - now word on how long he will be out - but Nix believes that can be overcome as well.

"Marshay was playing so well - I've been proud of him, but this will just give Jeremy McGee a chance to shine and we might activate Charles Sawyer from redshirt status," Nix noted. "Hopefully Marshay will have a speedy recovery, but we will prepare as if he will not be ready.

"Jeremy has been a little inconsistent, but we think he can shore that up. He has the desire and the ability to get it done. I was just talking to him down the hallway and he said 'coach, I won't let you down.' He'll be ready."

The flip side to the gallant effort by the Ole Miss defense was the perplexing play of the Rebel offense.

All week long, it was drilled into the offensive players' heads - take care of the ball. The preaching didn't take hold - the Rebel offense committed four turnovers, all interceptions.

"Alabama did everything we expected, but we didn't respond to it very well," said Offensive Coordinator Kent Austin. "Bama has a very good defense - very good - but we helped them out a lot too.

"Our offensive staff has to go back to the drawing board and evaluate every position. We have to find out what we can do, individually and collectively, more consistently. That starts with me and the whole offensive staff. We're playing too good on defense - we have to figure out a way to give ourselves a chance to win. What we did tonight did not work, for whatever reason. Sometimes we didn't throw the ball well. Sometimes we didn't catch it well. Sometimes we didn't protect well. We really have to look closely at all 11 positions on our side of the ball."

Naturally, QB Jevan Snead - 11-34-4 for 140 yards - was the focal point of the questions thrown at Austin.

"We tried to call some things early to get him going. When he has early success, he gets into a rhythm and is pretty darn good, but if he makes an early mistake, it tends to snowball on him a little bit," Kent evaluated. "He's got to learn to bounce back from mistakes. Every quarterback makes mistakes, but the great ones forget them and move on. And we need to help him at the other positions too. A couple of his picks were really good throws that the receivers bobbled. Jevan is so competitive and wants to do well so badly. He has to find a way to relax and not put so much pressure on himself.

"I have work to do, Jevan has work to do, but every position can do better. We are not good enough right now to play against a defense like that and expect to win with four offensive turnovers. As good as our defense is playing, they cannot overcome that. This rests on our shoulders and us getting better. That's just fact. Today, when we did find some cracks in their defense, we didn't make plays that were there to be made. When you have opportunities against a team like this, you better take advantage of them or you will be facing what we faced all night - third-and-longs and three-and-outs."

At halftime, the offensive staff made some adjustments that worked, some of the time, but again the Rebs did not sustain much and did not make all the plays available to be made.

"We used more movement in the second half and we emptied the backfield more, which is risky against a defense like theirs, but we had no choice," he said. "We needed to throw to our backs more and do whatever we could to spread them out some."

Austin believes the Rebels are lacking some things that would make a difference and he's got to figure out a way to develop them.

"One, I'm not sure we have a deep threat right now. In fact, we really don't. We are not stretching the field much like we could with Mike Wallace last year. We have to find that threat somewhere," he noted. "It's our job to find that formula and put these players in better positions. I am responsible for that.

"We need to be real honest with our personnel. Are we playing some kids too much and others not enough? Are we getting the ball to the right spots? I don't know right now, but we've got to find out in a hurry."

Austin said the offense can grow from this if they take on the right attitude.

"We have to be mature about this situation. Dig in and get better. Don't splinter," Austin said. "I really think they will keep pulling the rope together.

"We have to take this time to dig into the process of getting better, stick together and work harder, individually and collectively. We have to learn from our mistakes and grow from those mistakes. I can't state this enough - it's all of us. It's not just number 4, trust me. We've all got work to do and we all know the way we performed today is not acceptable."


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