Nutt: 'We're still so disappointed'

The following is Coach Houston Nutt's press conference the Monday before the NAU game.

Nutt: After watching film, we're still so disappointed. We gave them so many gifts. On the road in this league, you just can't give them those gifts. We gave them a lot and really beat ourselves. I was really proud of some of the holes and the running lanes. If you'd have told me we'd rush for the amount we did, especially the number of plays we had in the first half, I'd have thought we won by 10-14 points. Defensively I know we're better and we've got to improve. Our guys started out the right way yesterday.

Q: Do you think the secondary will bounce back?

Nutt: I do because of the seniors, Kendrick, Cassius, Marshay. They've played good all year. I know we can play so much better. There's nothing we can do about that. We've just got to correct and go.

Q: What does the secondary have to do to get better?

Nutt: That's what makes you mad about this game. It was a very winnable game. We felt we were better in a lot of areas. Bottom line is you've got to do it during that 60-minute time.

Q: How about the presence of mind by Rodney Scott not to push the injured Auburn player of him after that play?

Nutt: It was unbelievable. I went out there concerned about their player but I also saw Rodney out there. I asked Tim Mullins and he said Rodney was OK. What I couldn't believe was that Rodney had the presence of mind as a freshman to lay there and not get up. We're coaching all the time to get up and get back in the huddle. It was a miracle he didn't push the guy and tell him to get up. I was really proud of the way he handled that. That was the weirdest game I've ever been involved in when you look back at it top to bottom, especially so many bad things. The kickoff return back, the blocked point when we don't catch the snap to the hold, the injury and possibly saving a guy's life – that's not an exaggeration, that's what the doctors said - just a weird game.

Q: Did you send any of the three questionable calls into the SEC for review?

Nutt: Yes. And that's all I can say.

Q: Talk about an FCS game this deep into the SEC schedule.

Nutt: We've been watching Northern Arizona and they do a good job of coaching. They have some good athletes on both sides of the ball. I'm not involved in scheduling. This was a late, late game. We were supposed to play another team. But it fell through, whatever happened. We're just proud to have you guys come out.

Q: What do you know about NAU?

Nutt: Defensively they're very sound and well coached. They play hard, and they do some good things. They mix up some blitz package. Offensively they try to spread you out. They throw the ball and mix it up with some run. Being at Murray State, I can relate to what your coaches are trying to do, the team that they have and the conference they're in. I respect that conference. We're excited to get back on the field, bottom line.

Q: Lumberjack quarterback Michael Herrick is returning to Oxford. What are your thoughts on that?

Nutt: I didn't know that. I didn't know the young man. We're more concentrating on our guys and trying to get things fixed and get better.

Q: How difficult was it after the Auburn game?

Nutt: It was a tough ride home, to be honest. It was tough yesterday. There was a lot of hurt there. But that's the way it should be. The only thing I know to do is go back to work and roll up your sleeves. You can either hang your head or go back to work. This is a beat ‘em up league. I know you get tired of me saying that but it's so true. From top to bottom no matter who plays who, you'd better be ready to go. My whole deal is I know we have not played our best game yet. I don't like giving things away. I don't like helping somebody else. It's a hard enough game as it is. We've relied on our defense the whole year and we expected good things from our defense. Offensively usually our first drive tells a lot about where we're going. It was a miracle to get the ball back after the fumble on the kickoff. Then to go 90 yards and it's 7-0. That was exactly what we wanted. We've got to do better with the opportunities we get. We've got to practice like that. It's important to play like you practice.

Q: The offensive numbers are not as good as last year.

Nutt: When you have an illegal procedure. When you complete a pass and hold. We're not a good third and long team. That's what stops us. We stop ourselves. That's been our No. 1 problem. Turnovers. Holding. Illegal procedure. You can't do it.

Q: Did you talk to Jevan about the draft and other things that might happen with all the publicity he got before the season or did you just let it play out.

Nutt: We talked to him. Kent Austin talked to him. I talked to him. We told him you're not going to sneak in another stadium and sneak out. Those days are gone. We told him to continue to be Jevan. Don't feel like you have to be Superman. Sometimes he feels like he has to make a play. You can't do that. Our protection is not as good as last year but it has gotten better. But all of us have to get better. Not one guy. It takes 11 and some backups.

Q: Do you have to emphasize to you team to make sure and not overlook NAU to Tennessee?

Nutt: Yes, always, always. If I had my way I'd have all four non-conference games first and then play SEC ball. It's always difficult jumping out of conference especially after a physical game, and then three games left after that. I look for our guys to come out with the idea of improving and executing to get better.

Q: Late in the game down two scores, it seemed like a lot of time ran off the clock. Is that hurry-up offense something you have to work on?

Nutt: We have a two-minute offense. But we feel we have to do a better job of executing. Some of the things we had dialed up were even executed but for an illegal procedure, a fumble, then it's third and long. Again that's what's really hurting us. We can do much better getting in and out of the huddle. We've got to improve on that.

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