The following are postgame comments from the Ole Miss players following the 42-17 win over Tennessee Saturday afternoon.
QB Jevan Snead: (On Dexter McCluster's day) I've known he was a special player from the first day I met him. He had one of those games where he could not be stopped and I am extremely happy for him. He's the kind of guy you want to see do well because he's an extraordinary person as well as an incredible football player. Watching him from behind and the way he can make people miss is amazing. I have the best seat in the house. (On his ankle injury) It got hurt on our second QB sneak for a first down on our second fourth down we were forced to do. It's not serious, but it hurt at first. As the game wore on, it got better. I wasn't able to put much weight on it at first, but it got better. (On not scoring right before half and missing a golden opportunity to stretch the lead at intermission) We needed to score some points there, but I was never worried about the momentum shifting. We were just playing too well on both sides of the ball. Everything we called seemed to work, we were executing. I was disappointed we didn't score there, but I wasn't concerned about it affecting us the rest of the way. (On his game management) Excluding the interception on the screen pass, that's all on me, I thought we did a great job of controlling the game and playing our game the way we practiced all week. It also made it a lot easier on me with the way we were able to run the ball. When your backs are breaking off big runs and wearing down the defensive line, it opens up a lot of things in the passing game. (On the effectiveness of the new plays the Rebs used) We introduced some new stuff early in the week. The coaches had a great gameplan. Everything they called was open all day against a very good defense. It was pretty amazing. Coach Nutt and Coach Austin called a terrific game against a tough scheme.
LG John Jerry: (On the game) We have been taking some heat this year about our offensive line, but we didn't let that bother us while we were getting the kinks ironed out and developing some players. We just wanted to come out and compete today, that's what it is all about. We wanted to send a message that we aren't scared of anyone. There have been times we haven't been effective enough this year, but it's not because we feared anyone. I thought everyone across the front played great football today. Everyone fought their butts off. (On Dexter's performance) The main thing with Dexter is to just stay on your guy and he will do the rest. He's got such great vision and quickness that if you will stay on your guy, the party is over. He's a threat to go all the way everytime he touches the ball. Electric. Who wouldn't want to block for him? (On Bobby Massie starting at RT and his move to LG) I have played guard before so it wasn't a big deal to me. I will play anywhere they tell me to in order to help the team. Bobby did a great job. He's a great listener. He's going to be a great player here for a long time. He knew all his calls and did the right things every play. I'm very proud of him.
DE Kentrell Lockett: (On his Friday night sickness) I started feeling bad in class yesterday so I went to the training room and they said I had a fever of 103 degrees. They put me in the hospital and gave me an IV all night. This morning when I woke up my fever was down and I felt great. I was ready to go. (On the defense) Their offense has been hot lately, but we have so much confidence on our scheme and in each other. We know the guy next to us is going to do his job and we play as a unit. Our biggest goal was to stop Hardesty. We studied him hard. He's a spinner, but we never gave him an opportunity to spin out of anything. We tackled real well today. We got after him and got him on the ground. (On creating several key minus-yardage plays) Coming into the game Coach (Terry) Price told us that if we beat the man in front of us, it was over - they would not be able to run the ball. Our inside guys and our shade guys whipped them and made their backs bounce outside or got them down behind the line a lot of times. Our linebackers were very good at getting them down when they bounced. (On watching Dexter McCluster) It does not surprise me. All I know is I am glad it's not me trying to catch him. He's so special to our team and our program. I can't say enough about him. (On the atmosphere) I think it was the most intense atmosphere we've had all season. It was a great atmosphere. The fans and everybody were just as hyped as we were because Coach Orgeron was back in town. It was hyped about 10 times more because of that. (On what effect Tennessee had on their motivation after the Vols started collectively jumping before the fourth quarter) It's our yard. You wouldn't allow somebody else to come into your yard and disrespect you like that. We took it personal. We weren't going to let them get hyped and get crunk, we were gonna get crunk. We got the crowd in it with us. We came out, executed and took the air out of their ball. (On the critical third-and-2 stop after Snead's interception) It was the nail in the coffin. We told the offense ‘we got you,' we out and played ball. They gave up after that. (On being bowl eligible) That's big. Last year, we got a taste of it. Now this year, we can get an even better taste. We're just going to try and take advantage of that opportunity.
RB Dexter McCluster: (On if he met with Coach Orgeron after the game) I couldn't find him, actually. I saw Coach Frank (Wilson) and a couple of the strength coaches. They congratulated me. It was good to see them again. (On if he was aware of his numbers during the game) Kind of towards halftime, they were throwing some numbers out. But I told them I really didn't want to hear it. I had another half to play. But when they told me three yards was all I need for the record, I told Coach (Nutt) to throw me out there. (On his 282 rushing yards, the most allowed by Tennessee in its history) That's big. I know the Lord took care of me. I'm just going to keep blessing him and giving him the glory. I'll keep running. (On what the last couple of weeks have been like for the team) Our mood's been up. We had that loss to Auburn, but we didn't flinch. We came back out to practice the following Sunday and went to work. We have a lot to play for this season. Now we know we're in the position we need to be in. (On the perception that this season has been a disappointing season) People can talk what they want about the disappointing part, but it's not disappointing to us. We're bowl eligible now. We've got win number seven and we can move forward. (On if he ever watches himself on the jumbotron after an exciting run) I look up there every now and then to see what I saw. I want to see if I can see it again. Sometimes it surprises me the cuts I do. (On his unmatched ability to cut) I guess you're just born with it. I was born with some good vision and some quick feet. It just happens off instinct and 99.9 percent of the time, it's right.
LB Jonathan Cornell: (On the defensive line) They did an excellent job. Jerrell Powe, Lawon Scott, Ted Laurent, LaMark Armour – they were solid up front. I don't think we would have won without them. They were outstanding today. (On the defense's performance overall) I think we did a pretty good job. They were mixing it up pretty good in the first quarter, but other than that, we did a good job of adjusting. It was a total group effort. (On the return of Orgeron) It was pretty cool. It's one of those things to where when you see your friend across the street, you kind of want to beat them up. There are no hard feelings towards him, it's just how it is. Anytime you're going against someone you know, you want to stick it to them.
FS Kendrick Lewis: (On the defense) It was a great scheme by Coach Nix. We practiced real hard on those guys and studied a lot of film. We were able to compete at a high level. We stopped them when we needed to and got the ball back to our offense, who played well the entire game. (On the third-and-2 stop) It was a challenge. In our defensive huddle after a turnover, we always got to put out the fire and get the offense the ball back. So we challenged each other to go out there and stop them. (On if the win was the most complete game by the team this season) From the outside looking in, I would say this was the most complete game. We were clicking on all cylinders. (On being bowl eligible for the second straight year) That's real big. It's something I can probably say Ole Miss hasn't done in a while. It's a great feeling.
WR Shay Hodge: (On the offense) With Dexter at tailback, it makes the offense a lot easier. Jevan (Snead) doesn't have to try and force some throws or make big plays on third-and-long. It's a lot calmer out there. (On Jevan's play) He was making all the right throws. He only threw seven incompletions. But when you've got a running game like that, that's the easiest job for a quarterback. Dexter makes us click. (On rolling up 492 yards of offense on UT) I think switching the offensive line up with John (Jerry) at right guard and Bobby (Massie) at tackle really helped. Those are two big ole linemen out there. With those guys and Dexter at tailback, we flowed real well.
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