POSTGAME QUOTES: OLE MISS VS. ALABAMA
Sept. 17, 2016

Recap |  Notes


Ole Miss Football Postgame Quotes

Ole Miss vs. Alabama

Vaught-Hemingway Stadium – Oxford, Miss.

Sept. 17, 2016

Ole Miss Head Coach Hugh Freeze

Opening Statement…

“I’m really proud of the effort of our football team. I think we are so shorthanded on defense right now, and for the effort that the young kids gave today, I was real pleased. We as coaches need to do a better job of helping our young men understand the vale of every single play during the course of the game has the same weight and will measure that in the outcome when you are playing a top team in the country. The game turned on a 15-yard penalty and then a kick out of bounds that gave them field position at the 50-yard line, and a punt return. Add to it our turnovers. You could say that they had one of those too. It resulted in a lot of points to them. Give credit to them. Of course, they are a fine football team. We couldn't stop the run and we aren't very good on third down on either side. I’m really proud of a lot of things. We are playing a lot of young kids in a lot of areas. I thought that they competed. I am excited about getting back out there on the field with those guys. You will know that this is possible when you play some of the nation’s best teams. I love the fight and effort. We have tottery to get some things corrected for sure and hopefully get some guys back, on the defensive side especially.”

On whether it was composure or discipline that was lacking in the team…

“The only thing I felt like was the 15-yard penalty. I’ll have to see it on film. I think it is more of an issue. I didn’t see anyone lose composure, but maybe discipline. Your eyes, where they are supposed to be, and fitting the right gap and doing it with some urgency on the defensive side. Offensively, we have got to take care of the ball. We scored enough points to beat an Alabama team. I think there was good energy and focus on the sideline. I didn’t think there was lack of composure.”

On the team bouncing back after two losses where they lost the lead…

“You depend on the leadership in the locker room in D.J. (Jones), Issac (Gross) and Evan (Engram), Chad (Kelly) some of those guys, Tony Conner. Our coaches understand that we will get judged in this arena by what the scoreboard says, but we don’t have to define ourselves by that. When we get up tomorrow, we will know that the mission is still the same, and that is to impact the men in this program positively. I think we are competing at a high level. The schedule is a tough one. We knew that. We very well knew that we could get beat by these teams at the front end of the schedule. Injuries haven’t been our friends either. We lost some really good players, and that is next man up. We have to play the next guys and get ready, and we will be excited as coaches to get them in here tomorrow, put this one in the trash and get ready for Georgia.”

On not scoring a touchdown from the 1-yard line…

“I don’t know that we could move them either on a QB sneak. On the inside zone play, I thought he scored. They reviewed it. It looked like the ball was across the line and he didn’t. The next play there was a blown assignment. We as coaches need to get that fixed for sure.”

Ole Miss Student-Athletes

#38, John Youngblood, DE

On the game…

“We came out and played a very good team. Hats off to Alabama, they are a very well coached team. I thought we did a lot of good things offensively and defensively, but we just need to finish ball games.”

On growing up in Alabama…

“This has been the second most emotional week of my life. After losing my dad, it was really tough getting prepared for this game. It is actually a dream come true to be able to play against my home team and a team I grew up watching. To be able to play as many snaps as I did, it is just a dream come true for me.”

On the fumble recovery…

“I told somebody, I was running like the devil was chasing me. The first thing I though of when I grabbed that ball was my father. As soon as I ran off to the sidelines I pointed up to my family; my uncle and my aunt all the way from Raleigh, North Carolina, they came to see this game. I can’t wait to go visit with them after this.”

On the physicality of the game…

“Well, you know, there are some big suckers you are lining up against. Kind of being shorthanded, like we are, you go into a game not knowing how many snaps you’re going to have to play. You obviously know it’s going to be a lot, but you don’t know how many. Just the hits you take play after play, they really add up once you get to the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter in the SEC is just as real as you think it is.”

#17, Evan Engram, TE

On the biggest challenge Alabama presented defensively…

"Up front, it's really hard to run the ball on them. We were successful today on offense, but it's really crucial to try to be a balanced offense, to get a mix of run and pass. They're a really good run defense—best in the country hands-down. They have a lot of movement, even on the goal line. It was tough." 

On his wide-open catch and run for a touchdown…

"I'm just locked in on the ball, just making sure I look it all the way into the tuck and just take off. I knew I had a lot of space. We had a great play call. (Alabama defended) a run play like that and they bit on it, thinking we were running it again and we just slipped up the seam. As the ball was in the air, it was just locking it in, bringing it in and make sure to take it to the end zone."

On the team's mindset going forward…

"We've got to live inside-out. I say it all the time, talking to anybody. From now on, we've got to play for us, play for each other. We just have to take care of us, take care what we have to do, play for each other and win out for us. And let the outside world take care of itself. The SEC is a grind for every team in this conference, and anything can happen. We just have to worry about ourselves—and that starts tomorrow."

Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban

Opening Statement…

“There was only one think I was hoping for in here, that there was a seat. We have coaches getting IV’s, we have players getting IV’s, but the old fella doesn’t need one. What a great college football game. I never ever remember coming back from being 18 points down than being 18 points ahead. In seconds let them score twice to be back in the game and the offense did a great job of taking the air out of it at the end. You have to give a lot of credit to all phases of the game today. I thought we did a really good job on offense controlling the ball. Defensively we did not play great. We gave up too many big plays, but we scored on defense. That is huge in the game the scores that we had on defense. We scored on a punt return, huge in the game. So all phases and players contributed to this. It was a great team win and we needed about every guy that we had out there to contribute in some way. We had guys playing out there at the end, a couple freshman, a couple guys were hurt, and Eddie (Jackson) went out. I think those guys will be ok I think the only guy that is questionable for next week will be ArDarius Stewart who has a knee sprain, but we don’t think it is severe, but we will make sure of all that and hopefully he will be back in a couple weeks. I thought Jaylen Hurts did a really good job of managing the game today, obviously made a lot of yards rushing. We have to continue to work on the passing game and we have to do a much better job on defense giving up explosive plays. We didn’t play that bad on defense, but we made mental errors and gave up explosive plays, didn’t play the ball very well in the deep part of the field. Ole Miss has got a really good offensive team. Chad Kelly is a really good player. I think it was huge when we stopped him on the one yard line and they had to kick a field goal there. This game was so wild, I am not sure whatever happened in the game that something crazy wouldn’t have happened past that.”

On the momentum swing in the second half…

“We told the player we thought this was going to be a 60-minute game. We probably would have to wear them down and beat them in the second half. I did not think it would quite that that way. I do think that the players seeing what happened in the Florida State game. When Ole Miss jumped on and made some big plays, got way up in a big game and Florida State just kept playing. It showed a lot about the competitive nature of the players who continued to do that. Scoring right before the half was really huge, twice, was big. They got one of their touchdowns their defense scored on us too, to get up 24-3.”

On if he saw the progress he wanted to see from the run game…

"Yeah. We ran the ball really effectively. We need to throw it a little better. I think Jalen (Hurts) sprained his wrist a little bit. It might've affected him a little bit in the second quarter, but he's fine and threw it better later." 

On the play of quarterback Jalen Hurts…

"The fumble sure wasn't his fault. We just busted a protection. The right tackle is supposed to block No. 30 (A.J. Moore) and he slid the wrong direction and nobody blocked the guy. I don’t think you can put that on a quarterback. He's very athletic. We've still got to work on the passing a bit. It's not that he can't throw it—he can throw it. We just have to get him more comfortable reading and making quick decisions and getting the ball out of his hand. I think the offensive line played a little better today and that’s why we were able to run the ball. But we also had a really good plan as to how we were going to run it. And I think Jalen being able to run it opens a lot of those things up."

On the momentum change in the second quarter…

"We just kept saying, 'We've got to keep playing, we've got to keep playing. Score one touchdown and we were back in the game.'  And we were able to score two. That's a message we always try to give to our players about how you compete, how you have to be relentless. That was the message for this game: overcome adversity. I actually talked to the players and asked them if they like football. They said, 'Yeah we like it.' Everybody raised their hand. Then I said, 'How many of you love it? How many of you really love it?' And a lot of guys put their hand up. And I said, 'How many guys really love their teammates?' And everybody put their hand up. And I said, 'You know, how to overcome burdens, whether its in a marriage, in a job?’ People are always excited—'Oh I'm going to get married. This is the moment of my dreams.' Then five years later, they can't get along at all. You get a job and you say, 'This is the job I've always wanted.' Then five years later, punching the clock, putting in time—there are a lot of ways you can quit. I told the players, you can overcome the burden if you really love. That's how you overcome burdens. People who quit can't overcome burdens. We'll have burdens in this game and we'll have to overcome them. That was the message coming here. I said, 'If you really love each other, you'll be able to overcome whatever we have to.' I never dreamed it would be like it was, but it turned out to be a pretty timely message, and the players really responded to it."

Alabama Student-Athletes

#93 Jonathan Allen, DL

On his 75-yard interception for a touchdown…

“I was just trying to wrap inside and then I got my head up and the ball just happened to bounce my way. Thank God for my teammates blocking for me. They’re the ones that really allowed me to get to the end zone and I have to give them a lot of credit.”

On playing in Oxford and the crowd environment…

“It was definitely a hostile environment and definitely a lot of energy. As a team we feed off that. We just need to come out and start better and finish better.”

On getting a win over Ole Miss after losing the last two…

“It’s always a big deal when you can get a win on the road against an SEC West opponent. You’ve got to give Ole Miss a lot of credit, they competed their butts off. It was really just a great team effort.”

#4 Eddie Jackson, DB

What does it say about this team to come from behind and get a win…

“We’re going to fight. We knew it was going to be a tough one and we had to come in and play four quarters. We allowed some big plays, made some errors and there are some things we need to work on. But it was a good win, we came out and fought.”

On how big of a momentum swing his punt return for a touchdown was…

“I think it made a big deal. We needed a big play and I’m glad I was able to make it. The punt route returners made good blocks for me, I saw a lane and I just hit it.”

On Jalen Hurts…

“Jalen is picking up a leadership role. He does the things he does on gamedays just like he does at practice. He’s putting the team on his back and showing everyone that we can count on him. We have a lot of respect for that.”


 

 

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