Houston Nutt Press Conference: 10.17

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

Oct. 17, 2011

Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt met with the media Monday and discussed the Rebels' upcoming game versus Alabama.

Video

Opening Comments:

“Let me open up with a bit of sad news.  I had to dismiss Melvin Harris from our team.  We have really tried to help him for three years and he is going to continue to go to school and hopefully get his life in order.  He may transfer to a 1-AA school and finish there.  It is sad, but I know that we did everything we could to try to help him.  The University of Arkansas is a very good football team.  I think we are facing the best quarterback in the SEC in Tyler Wilson.  He is an excellent quarterback and is very accurate.  He can throw every ball and has excellent receivers.  Greg Childs, Joe Adams, Chris Gragg and of course their backs will all be involved.  Dennis Johnson and Ronnie Wingo will also be involved.  They are good on offense and score points.  Defensively, they have been very active. Jerry Franklin and Jake Beckett are good athletes that make plays and do an excellent job of getting to the football.  Yesterday we got back in the film room and we tried to get some soreness out.  I was proud of our guys, especially in the first half. I thought we played extremely hard and we were right there. They are a good football team bottom line. They wore us down, especially in the second half.  Wayne Dorsey had surgery yesterday.  He, along with Marcus Temple, will not be able to play the rest of the year. We will miss those guys because they were great leaders for us. Wayne and Marcus were playing their best football.  Marcus was playing the secondary better than he had his whole career. That hurts. It is time to step up. What we will do from there is work on trying to get the best fit in those positions. Wesley Pendleton, Charles Sawyer, Damien Jackson, Frank Crawford and Senquez Golson have to step up and go to work for us. We will call on Gerald Rivers, Jason Jones, Kentrell Lockett and C.J. Johnson to step up at defensive line.  We will see how things go with Uriah Grant. He could move inside, but we could keep him outside as well.  We are trying to work to get our best guys on the field and see what the best fit is.”

On Arkansas' offense:

“They will spread the field with three or four wides. The thing we cannot go to sleep on is that they will hand the ball to Dennis Johnson.  They will mix it up with the draw or inside zone or outside zone or screen. Last year Knile Davis had a good game against us with the running game. As good as their passing game is, we have to respect that and stop the run too.  It is important.”

On Uriah Grant:

“For his first time there at defensive end he did a good job.  I think he had three or four tackles and he held the point. He is strong he did a good job. When you see the score in four quarters nothing looks good.  When you go back and watch the film you see his tremendous effort and how he was trying to hold the edge for us. Those things are good.  Now with a different style of game we have to see what is best for us as a team.”

On film from the Alabama game:

“I am more into the first half. We didn't have a penalty and I thought we played hard. I wish we would have gotten one more score in the first half.  That would have been a major difference. We should always score on the one-yard line.  That makes you sick.  It is hard to say this but there were things we did better. Things like screens and draws looked good for a moment but they are so quick and so fast everything gets closed up in the blink of an eye. They are a different level of team.”

On the progression of Carlos Thompson:

“He has put on some good weight.  He is around 250 pounds and is still trying to get stronger.  Playing in the SEC in the trenches at defensive line is a major task.  You are going against big people.  Getting off blocks and doing those things consistently is still difficult.  Carlos is a tremendous athlete and one of the best things he does is rush the passer.  A game like last Saturday would not be as good for him right now.  I am not saying it won't be.  In the future he is going to be a good football player for us.  He has come a long way and  who knows, this could be the week where we use him more.”

On leadership:

“We always worry about who is going to step up.  With Marcus Temple and Wayne Dorsey I always knew that the locker room would be all right.  With them out recovering from surgery it is important to fill their void. That was what the meeting was about yesterday. It is so important to hang in there when things aren't going just right.  We have to keep fighting, hang onto that role, and everybody do their part. This is where we are going to call on Damien Jackson and Bradley Sowell and Brandon Bolden, who was at practice yesterday. It felt good to see him back out there wanting to be a part of this team and do things the right way.  It is all hands on deck and every body has to do their job and be positive. We have to have the right attitude in this league.”

On Evan Swindall and Jared Duke:

“Evan graded out well.  Going against one of the best defenses in the country there are times he didn't always get his block. We didn't have any illegal procedures.  The ball starts with him.  He had excellent snaps and we are very proud of him. He graded out well for his first start this year and I am very proud of him. Jared Duke has not played as much this year. He was a little out of shape early on but he is coming back strong.  He will be a good football player but he is just young.  He played a lot last year due to other player's injuries but has not been on the field this year quite as much. He is on special teams, PAT,  field goal and at the right guard spot.”

On SEC losing streak:

“It is not good. I hate that you brought up that.  I hadn't looked at it like that. It is not fun. Winning is how you spell fun. It is not a good feeling to lose.  You want to win. That is all you try to do each and every Saturday. It is difficult, especially on the western side.  Not only in the SEC, but the western side is one of the toughest divisions in America because of the caliber of athlete that is on the field every Saturday.”

On holding the team together:

“The way we played the first half of the Alabama game is positive.  There have been a few bright spots when we execute and play hard on offense, defense and special teams.  When we do that we look like a football team. A lot of young people are playing hard and making a lot of plays for us. To me that is what gives you hope.  We look at the next opportunity.”

On Tyler Campbell:

“Tyler Campbell has done an excellent job with punting, rugby punting and pinning the opponent inside the 10-20 yard line. Ferbia Allen has been excellent at tight tend and special teams for us. I have been really proud of those guys.”

On the status of previously suspended players:

“It helps that they will play this weekend, especially Brandon Bolden. That gives us a lift.  They started out good yesterday.”

On Tyler Wilson:

“I love his toughness number one. I love his accuracy and he throws all the balls you need to throw such as the deep ball, the digs, crossing routes, drag routes and swing routes. The ball is on the money and is away from the defender. He is an excellent quarterback.  He gets them to the right play.  He has been so consistent.  We played against Tyler last year at this time and we know he has more confidence now than he did last year.”

On player's mentality:

“I tell them to keep things inside our IPF when we come to work. I want them to concentrate on things they can control. We get to play the greatest game there is. We have to enjoy it even though times are tough.  We want to come to work with a smile on our faces and try to get better. Worrying about anything else is wasted energy.”

On Charles Sawyer:

“We are still discussing and talking about moving him back to cornerback. He has four interceptions at that spot. He is comfortable there and we have to talk about how many plays Nick Brassell can handle during the course of the game as well as Senquez Golson. We are still in the stages of discussing what is best.”

On having a week with no disruptions:

“Can we have a perfect week? There are some years that you feel like once you get going you have something like Wayne Dorsey and Marcus Temple's injuries happen. It hurts your team and hurts everybody.  The only thing I know is that we have to role up our sleeves, go to work and get better with the guys that we have.  We need some guys to get better and compete hard.  I believe that we will have some guys step up.  Right now I couldn't be prouder of Tobias Singleton, Nick Brassell, Collins Moore, Donte Moncrief, Keith Lewis and Serderius Bryant.  Serderius has shown no fear.  He had to tackle two of the best backs I have seen in a long time and he showed no fear.  That is what keeps me going. Guys that come out there from high school and step on the highest level of competition and say let me have it. That motivates me.”

On generating a pass rush:

“One thing I have a lot of confidence in is Tyrone Nix, Terry Price, Keith Burns and Chris Vaughn. I know that they will work hard on that to where our guys aren't setting back there all day long. The thing you know is that when you bring it there are people that have a chance to make a big play. Somebody's band could be playing in a hurry.  We want to make sure our band is playing. We have to pick and choose our spots. There were a couple times we tried to get creative and it just didn't take. We have to manage that.”

On moving forward amid losing seasons:

“At Arkansas when we had the two bad years they had just announced the probation and loss of scholarships. We had some crucial starters get hurt.  That adds up. Losing scholarships and players is tough.  That is where your coaches and players have to stick together. At Arkansas we always stayed together. We fought through it. We knew that there was going to be light at the end of the tunnel, a lot like I feel here.  I really do.  I know it is not a train coming because of the guys that are playing and because of the young players that are playing. To me is is about hanging on, having a positive attitude, persevering and not giving up.  All those lessons to me is what football is about.  Everybody has to keep believing.”

On playing Arkansas:

“It is not like it was the first two years.  Being in the living rooms of Jake Bequette, Jerry Franklin, Jarius Wright, Greg Childs, Grant Cook and Grant Freeman still remind you that there are connections there. You see them play on film and are proud of them. The first two years were tough. The fourth time is a little bit different.”


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