Houston Nutt Press Conference: 10.29



Oct. 31, 2011

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


Opening Comments:

“One of the things that is always tough is when you come back in here on Sunday after a hard fought game where a lot of guys laid everything they had on the line and had a lot of improvement, but you have nothing to show for it for the record. It is about wins and that is what you fight for every single day.  We try to prepare hard. We have one goal.  We want to win and play for sixty minutes.  We put a real emphasis on the third quarter.  A lot of the time when we come out of half time our mindset is so good. I thought our mindset was good coming out there last weekend, however, we are not a team right now that can overcome giving them the ball. We can't have turnovers.  We hit a first down pass with Donte Moncrief but we had a penalty and then we were backed up to first and fifteen. You can't have those kinds of things. We can't give up the explosive play. The bottom line is trying to figure out all the energy and fight.  We have to have everybody do their part and play as hard as they can for sixty minutes.  Not for forty minutes or fifty minutes but for all sixty. That has been our biggest things. We pull out the plays and show them where they are now and where they've been. Bottom line is now we have to win.”

On Kentucky:

“Kentucky plays hard.  Winston Guy Jr. and linebacker Danny Trevathan, who has been an All-Conference guy, play hard. They try to be disruptive. Rick Minter does a good job with their defense.  A lot like us, they have let some games skip.  Offensively they have not been as productive.  They have a quarterback they moved in.  He is  6'4” and is more of a thrower.  Morgan Newton does both. He is more of a run-pass guy.  They do a good job. Offensively, they are more play action with Newton.  Maxwell Smith is more of a thrower. Again, our whole deal is stoping the run and not getting up explosive plays. Defensively, we have to handle their pressure. We have to get their linebackers involved. They are good athletes. We have to do a good job of executing.”

On Randall Mackey:

“That is the first time I have seen him that off target as far as guys that were open. He usually hits those passes.  I have seen him do it every day.  His deep ball was under-thrown a few times. You don't have to say much to him. I know how Mackey goes about things. He is very conscientious and he will listen to David Lee. He has always had a short step and has never had a long stride. It is not a habit. I think bottom line is that he did not play as well as I think he his capable of playing.”

On the 4-2-5 defense:

“We started this thing with the idea of players such as Brishen Mathews and Damien Jackson being close to the box while Marcus Temple, Charles Sawyer and Wayne Dorsey were in the back.  There are a lot of names missing that you can think of. This question is much harder to answer now that we don't have the same names. Again, I think it gives us the best chance to be successful because of the personnel that we have. Even as thin as we are, we are able to get the four best linemen that we have and the best athletes that we have on the field and go try to make plays. We cannot give up the big one.”

On feeling confident about beating Kentucky:

“I don't know if they actually look at it like that. I know that talking to seniors and guys that have been playing that they want to win.  It doesn't matter who it is, it is the next game and it is the most important game. They are a team a lot like us. I don't know if that makes you more excited or not. I want them to be excited about playing for sixty minutes, everybody doing their job and playing with a lot of passion and energy. Let's win and get a victory.”

On Cameron Whigham:

“Cameron Whigham did an excellent job and did a good job of getting off against blocks and a tough offense. His gap responsibility really made plays for us in the backfield. I was really proud of him. Also, I thought Kentrell Lockett had his best game of the year. We didn't see him limping around as much. That was good to see. I expect those two guys to keep coming for us.”

On defensive depth:

“The first thing that jumps out is losing Kentrell Lockett who hasn't been healthy all year but is a real rush guy.  An older linebacker will be important. A cornerback and a safety right down on each level. We need true difference makers. We want to try to build that thing. We might have D.T. Shackelford going to defensive end. He has played linebacker and defensive end.  Mike Marry could possibly play defensive end. We have scenarios with guys that have played football in the SEC. If we plug in difference makers at linebacker or safety or corner, all the sudden your defense looks different quickly. With Sedarius Bryant and Keith Lewis getting better, that is exciting.”

On the future of the program:

“Nobody wants to be in this position. Coming into the first week in November we didn't think we would be where we are. We hate that.  A lot of it is where we look back and see guys who should be here. Guys such as Clarence Jackson, Patrick Patterson, and Tig Barksdale that for whatever reason didn't work out.  It hurts your numbers. What makes you hopeful is a player like Sederius Bryant. Cody Prewitt and Keith Lewis are two redshirt freshmen that are growing up in a hurry. Byron Bennett and Carlton Martin are going to be outstanding. Offensively, Aaron Morris is getting better each snap. Tobias Singleton, Nickolas Brassell and Donte Moncrief all have made significant plays that are typically made my juniors and seniors. That is what gets me excited. We want to finish out the right way and give these guys some hope. There is one anecdote and it is winning.”

On Bryson Rose:

“His number one attribute is work ethic. He walked on and earned a scholarship. There is something about a guy that walks on, pays their own way and earns their position. It seems like it means so much more to that guy. He comes from North Carolina and wanted to be a part of the Ole Miss program. His work ethic and attitude is outstanding. We can count on him.  Anytime we cross the thirty or forty we feel like we have three points in the bag. He has gotten stronger. I know there are times he wants to kick a field goal at the forty or forty-five yard line. He is consistent and has done an excellent

On job security:

“I have been in this league many years and I don't look at it that way. I don't look at it the way most people do.  I don't look at it like this could be it. I am in charge and responsible of about 120 guys and I love it here.  I know that they pay me to win. Right now we aren't winning. I look at it in the complete opposite way that most people do. I take every single day and give you everything I have from daylight to exhaustion. I have done that since I got here.  I want to make a difference in a young person's life and win football games. We haven't done that this year and I don't like that. I hate losing. There are players who feel the same way I do.  We hate losing. We don't want that.  We try to give them the best plan possible.  Every single day you come to work and sometimes you stay up late at night thinking about what is the best plan I can give these guys so that we can win. It's all we think about.  For me to walk on egg shells and come in nervously and worrying about if this is my last day or last game or last month, I don't look at it like that. I can't do that.”

On the run defense:

“Their tailbacks are getting too many yards. There are too many explosive plays. We have to be better. I think our guys know that and it is about putting two halves back to back. In the first half we have been good but we have to finish it. It is going to take better tackling. There have been times when we have looked so good and everyone has been in perfect position.  We have gotten big hits and kept them behind the count. Then we get into a groove where they stay on the field too long. The offense has to help with that, too.  Our offense has to stay on the field.  It seems like we haven't played together where everybody helped each other. There hasn't been one game where everyone has been helping each other. That means offense needs to stay on the field and put up points on the board.  We want to keep the defense fresh. Playing like that is the recipe to win and it always has been.”

On third-quarter improvements:

“Again, the only thing I know to do is keep emphasizing and play our way out of it. I don't think we'd be talking about that if we made one or two more plays. To me that equals a win.  I have been involved in a lot of long games and a bunch of overtime games. We have been known as a fourth quarter team.  Brandon Bolden is playing seventy or so plays and is touching it twenty times  and covering punts.  Not too many people can do that. He has been hurt on and off too. Nickolas Brassell who goes both ways has put in a lot of good effort. We have to keep fighting and working on finishing. The best way I know to do that is to harp on little things. We have to play our way about it.”

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