Sept. 6, 2009
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Tommy West Postgame Quotes
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
Ole Miss 45, Memphis 14
"We didn't do what we said we had to do to win the game. Offensively, we felt like if we could score or punt--not turn the ball over and not help them, it gives us a chance to get into the fourth quarter and gives us a chance to win the game. There is no doubt in my mind that would have happened (had we been able to do that). I thought we played good enough defense to have a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter. The first two series we were a little bit shaky. I think our guys got a little bit too jacked up at the start of game. We had some errors. Once we settled down and we made them punt it, the punter turned the ball over eight straight series defensively, and that is good enough to get you into the fourth quarter and get the win.
Offensively, we made errors and didn't do the things we had to do to give ourselves a chance to win the game. I am really disappointed in what we did offensively
I really anticipated we would be better at protecting the ball and doing the things we had to do to give us a chance against a really good team. I thought the pick right before the half was a killer. I thought if we would have gone in 10-7 (we would have been in good shape). Our defense had all of a sudden been playing great and momentum is on our side going in, and then we throw the pick and they go in for the score. That kind of took the air out of us right there."
About running the ball against the Ole Miss defensive line
"I thought we ran the ball good enough to win the game. It wasn't great. You're going to hand the ball off and you are going to have some no gains because they are really good up front on defense. I thought (our guys) battled their tails off, and I thought we really, we busted some runs. I thought are backs played really good and again. I thought are backs gave us a chance to win--our line and the run game, but the pass game got us in trouble."
What happened on that interception at the end of the first half?
"Yeah, we tried to get a first down, but then again in that situation I'm not sure I wouldn't have handed it off and punt the ball and get out of (the first half) 10-7. Saying that, hindsight is 20-20. Hindsight is easy. He threw it in a bad place. He looked and saw it was zone coverage and he anticipated man coverage, we all did on a third down. It wasn't. They played zone and he threw it right to them."
What about that delay draw call on 4th and 1 that got stopped for no gain?
"Yea, we missed a guy. We had a chance there in the fourth quarter, and we missed a couple of fourth downs. I give them credit for that."
Talk a little about the play of Lance Smith?
"I thought Lance (Smith) played good. You can see why I have been saying what I have been saying about Lance. Lance is our guy that can make you win and can get it when it is not there. I thought he played really good. He protected the ball. I thought Curtis (Steele) played good. (T.J.) Pitts didn't play a lot, but I thought all three of those guys played well."
Do you start working in any other quarterbacks during this week of practice?
"Yeah, I don't want to create a quarterback deal, but then again we have got to play better than we did today. I think we all know that. That is not a secret to anyone that watched the game. We can't continue to make errors and give up touchdowns, we can't do that. We are going to look at all of our options and see where we are; see who at the end of the week gives us the best chance to win."
The final score really wasn't indicative of the game, was it?
"Not at all, you know what I don't get into that. I was trying to win the game. If by trying to win the game, it gets out of hand. I am just not a guy when you get those first downs, even though the game might not be a game you are probably not going to win, just punt the ball and get them down there instead of giving up the score, maybe. I don't like to play that way. We play our tail off and try to win the game. It wasn't indicative. You watched the game and the score wasn't anything like the game was. The game was a hell of a game up until we gave up the other score in the second half."
On the defense keeping Jevan Snead in check
"I thought they played good. I thought Kenny (Ingram) did a nice job of mixing the three man front, four man front. We were getting around him some. We were hitting him as he was throwing the ball a lot today. We didn't sack him a ton. We hit him a lot as he was throwing the ball. I thought Kenny (Ingram) did a nice job. He mixed zone. He mixed man. I thought he had him a couple of times. He (Jevan Snead) threw the ball in the middle because he thought we would be in man. I thought they did a nice job. I thought our defense really played well. We gave up 10 points right off the bat. We gave them a short field and they got a score. Then like I said we went eight series where they didn't get anything. I was pleased. I think we have a chance to have a really good defense this year."
On the fourth down in the fourth quarter, you line up in the shot gun. Is that just your offense?
"Yep, that is what we do. It is easy to second guess. It is really hard for us to get under center and take the snap because we never do that. That happens nine times out of 10 and you try to be one those teams, and they got everybody on the inside. That is hard to do on them. That is just the nature of what we are. We ought to be a really good offense in third and short. We have to get a lot better."
It looks like your quarterbacks like Marcus Rucker, can you talk a little bit about that?
"I think with (Marcus) Rucker, the offense doesn't lose anything. Rucker is a good player. I have said that since he has been here. I think Marcus can be like Duke (Calhoun) and like Carlos (Singleton). I think (Marcus) is a really good football player."
Ole Miss Head Coach Houston Nutt
Compare the last quarter to the first three.
"I thought that the last two quarters, our offense really started coming on. You have to give them credit. Now, I think Memphis is much better. I want to give them credit. I thought Memphis played really hard. Their quarterback looks a little bit more comfortable this year. They have, of course, some big weapons that we were afraid of. That running back (Curtis Steele) runs really hard. Give them credit. But, our defense was outstanding today. We missed some tackles that we shouldn't have. But they kept Memphis backed up, kept pressure on the quarterback and just kept them off balance. And, we were able to roll. One strength we really had was the defense being able to rotate some guys so we could keep everyone fresh. That just puts pressure on the quarterback, so that helped us a lot."
How big was the pick six right before the end of the first half?
"Oh, that was absolutely huge. Huge. That was a lot of momentum, and it gave us some confidence, and that really helped us."
Talk about QB Jevan Snead's play.
"Jevan Sneed didn't have his game going in the first half, but it wasn't all his fault. But, the second half he came back and really executed. Another thing you have to love about Jevan is that when things don't go just right, he doesn't put his head down. You don't have to be concerned about that. He's a winner, and the guy really came back and played well."
Were you a bit reluctant to pass downfield because of your concern about protection?
"Yeah, I was a little bit early on. We were trying to get in a rhythm. Every time I had in my mind, `Lets make a first down, and then we'll throw one.' But, we never did get to that point. We were off balance and out of rhythm."
Your thoughts on # 78 Bradley Sowell?
"I'm really proud of him. There are some things that he has to work on, and he was fighting through them. He got hurt a little bit, and he was questioning whether or not to go out there at one time. But, he sucked it up and got back out there. He was hurting a little bit, dehydrated. But, he really fought hard."
Would you say that at halftime it was a pretty darn good defensive game?
"Absolutely. No question. We were frustrated offensively, felt like we stopped ourselves. But, you have to give Memphis credit. But our defense hung in there and hung in there and made some plays. They just kept pressuring. There's nothing like pressure, and our guys kept getting pressure on their quarterback and running backs."
After this game, do you want to have a bye week next week?
"Well, I can't control that. The schedule that Langston (Rogers) gave me says we have a bye week, so we're going to take advantage of it."
Your thoughts when you saw #86 Greg Hardy go down.
"I said `Oh, no. Not again.' Once I knew that it wasn't a knee, I knew he was going to be okay. His ankle was swollen up a little bit. I mean, you have to give it to him. I bet this time last year you would have said that he wasn't going to go back out there with a swollen ankle. But his mind set is different. He wanted to go back. I love that."
All in all, how would you rate your team's performance?
"Wins are precious. Wins are precious. There's nothing like being 1-0. We stunk it up the first half offensively. But, what I love is that we came back, didn't hang our heads and had short memories and said, `Hey, look, we have to go execute now.' That's what I feel good about."
Talk about the job you guys did in the secondary.
"Awesome. Just spectacular. You know, it kept me up all night, really all summer. Six-nine Singleton, 6-4 Calhoun, and the other guys are good too. I mean, this is a good team. If you look at them physically, they have some good looking guys on that team, and they're good football players that are getting better. But I'm proud of our guys and our fans. Our fans showed up and they were awesome."