Postgame Quotes vs. Kentucky – Ole Miss Athletics

On the defense:
“I think they really believe and they play really hard, we do not because they’re pace play rotate many guys today so a lot of guys, a lot of them played most of the game for the most part in the back seven. Chris has done a great job and ya know I’m proud of the guys and that’s a top ten team without the running back. So you wanna play important, they’re already in the top ten. So then, obviously they’re even better so that’s a big time ya know defensive day, especially at the end.”
On securing the win:
“I think the game obviously could’ve went easier if we score there and  go up two scores. We’re down there and we go for it,  that’s analytics, I’m sure a lot of people wouldn’t like that. But, six points can do a whole lot of good, comparable to leaving a whole team down there and we’re going up by tens. When things happen like this it brings your team together, people gotta rise up and they gotta make plays. It was cool because the defense made a play that some would say okay we won the game, well no we’re still keeping at minutes, and then they did it again which was huge.”
On Dart’s passing tonight:
“I thought Jackson played well. I mean I’d be surprised I’d say that you know in a 22-19 game but I thought he did really well and a poor decision which is when he threw the interception which we needed to get points there going into the half with some momentum and you know we had a power read where he pulled it that would have scored down on the other side endzone there. Other than that, I thought he played really well, really poised for a hard defense, big game and made a lot of plays. He was composed you know what I mean seemed like they didn’t rattle him at all.”
On Reese’s importance to the defense:
“Well, you know he came really big, someone who sits through the first half and then they come back and they’re rested …. and he was serving for the rest of the day. So, we’re just going to sit him for a half and came back excited to play. I thought he did some good things in there and we needed him too. It makes it hard run game which they do really well and playing a good quarterback I mean they’re offensive coordinator says he’s the first pick of the draft so that’s pretty good defense to hold him to 19 points the first pick of the draft.”
On second-half offense:
“We will go back and watch the film. I obviously didn’t do great things especially at the end not to finish out. We did move the ball but just didn’t finish drives there in the third quarter and didn’t have a lot because of the style they play with and that’s going to be the case. You are not going to get a lot of chances and you try to make the most of them. We left the ball on the four- or five-yard line instead of getting the touchdown.”
On having proof of concept against a top-10 opponent:
“It is what it is. It’s one game. Looking at the games is what a coach does. That can go either way. They’re a really good team that plays really hard with really talented players and good coaching. We also don’t all of the sudden have everything figured out. We made a play in the game there at the end. We’ve got a lot of work to do. Excited to get back to it and excited to stay undefeated.”
On freshmen taking on a top-10 SEC opponent:
“Well, they did a really good job. Just looking off of offensive stats, you’ve basically got almost all freshmen running backs and transfers outside of Mingo. It’s good that they’re coming together. I think that if they can continue to do that, I’ve always thought from the beginning, that they would eventually be a special team that got better because they came together. You’ve got a bunch of free agents at the end of the year, especially since one is the quarterback too. I’ve said since the beginning to these guys that this is a very talented room. It’s more talented than the last two years of what we’ve had. It doesn’t even look like the same team. We’re going to come together and do a lot of things.”


On what it meant to secure a big play:
“It meant a lot. It was a tough week in practice just coming in knowing what we left on the table last weekend. Just get back to work, back to focusing on the details, not making the same mistakes two weeks in a row.”
On defense techniques and the missed tackles as well as defense as a whole:
“That was something we were hyper fixated on. It was relentless from the coaches, coming in and having to correct all the little things. We did things well last week, we did things well this week. But, there’s again little small details that we need to harp on and we just go back at practice and just focus on getting better.”
On transfers and freshmen on the defense and their growth:
“Week 1 was terrible. Week 1 was something we were embarrassed to put out on tape. We went back, reassessed, and got back to work. We didn’t have a great week last week. So, we did the process all over again, and that’s something we need to get out of. Just keep doing the little things and keep planning our best at all times and not having stuff like that happen to push us into gear.”
On the quarterback change in the last minute in the end:
“It was something we were made aware of as soon as the change was made when the guy went down with cramps or something like that. Coach came to the sideline and was like “we need to attack that guy, he’s coming in, he’s fresh, he’s young, he hasn’t been in the whole game, we need to show him what we are about, and just go straight for that matchup.” I think that’s why they chipped, but I guess it wasn’t enough.”
On what the sideline was like at the end of the game:
“It was so crazy, we were just like ‘Ain’t no way we just did this’. We believed in our defense. We believe that our defense is the best defense in the country, we got players out there playing like they’re top players in the country. We weren’t worried, they held them one time so we thought they would do it again.”
On how big is this win given how many new guys are on the team:
“I think we just gotta finish more. We were right there at the door, we just gotta finish in the red zone. We playing good, we just gotta finish our drives.”
On his connection with Dart:
“It’s just the play calling. Coach Kiffin is a great play caller, he’s going to put you in position to make sure you can make the play, so it’s just on you to make the play. Dart was talking to me a lot, he was all about ‘Keep your head down, do your thing.’ We know everything we bring into the game today, but it was just Kiffin’s play calls.”
On how Dart is leading:
“He is young, but I think he’s experienced. He played a little ball up there at USC, so he is young but he is going into it the right way, being a leader on the field and being a leader off the field.”
On how the offense can improve when they get close but can’t finish:
“I thought that’s a part of our offense where we’ve been really efficient and really really good at this year. We just had some slip-ups, made some mistakes but usually we’re good down inside the red zone and finishing drives. Like I said, It’s a learning experience for us. That’s a really good team we played against. Sometimes you face things that just don’t really happen sometimes and it’s a good learning experience for us because we’re just gonna carry it moving forward.”
On a sense of legitimacy now that you’ve knocked off a top 10 opponent:
“For sure. I think we’ve all known how good that this team can be. You see spurts of it every single game. There’s times where we’re more consistent throughout the game but you see spurts where we look like we’re one of the best teams in the country. I know the levels that we can reach as a team we just gotta find a way to keep moving forward and continue to drive consistency with one another.”
On how the defense has grown since the start of the season:
“It’s been really cool. Our team has a lot of new faces and a lot of the new guys that are filling roles, especially on the defensive side, from last year. I would just say that our coaches have really helped us really well each and every week and they put in a real good game planfor us and our defense had a ton of energy, and that’s something that we feed off of as a whole team. There’s times where they make big plays that help the whole team. You’re seeing it just like we are, they’re getting better each week and I think that they’re surprising a lot of people. They aren’t surprising us but they’re surprising a lot of people with making big plays.”
On how it felt to focus on his passing game rather than rushing today:
“As I just kinda reflect on the game, there’s a lot of things that I need to improve on whether it be timing or footwork. Definitely have some plays in the back of my mind that I wish I really had back and could’ve been some game changing plays for us. I’m just gonna carry it moving forward and starting tomorrow, try to fix those things and prepare for next week and try to get better at them.”
On how comfortable he is now vs when he first got here:
“I would say mentally I’m way more comfortable. I compete every day that I’m out there so the competition thing doesn’t really get into my head as much, being able to just go out and play ball and have a ton of fun doing it.”
On feeling different going into this week preparation wise:
“I think our whole team felt that we needed to have a sense of urgency going into this week to curb the mistakes that we made in the past game. I thought that this week as a whole team was one of our very best weeks. For example, we had a fast Friday, and it was one of the best fast Friday’s we’ve had since we’ve been here. I think that we just gotta keep having that mindset each week.”
On how his chemistry with the WR group has grown as a whole:
“I think it’s something that’s really neat. I’ve never had previous experience playing with these guys. For example, Jaylon, Flash, and Malik, we didn’t even get time together in the spring, and Mingo was out the spring with injury, so we’re all still new to each other so it’s really exciting cause that chemistry is just gonna continue to grow and we’re gonna continue to get better as a team. The limit is untouchable for us, we can be so good, so I’m really excited for what’s coming.”
On how quickly they’ve grown together to compete against top teams like Kentucky:
“I’d say a huge thing, we were kinda talking about this in the locker room, is just how tight we are as a team. Our chemistry is very good together on and off the field. You have so much time in the day when you’re just focused on football and you’re with your teammates and we love every minute of it, there’s nothing else that we’d rather be doing. When you have that friendship and that bond together that really shows in a game like this where you just gotta grit it out and find a way to win. If a team’s not like that they’re not gonna win so I think that says a lot about us.”
On how Will Levis played and how he was protected:
“I thought at times he played exceptionally well, protection was pretty good. With this structure, there were times he was maybe looking, holding the ball a little bit. You watch tape, and it will be easier once you watch tape to say “hey you could have went with the ball here now or there”, but for him there’s a lot of moving pieces, a lot going on, he’s playing very good football. You know, if we get our guys set, he throws a dime, wins the game, and everyone is saying “wow, pretty impressive”, to lead us back on two drives late in the game. Not sure on the very last fumble, what happened on the protection.”
On finding something in Barion Brown:
“The big plays have been there for us all season, whether that be in special teams or whether it be in the pass game. We felt like we had a couple opportunities, he missed the one there late on the last drive as well, just out of reach. He will continue to work on that, I expect him to make that play. I’ve seen him make it in practice, but even on the one that got us down there, I feel like he could have got in. He was a little banged up too, he will be fine, but it was a rough game. A bunch of our guys got beat up, we are just sore, banged up, and bruised. But, I thought he was gonna break away the kickoff return and that pass play. He’s a very talented young man, and he also plays extremely tough.”
On how were they hurting UK in the first half, and what adjustments were made:
“You know its gonna be a challenge, you know that going in. We’ve talked enough over the years about the tempo and getting used to it. They can only go so fast for so long, and our guys get our feet in the ground a little bit. Settle down and start used to that pace, its almost impossible to practice that. We try, we do a variety of things to, but it’s still difficult early on. Also to their credit, they blocked us, they made us miss, and hit some explosive runs, and got us on our heals a touch. Later in the game we settled in, and played complementary football in the second half. The offense moved the ball, had some good possessions, defenses got some good stops. We flipped it, first half we felt like we were in bad field position and they had good field position, second half it flipped. We ended up getting some good field position, defense getting a good stop and getting the ball back at the 50. I thought god gave us some good momentum to get back in that game.”
On How he wants his team to respond to this game:
“We talked all week, I told them, the more precise team will win. We weren’t precise enough in certain situations. I love the way they didn’t even blink, they had full confidence that we will come back and win this game. We just didn’t make the plays right at the end. We are fractions off. You’re one guy getting set from winning that game. They will learn from it, that showed a lot because it was kinda the same situation in Florida, everything wasn’t going smooth, behind on the road. Okay, go in regroup, make our adjustments, come out and execute and go put ourselves in a situation to win a game. You’re not always gonna do it, but you’re gonna darn sure work at it and give yourself an opportunity to go win.”
On the frustrating loss:
“Coach Stoops always talks about teams beating themselves and the other team beating them and that’s what we felt like happened. They’re a really good football team and they played really well but I feel like we became a better team towards the end there but we shot ourselves in the foot when it mattered. I needed to be a better game manager at the end there especially on that touchdown pass when we were obviously trying to catch them off guard with that call. We have to make sure everyone is set and that’s my job. That’s on me. That’s the game if we could have completed that. I’ll put it on me. Can’t turn the log like that whether it’s a strip or a fumble. Just have to be better.”
On what’s ahead for the team:
“I mean we still have everything we want on the table for us. We just have to take it one week, one game, one day at a time. I’m really proud of how our guys battles today. We have a lot of guys banged up. We showed that we can win games like this. We should’ve won. We should’ve won games like this. Were obviously doing things right and we just have to keep trusting our operations.”
On the coaching staff:
“We always work hard on the plays that we do and that we put in for me and also for my other fellows. Knowing that we have plays for everybody is cool.”  
On the defensive players:
“I told them in the locker room, I said you stepped in fairly well and I’m proud of him. The reserves work really hard. They are always ready for the opportunity and they showed up today.”

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