Sept. 22, 2012
Ole Miss 39, Tulane 0
Tulane Game 3
New Orleans, La.
HEAD COACH Curtis Johnson
"It was a tough outing for us. The freshman quarterback played good in spots. Part of his learning curve is just being a freshman. It's not the easiest position. The defense played well. Monroe was outstanding. Besides the high snap on the punt, I felt the special teams were pretty good. I thought the guys did a great job on the return game."
On the efforts of the team
"I thought or the most part the efforts were pretty good. I think (Ole Miss) is a good football team. They can score a lot of points, they showed that last week. They have some good players and we just couldn't get it going enough offensively. I say again because we need to get better at running the ball. There's only so much we can do with a young quarterback. He struggled a little bit and he had poor body language a couple of times. He'll get better. It was his first true start and he'll get better."
On the third down conversions
"It was a big deal; you want to keep the chains moving. I don't think that they did anything to inhibit us on third down. I thought it was us. We have to be exact on third down and I think that's something with Ryan Griffin we were pretty decent at. I think as a young quarterback, they pressure you on third down and that's something that affected him."
On the play of freshman Darion Monroe
"He was sensational. He can play anywhere, any position we need him to play he can play. He moved to safety out of necessity and he came up big. He reminds me of a young Ed Reed. He's a fantastic player and I wish we could have more of him."
On the play of freshman quarterback Devin Powell's play
"What happens with young players is the game is faster than they think. For him, the game got a little fast sometimes. He said it last week, and he'll probably say it again this week. He'll catch up with the speed of the game."
On the tributes to Devon Walker
"It was a collaboration of efforts by everyone. I think the players came up with twenty-one or twenty-two different suggestions, but we couldn't do them all. I thought the t-shirts were a great idea. I don't know if we're going to wear them again, but I wouldn't mind wearing them again. The helmet was sensational. Having the jersey out on the field was good, and his locker was dedicated also."
On the emotions of Devon Walker on the players
"I think we wanted to win the game or him more than anything, but I think with the game it was about getting better on our assignments and getting our alignments down. We have to be sure to tackle and we need to convert third downs."
On the team's struggles running the ball
"We have to figure out what we can do and do it. We've tried almost every conceivable run, I don't know if there's anything easier to be done."
On the status of quarterback Ryan Griffin and running back Orleans Darkwa
"I think (Ryan) will be back next week. From the early reports, he will be back next week. I think Griffin's our starting quarterback. Griffin will help us to win games. I think Powell can be a change of pace guy, as we bring him along. It's just too much for him right now. As we bring him along, he'll do great, but it's hard for him right now. On Darkwa, he's an experienced player. The more experience you have, the more you can lead by example."
On the play of the offensive line
"I don't think we've really solidified the offensive line yet. Four of the five guys starting hadn't played before. That's no excuse, but we just have to play better."
FRESHMAN QUARTERBACK Devin Powell
"My thoughts were just about getting the job done. I just need to keep working on my progressions and continue to improve. If I can do that I think we can get the job done."
On sustaining drives
"I have to finish for my team. I have to step up because getting hit is not really anything for me. I have to keep focusing and stay in the right frame of mind. I have to do what I am asked to do."
On what can be taken from the game
"I just have to keep my composure a little better. That's what I need to do is just keep my composure."
FRESHMAN SAFETY Darion Monroe
On his 12-tackle performance
"It was pretty good. Twelve tackles didn't mean much because we still lost. We are going to get back to the drawing board and we're going to come out and win some games."
On the defense's performance and turnover production
"We caused a few turnovers. Our goal every week is to cause at least three turnovers and today I think we caused three, maybe four. We just have to come out and win some games. We have to get off the field and get the offense the ball. The more chances (the offense) has, the more they chances they have to make plays and put points on the scoreboard."
On adjusting without Devon Walker
"It's different because now I'm in his position so I feel him with me. I try to play just like (Devon). All week, I was watching film on how he played the position and I tried to mimic him. It worked out well. He was known for attacking the ball and I came out and made some tackles."
On his comfort level at position
"I feel real comfortable back there. Coach (Jason) Rollins worked with me all week and he made me confident. I came out and made some plays and just did what I had to do. (Shakiel Smith) lined me up, the linebackers, they did their job. We made some plays but we still have to come out with a win."
OLE MISS QUOTES
HEAD COACH HUGH FREEZE
"We were thrilled to get win number three on the season. I thought our defense played really well all afternoon, thought they played with good heart and were pretty sound. We didn't give up many explosive plays like we've been guilty of the first few games. So I thought we made improvements there. Any time you shut somebody out at the division I level, you know everyone has some playmakers so you know you've had a good afternoon. Really good to see Chief (Brown) get that last play there to preserve that shut out. Offensively we're all over the map, up and down; some good, but a lot of bad. You know when you don't take care of the ball, you're lucky to win. And we didn't take care of it this afternoon. We've got to continue to work on that, but there were some positives in that aspect also."
On Burnetti's performance
"I thought he played solid. For the most part he took care of the ball. He had one mishap there on the exchange. But he took care of the ball and made the right progressions in his reads. He missed a touchdown on a play we had. He didn't see our guy in the back field who could have walked in I think. I thought he played well, moved the change for us."
On the dropoff during the second quarter
"I was very irritated at half time. I just thought we kind of lost our edge a little bit. We worked hard all morning and all night last night gearing them up for what we knew would be a different atmosphere. We've been at home three straight games and a lot of these young kids have never played a morning game. To put them in the Superdome which is a totally different environment we were really concerned. I couldn't be more pleased with how they played in the first quarter and then couldn't be more disappointed in the way we did not pay attention to details in the second quarter."
On the turnovers
"They are just not high and tight with the ball and then traffic happens. We'll watch the film to see, but that's what it appeared to me live."
On how getting ahead 26 points in the first quarter allowed for experimentation on both sides of the ball
"We brought 75 (players) on the trip and we played all of them. We got considerable reps and we got a lot of kids rested. I don't know that we did too much experimenting on the offensive side. Defensively there was a little bit (of experimenting) at the end. Offensively it was more about getting guys reps and getting out of the game in a classy way and also to keep everybody healthy."
On the importance of the defense getting a shutout after last week
"I think it was huge. I thought we needed some confidence there. Our confidence was shaken a little bit after last week and obviously we're still young in a lot of spots. We're fishing to get into a great stretch of football teams so we needed some confidence going in. I think anytime you can pitch a shutout at this level you got to gain some confidence from it."
On how prepared he feels heading into SEC play
"Only time will tell that. I wish we would have played four great quarters of offensive football today, but we didn't. We've struggled to do that somewhat, but you know when SEC play comes around we're going to have to be more competitive."
On playing on the road for the first time
"I think for us to show our young players what it's like to be on the road with us, how we're going to prepare on the road and how we treat it as a business trip (was important). I thought it was very good for us to do that. It was great to see all of Rebel Nation show up today. It certainly wasn't a hostile environment like we'll face next Saturday night. There will be some adjusting to that to with these young kids and even the ones that haven't been in that atmosphere, like it will be. We'll have some things we have to work on this week to handle that."
On his thoughts on the secondary after this week
"I'm going to have to watch the film, but on the headsets I know (the coaches) were pretty pleased with the safeties and Charles (Sawyer) at cornerback was solid. We struggled a little bit at the field corner, they just weren't understanding what the call was, where when you help and when you can be more aggressive...We have to continue to get better at all those places, but no doubt there was some improvement."
DEFENSIVE END C.J. JOHNSON
On the defensive performance this week
"We still had a couple of letdowns there in the fourth quarter, but we played pretty well."
On if the front seven had a good day
"That was our goal the whole week, to get ten sacks. I don't know if we got ten, but we got pretty close."
On the defense's feelings after Chief's interception
"It was a sigh of relief, because the whole week all we've been talking about is getting that shutout. I'm sitting here thinking, `Alright, we're winning, we got this, and now the whole defense is falling apart.' Then we get to the goal line and Chief gets the pick. I don't know, it was a sigh of relief. It was exciting."
On carry over into next week versus Alabama
"Definitely confidence. Anytime you get a win you gain some confidence, especially with the state that we've been in the past two years. It's great to get a win, but we just have to put our hard hats on and get prepared for Alabama next week."
On the defense heading into the game versus Alabama
"We feel pretty confident. We can play with anybody in the country, the only thing about it is, when you're playing college football, you can't beat yourself and expect to win. That's just the bottom line. If we do our assignments and what our coaches teach us to do, we can beat anybody."
CORNERBACK TRAE ELSTON
On his comfort with the play calling
"I think I did very well. These last three games I've been getting a few reps and I think I did very well."
On the hardest part about the adjustment to the college game
"Just catching up to the speed of the game, but I think I did very well. What I mean is, just reacting to plays, learning the formations, you need to react very quickly, and I think I did very well adapting to that."
On the defense and the team in terms of being ready for SEC play
"I think we're ready. We just need to stay focused on the plays and our alignment assignment and we'll be good."
On the team's confidence following last week's big loss
"Our confidence is very high right now, you know I think we did ourselves in against Texas, it was mainly our alignment assignments, and if we pay attention to those little things, we'll be good."
On how hard was for him not be a part of the Texas game last week
"I just pushed on my teammates. It wasn't that hard (for me). I mean, I was still there for my team so it was alright."
CORNERBACK CHARLES SAWYER
On how it felt for to be back at cornerback
"Good, it's going to be a lot of fun. I can't wait for the next game and every game after that."
On getting a shutout
"The shutout was very important. This was a big part of what our coaches were talking about. They told us that we have to have a shutout. We had to have a shutout. That's what they preach and that's what we did."
On handling the early lead
"Good. (Tulane) drove it down the field and we stopped them. It just seemed like everybody was on the same page."
On if turnover and interceptions are infectious
"Absolutely. Anytime you win the turnover battle, you have a much better chance of winning the game. That's what coach always tells us."
On how the defense is going into SEC play with Alabama
"Good, we are getting better. Every day is a test for us and we just need to work together to get better every single day."