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Houston Nutt Press Conference – Field Position Makes Fate

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Houston Nutt Press Conference – Field Position Makes Fate

Opening Comments…

“It’s always good to win and I’m very proud of this team. They stayed very focused. They played extremely hard. I have to give a lot of credit to our seniors. Their leadership that they are showing on the practice field, they do it by example.”

“Defensively, I thought they did exactly what we asked them to do which was keeping the quarterback contained most of the day. There were two or three times when he got out of that pocket and you see what happened. (Brent) Schaeffer can really scramble and he’s better on the move. For the most part, they did a great job of (keeping him contained). They did a great job of keeping (Ole Miss) out of the end zone.”

“Offensively, we didn’t turn the ball over. We moved the ball, scored points. Felix (Jones) electrified the crowd (with his punt return to start the game). We had a tremendous crowd, too. It was a beautiful day with a great crowd. We appreciate the fans (coming out). It was a great atmosphere. We appreciate them showing up when there are a lot of other things going.”

“I have to give a lot of credit to Don Decker (UA’s head strength and conditioning coach). Our guys are staying strong. We are staying physical and strong. We are able to move the pile a little bit, especially if we see short yardage. We are able to get some movement. Same thing with the defensive line, we are maintaining our strength that we got in the summer. I like the way our program is going in that respect.”

On Sam Olajubutu’s status…

“Sam Olajubutu had an MRI today on his knee. We’ll know on Monday (if there is any damage). He’ll have to fight through the stinger but hopefully there is nothing torn or damaged in the knee.”

“He’s such a competitor and he has so much courage. He has just really given it up as a captain for his teammates. I’m really proud of him.”

“(If Olajubutu is out for Saturday) We would go with Desmond Sims, (Weston) Dacus and (Matt) Hewitt. We’ll go with those three with Adrian Davis and Wendel Davis the first ones of the bench. (Desmond) Sims would be outside.”

On other injuries…

“Antwain Robinson should be okay (to play Saturday). I think basically he just has a swollen ankle. We are going to push him and get him back. Cedric Washington should be back and ready to go this week. Hopefully, Darius Vinnett will be back.”

On Matt Hewitt’s performance this season…

“It has been a tremendously blessing to have that guy move from safety to linebacker. Reggie (Herring, UA’s defensive coordinator) gave him a crash course and he has only gotten better each game. He’ll run. He’ll hit you. He’s not shy. He’s still making a few mistakes but the good is outweighing the bad. He has improved and he has some instincts at linebacker.”

“Matt saves us at linebacker especially when (Sam) Olajubutu isn’t there. It’s a bad feeling when (Olajubutu) is on the sidelines, like yesterday. Every body that we have, which is thin, it has been a necessity (moving Hewitt to linebacker).”

On Jeremy Harrell…

“He really is (a first-teamer). We love pulling him when we are moving the pocket, dashing, throwing. He is a valuable senior and it’s hard to keep him on the bench because he is just like a starter. He can play right guard, left guard and center. He can be in there if anybody goes down. You just hate to have all that energy on the sidelines. We try to roll him every few series and it has been good.”

On how field position affected the Ole Miss game…

“We won the field position and you do it with the kicking game. You have to give Jacob Skinner and our coverage team a lot of credit. Our kick off return team. When you score that early, Reggie Fish did a nice job of making good decisions, catching the ball, letting the ball go in the end zone. All those little things add up. When you don’t turn the ball over and you win the field position it usually equates to a win.”

On the play where Darren McFadden took the direct snap…

“It’s a play we put in last spring. We practiced it and it depended on which game we would pull it out. He’s an old quarterback from high school so he can handle the ball. It did a nice job with the snap count. And he can hand it off or run it. It’s just one more play where there are a couple of thing we can work off of it. We are trying keep teams off balance a bit and make them spend more time working on it in practice. He could have thrown it to Peyton (Hillis) but we said if there is any doubt, just run it.”

On the members of the defensive line being from Little Rock…

“Keith Jackson, one our captains, is having a great year for us. Marcus Harrison, Jamaal Anderson, Antwain Robinson, all these guys are from the state capital city. There is a lot of pride. They’ll be wanting to play at their best (on Saturday) when they go back home. A lot of family will be there watching and hopefully there will be more energy.”

“(Changing the venue/scenery) really helps. We haven’t been there all year so our guys are looking forward to it. Change of scenery, change of venue (will help a little bit).”

On the non-SEC match up this weekend/Louisiana-Monroe…

“When you jump out of conference this late in the season, it always scares me. Your focus, you try to keep (the team) so in tune to the task at hand and then you jump out of conference, it’s not easy.”

“That’s the thing that is scary (ULM barely loss to Kansas at the beginning of the season). If you watch them on film, they spread you out offensively. They are going to run options and bootlegs. These kinds of games, you have to be ready to play. You have to play at a fast pace, fast level of speed, can’t take anybody for granted, all those things that we talk about. But it’s easier said then done. Anything can happen and you have to be ready to go.”

“We are playing at home, playing in Little Rock. It’s a change of scenery; they are looking forward to going to Little Rock. We have a lot of guys from Little Rock going back to their hometown. It’s an important game, every game is important (ULM) has nothing to lose and we have to be ready to go.”

On Mitch Mustain’s performance against Ole Miss…

“Mitch was efficient. He took care of the ball. He was very accurate. He was throwing the ball in time. He threw it away when he had to throw it away on the screen when (Ole Miss) sniffed that out. It was a good decision, don’t force it. I saw a good decision maker, good accuracy. He threw some good balls. I was proud of him.”

On the Ole Miss game…

“There weren’t that many mistakes made but the one thing I will emphasize to them is that I still know we can do better. I know we can block better, I know that we can catch the ball better. We can throw better. I think we can improve on every phase of our game.”

“I thought they were very focused. Coach Shibest did a great job with the special teams. What scared me the most was (Ole Miss’) special teams. Their punt blocks and all those things, that’s how they can get you. Coach Shibest had those guys ready to go and focused.”

On the atmosphere in the lockerroom…

“There is some confidence in there. But I think it’s a humble confidence. They are taking every day very business-like. I was proud of the SEMO week. I wanted the same thing this week. I was proud of our Ole Miss week because you jump back into to conference and you know how Ole Miss can be. They played Georgia toe-to-toe and could have won. They played Alabama to overtime and could have won. Anything can happen.”

On the kicking game and Jeremy Davis…

“Jeremy Davis has been great. We have a lot of confidence in him. That whole operation, Brett Goode the snapper, Jacob Skinner the holder, Jeremy. That’s why we tried that (54-yard field goal before the half). He felt like he had the wind behind him, he felt like he could make it. He’s got confidence right now. It’s awesome. It’s a great feeling. We feel really good about our field goal group, our PAT group but we have worked hard on it. From not being able to line up right to now where you are not afraid to call in the field goal team to get you points.”



Sports Category : Football