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Houston Nutt Press Conference – Getting Back to SEC Play

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Houston Nutt Press Conference – Getting Back to SEC Play

Opening Comments…

“It’s always good to win. It’s good that we got to play a lot of people. It’s one of the things that you love, when they practice as hard as they do, you get to reward them with playing. We got a lot of our starters out at the half way point. I was proud of our intensity and our focus. Early on, that’s a hard game to play sometimes. I thought for the most part they were very focused and they played extremely hard. Now it’s time to get on with the next one.”

On playing the reserves…

“You look at (Nate) Garner, (Joey) Crossland, (Chase) Pressley, (Mike) Aguirre, (Jose) Valdez, all those guys got 37-38 snaps. That’s good work. Malcolm Sheppard got his first start on the other side of the ball. He plays really hard and I love his intensity. A guy like Kane Wommack going in with the kick off team. Some of our seniors who normally don’t get to play (got in the game). We got to play a lot of people and they got a lot out of it.”

“Malcolm Sheppard had 42 plays. He played really well. He was hustling all over the field. He was the key on Keith Jackson’s touchdown. He got the key block and came all the way across the field to get the key block to allow Keith to score. He plays hard but he has to get better fundamentally using his hands. He’s one of the toughest freshmen we have ever had. We aren’t afraid to put him in the game.”

On Sam Olajubutu…

“Reggie (Herring, defensive coordinator) probably wanted to get him out after about 20 plays and I did too once we knew the game was in hand. He really wanted to play even though he didn’t practice very much this week. We let (Olajubutu) have about 20 more plays then anticipated. He’s such a solid player.”

On leaving players in a game too long…

“(In reference to Adrian Peterson of OU’s injury) it’s what I worry about, have nightmares about (players getting injured). When you are going to win the game, get your starters out. It’s really easy to put them back in for the third quarter but you don’t need to do that. When you have guys healthy, you want to keep them that way.”

On the running backs…

“What’s hard is when you are getting plays cut down this year because of time. We have been in some close ball games. It’s really difficult (to get all of them playing time). The thing we know with Michael (Smith) is that if we want a change of pace, if you want a different back, we are not afraid to put him in the game. Let him run the zone play, let him run the draws, he can catch the ball. He’s a good back, it’s just hard when you are trying to get carries to (Darren) McFadden and (Felix) Jones and you are trying to spread that around. Before this week, we were only averaging about 50 plays per game; that’s not very many.”

On the quarterbacks…

“Mitch (Mustain) is just missing a couple of things; the footwork, some fundamentals. I think it goes with concentration, the opponent. With a new freshman, a new quarterback, I think that’s experience. That’s one thing we tried to hammer all week long is the concentration level. It has to be at a high level. You want to look good, you want to execute. There are a couple of throws he missed that he would normally hit.”

“Casey (Dick) came in and was very excited to play. He did a really good job of running the offense and hitting some throws.”

On the Ole Miss game…

“I want the mindset that we have had the past two weeks. It’s just one game at a time. In this league, every win is precious. It’s a tough league. We have our hands full on Saturday. You’ll see two of the best linebackers in the league, if not the country. Patrick Willis is a big time linebacker. They played Alabama toe-to-toe and had a chance to win the game. They have gotten better the last three weeks.”

“They went back to the basics of running the ball. They run right at you with two good backs. They have always played tough defense. Their quarterback gives them a chance; he can move. He can escape problems. He creates plays with good receivers. They are a handful. Their defense has improved (over the last three weeks) and offensively they have improved.”

On being undefeated in the SEC…

“We always have that down before the season, when I meet with them, we want to be SEC Champions and you’d love to be undefeated. You think that way. The SEC is just so hard. If you pinned me down and asked me if we’d be undefeated in the SEC as of October 15, with our schedule, I’d say probably no.”

On the cornerbacks playing the entire SEMO game…

“We can’t take them out. It’s where we are missing some guys. Shedrick (Johnson) has been hurt. Darius Vinnett has a concussion again. It’s really hard. It’s frustrating (for Vinnett to come back from a knee injury and then suffer two concussions) because we need (Darius). He has a great attitude on the sideline and he’s a playmaker. He brings a lot of confidence to our team. He uplifts our defense. We’ll keep Matterral Richardson and Chris Houston in there; they have been doing a good job. We have been practicing it and if we had to move Michael Grant to corner, we could.”

On Keith Jackson…

“He’s the lead horse. He has really matured. He has gotten smarter on the field. When he was voted captain, he took it to another level. I can’t say enough good things about him. Everything means more to seniors, especially Keith. I loved (Jackson’s touchdown), I thought it was awesome. He did a good job.”

On Felix Jones and the backfield…

“We are so fortunate to have a quality backfield and the depth we have, especially playing in the SEC. Felix (Jones) is like a starter to me. You have starters in both him and Darren (McFadden). I like the way they praise each other, congratulate each other. They are good friends and it’s good to see that.”

“Felix (Jones) is an All-American. He has grown a lot since the USC game. Turnovers aren’t one of his characteristics. No one hated that more then Felix. He came back strong. He was very down that week (after the USC game). He’s been working hard. Being in Darren McFadden’s shadow doesn’t bother him.”

On Michael Smith’s play…

“I was really happy for him. He’ been through some injuries, worked hard and kept a good, level head. I’m really proud of him.”



Sports Category : Football