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Houston Nutt Press Conference – Team Effort Essential in Win Over Auburn

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Houston Nutt Press Conference – Team Effort Essential in Win Over Auburn

Opening Comments…

“I’m really proud of the team. I’m really proud of the offensive and defensive lines. I really thought they played every snap. It took a total team effort. In the trenches that is a hard job. When I go into the team meeting today, those are the first two groups I’m going to call out. I really thought they played so hard with a lot of great effort. They opened a lot of holes offensively for Darren (McFadden) and Felix (Jones).”

“Defensively, we used eight or nine guys on the front. We substituted, kept them fresh. We kept pressure on the quarterback. I’m really proud of the leadership from Keith Jackson, Sam Olajubutu, Stephen Parker, Wes Murphy, Zac Tubbs; our seniors really stepped up. Darius Vinnett came back (after being gone for a long time with an injury) and gave us 25 plays. That helps us. It gives Chris Houston and Matterral Richardson a blow.”

“Offensively, we kept the ball, kept the clock and had some good, long drives. Darren McFadden, Felix Jones, excellent job. Peyton Hillis, along with the offensive line and Mitch Petrus, did an outstanding job of creating some holes. Peyton caught two key balls. Cedric Washington made a big play. There were a lot of heroes but it took everybody. It took everybody to get this job done.”

“The first thing I’m going to tell our guys is ‘remember what got us here’. What got us here was a tremendous focus, a hard-working group. We told everyone to keep all ears and eyes in this room; listen to your coaches. Let’s get better. That’s the attitude they had during the open week and they had a great focus when they got back on Sunday (after the open weekend). Nobody was missing (balls) on Sunday and usually that is a tell-tale sign. It was in their eyes. They were ready to go. They were ready to prove something. I was really proud of them. It was a good win.”

On being ranked No. 17 in the AP poll and No. 23 in the Coaches Poll

“I think it’s really important that we go right back out to work. Nothing changes. We have to get better. There are still some things that we have to get much better at doing. I think our players, after watching the film, will see that they can get better. I want to stay humble. I want to stay just like we have been the last three weeks. I want to be very focused and very business-like and keep getting better.”

“It’s a good feeling to be recognized. You win a game like that, we expected (to be in the poll). You don’t know where you are going to be placed and that’s not important. The players earned it and deserve it. I don’t want to be good one game and then flop around the next game, be sloppy. I want to be a team that is on the rise, that’s really getting better.”

On Keith Jackson Being Named the Walter Camp Athlete of the Week

“Keith has been working hard. He is one of our seniors. I’m very proud of him. He deserves it. I think he’ll be the first to tell you he had a lot of help. The linebackers, the defensive ends, Jamaal Anderson had a good game. It was good to see Marcus Harrison back on the field. Ernest Mitchell continues to get better. Marcus Shavers is getting better. Cord Gray, Chris Wade, Antwain Robinson had an excellent game. I think he has a supporting cast. Our corners are doing a good job of covering. We are getting some coverage sacks.”

On getting to the Auburn defense

“I have to give credit to offensive line coach Markuson. Coach (Don) Decker (UA’s head strength and conditioning coach) also deserves credit. Auburn is one of the strongest teams on paper. I thought our strength level was very good. When you push them around like that you have to give the off-season some credit, give the weight room some credit. Our pad level was good. We had good first steps and our angles were good. We got a pad on a pad on just about every power counter. There’s a couple that we missed but we were very patient with the run. They got warmed up and got a great feel for it.”

On getting two rushing touchdowns against Auburn

“We mentioned that during the open week (that Auburn hadn’t allowed a rushing touchdown). We told the players that there hadn’t been one team all year put a rushing touchdown on this group and that ought to be one of our goals. I think the offensive line, Tony Ugoh, Zac Tubbs, Stephen Parker, three seniors, with Jonathan Luigs, Jeremy Harrell, Nate Garner, all those guys, they were really zeroed in on that one stat. I think that really meant something to them. If you asked them how they felt about having two backs rush for over 100 yards, they’d say ‘that’s great’. They really wanted to be able to rush the ball at the goal line with a defense like that.”

On the offensive momentum

“We came into the game saying we were going to be very patient. We were going to hand the ball to Darren McFadden about 25 times, Felix Jones about 15 times. Then we were going to mix it up, play action. We wanted to get Peyton Hillis the ball, Marcus Monk, Cedric Washington. You don’t ever know how the game is going to go. Once we got up 10-0, that’s a great feeling. You take the crowd out of it and the noise level out of it. As we stayed on the field longer, they got tired and we wanted to chew up the clock. It just worked out. In the second half we got up to 24, we wanted to keep using the clock. We wanted to be smart with the 25-second clock.”

“The film shows that if you just stay patient, you don’t always have to throw it. You need to believe in your offensive line and believe in your backs. We realized that. Marcus Monk took advantage of that play. I thought Mitch Mustain did a good job getting rid of the ball on the blitz. A team that can run the ball and can stop the run has the best chance of winning.”

On the play of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones

“I’m very proud of those guys. They are very good backs. What I love about them is that they are the first to congratulate each other. When Darren scores Felix is right there and if Felix scores Darren is right there to meet him coming off the field. That’s what it is about.”

On the depth of the defensive line

“Coach Rocker has done a good job of getting those guys like Malcolm Sheppard, Cord Gray, Marcus Shavers. Ernest Mitchell has really stepped up for us. It has been good. We just have to keep bringing them in. we have to keep going strong and keep working. The healthier Marcus Harrison gets the more snaps he’ll get. Marcus Harrison had 17 snaps. Ernest Mitchell had 36.”

On holding Auburn twice on 4th down

“That was huge. To get the ball on downs and then get the clock back, that was really big. It helped win the game. When you are covering them up, they are strong backs, good receivers, a good (offensive) line. It was a real win and a real stop. They put out some fires.”

On Auburn’s Tommy Tuberville

“I have a lot of respect for him. We exchanged at the 50 yard line after the game. I thought his team was one of the better teams in the country. I respect the job that he has done. He has done an excellent job at Auburn. He has won a lot of games, the last 21 out of 22 games in the SEC. That won’t be done very many times.”

On the Reggie Fish trick play

“That is a play that Gus (Malzahn, offensive coordinator) has been working on since two-a-days. Kenoy Kennedy used to run a play like that. It’s sort of like the fumblerooskie but what makes this better then others is that Reggie Fish is so small in stature. He can get lost behind Tubbs, Parker, Felton. The other good thing is Mitch Mustain has been running the play for a long time. A lot of people thought that was a direct snap to Reggie Fish and that isn’t true. Fish has to be very patient. He is sitting behind the right guard and is waiting for everything to go right. If Reggie waits another half of a second, he’d probably score. I thought it was just fine the way he did it, being his first time. He showed great patience. He got us 28 yards, a big first down and a big turn of the game.”

On currently leading the SEC West

“It’s still early. What is important now is how we handle it. We have been on the other side of the fence. We have to stay focused, stay hungry. It’s a long season and it’s still early. We have to take it one game at a time.”



Sports Category : Football