The moment we all dreaded is here. Coach Hugh Freeze is discussing a 10-7 loss to LSU. It took 9 weeks to lose a game but still, it hurts just as bad as if it was in the first week; maybe it hurts worse because of the many chances the team had to win in Baton Rouge.
There will be a lot of soul searching and discussion this week over play calls and execution as the team prepares for a home game against Auburn on November 1.
Coach Freeze talked about the disappointment on Monday with media members.
"“It was obviously disappointing to not get it done on the road with LSU. Anytime the game is that close and competitive, when you watch the film, everything is magnified. We did not play our best game. I certainly don’t mean that to take anything away from LSU. They played with great passion and played a really, really physical brand of football. Coach (Les) Miles had his guys ready. They deserve credit. From watching the film, we did not play our best game. That’s always disappointing. However, that’s life in the SEC. The great thing is we have an opportunity to bounce back this week at home and get our kids ready for another very difficult task with Auburn coming. ”“They’re a special team. They’re as good or better interior defensively as anyone we’ve seen. No one has rushed the ball on them, other than one team, for 150 yards. They’re very athletic on the backend. Offensively, their receiving core is one of the top in the nation. The quarterback and running backs do an excellent job of reading their zone game. They’re dangerous when they pull it at quarterback. They’re physical, and they get it at running back. Their offensive line is solid. They’re a solid team all the way around. Gus (Malzahn) and his staff have done a wonderful job. We have our hands full. We have to hopefully get healthy and get ready to go at home. We’ll need our crowd here. We’ll need them to give us a little extra energy. The stretch that we have is a difficult stretch without a break. We can’t control that. We can control being ready to play Saturday. That’s our job. We’ll have them ready.”"
The team has been good at handling adversity under Freeze and will have to do it again this week.
"“I felt like they responded very well. It’s still early in the week, but it sure seemed like they were not pleased with the way they performed. They’re more hungry to get back out and play again.”"
Bo Wallace addressed the question as well, “We have another week. It’s going to be a tough game. They’re the No. 4 team in the country coming to our place with a lot on the line. The guys are going to come in and we’re going to have to go to work. We’ll have the game plan ready to go and hopefully go out and hopefully perform well.”
Something that was noticable during the game was Bo Wallace’s emotion which may have led to his poor decision to throw down field late rather than set up for the field goal. A decision that led to a Ronald Martin interception.
"“I think it definitely affected us. I have to protection set right. The biggest thing was we let the atmosphere dictate how we played. As a quarterback, I’ve really prided myself on keeping guys calm and being calm. I didn’t do a great job of that and our offense didn’t do a great job. This week I really have to talk to myself and do like I’ve been doing the whole year in making sure guys are calm and I’m calm and being a leader out there.”"
It seems the offense has gotten away from the screen passes and underneath routes, Wallace addresses that:
"“A lot of times when we’re throwing right now it’s third down. We’re staying in third and long so much. People get in their defenses and it’s hard in this league to convert third downs as well as people play third down defense. We have to get back to throwing the ball on first and second down and making plays like we did earlier in the season.”"
Freeze discussed the same question:
"“I would say this for our entire team, not just Bo, our demeanor was a bit different in that environment. We let things get to us that have not bothered us earlier in the season. It seemed to rattle us a little bit. He (Bo) missed some open guys. He also made some really good throws. It just seemed that our demeanor was a little bit different as a team. I haven’t noticed any mechanical things that are any different. He had some pressure on him. We had three critical possessions there in the second half and we stopped them. We had Laremy (Tunsil) out with an injury and had to go with Daronte (Bouldin) because Robert (Conyers) was at center, which Robert would normally be in that spot. Those three possessions hurt us because we had good field position. Daronte’s was not physical as much as it was playing in that environment on a solid count. He was very, very late off of the ball all three possessions. That caused us some negative plays. We have to prepare him better and hopefully get some kids healthy where we can play kids who have been in those environments before.”"
Regarding injuries, Ben Still (ankle), Laremy Tunsil (bicep), Prewitt and Robert Nkemdiche are all listed as day to day. Denzel Nkemdiche is officially out for the year with a broken ankle.
"“I think they’ll all give it a go. Ben would be the biggest concern. The others are just going to be a pain tolerance issue. None of them are dealing with feet and legs. That means they can run. It’s just a matter of what the pain tolerance is like. Denzel is unfortunately out for the year. He had surgery yesterday on his broken ankle. We always hate to lose kids and certainly hate to lose him. He’s a good player on our defense.”"
Guz Malzhan and Hugh Freeze run similar offenses and have traded staff members as well as players as of late. There are always intersting story lines when covering this game.
"“Gus and I could be identical if we chose to within the game plan. We can also look quite different probably. We’re extremely similar in run game. Pass game, probably more different than the run game. We could make them look very, very similar if we chose to. It would look very similar.”“The quarterback (Marshall) runs, which is difficult, and they have big receivers that are making plays on the offensive side. Defensively, they believe strongly in their man coverage. They’re athletic enough to get up and challenge you and make it very difficult. They’re so big and physical in their front, interior guys that they’re able to stop most people’s runs. They’ve created quite a few turnovers on the defensive side, sort of like how we have down there. They’re a good team with good players.”“They (Auburn) went for it on fourth down quite a few times. They threw it. They didn’t have any success running, but they did throw for quite a few yards. They just went in with that as their philosophy and that’s what they decided they were going to do. They were going to try to win a shootout with them and go for it on fourth down under five yards in a lot of areas of the field. They had success doing that. Give Coach (Steve) Spurrier credit. He felt like he could roll the dice early in he game and often and he did and it paid off for him. They did throw and catch it well.”"
Read more at OleMissSports.com