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October 1, 2012As told to RebelGrove.com's Chase Parham
I don't know what the team feels about moral victories or the coaching staff because it's about wins and losses with those guys, as you want it to be.
But, I'll tell you, take a couple plays and questionable plays and calls away and the game was actually closer - much closer. There was unquestioned effort, and we got some good things done. There were sustained drives and defensive stops. You looked up and it's a 19-point loss, but it was much more likely to be closer than farther away. Man, we can build off this.
One of the main things was, as fans, we wanted them to play for 60 minutes. That's what Coach (Hugh) Freeze has preached from the beginning, and that was the absolute main thing I wanted to see. We were against the No. 1 team in the country. It's against Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and you have to play perfect there to win. We weren't able to do it, but I'm so much more upbeat now knowing they came out and gave effort.
There wasn't any intimidation. We weren't scared or overwhelmed by the moment. There were so many good things to take from it and use to build. It's a must to take that effort and use it the rest of the season.
Obviously the turnovers have to decrease, and there's a good chance they will. The game is speeding up for Bo Wallace right now. I know for Bo that Texas was the fastest he'd seen in his life and now you look at it and you're going against Alabama.
You know don't have time to make those decisions. It's all reaction and split-second reading, and there's no way to simulate it. You can't mirror that in practice. You have to experience it, and he did that Saturday. He'll be better because of it. We were struggling with the speed, but we don't have to play them again.
I can remember the same learning curve when I played. It takes snaps against that kind of competition. He's just a sophomore. I think we all forget that sometimes. He'll be better and can use Saturday to learn from.
Defensively, I truly didn't expect what happened. I was worried about Alabama's size and speed, but the guys, especially Cody Prewitt and Denzel Nkemdiche, brought their A games. There was so much to build on. They stepped a level up and continued to play. I was really proud of them. The defense is going to be OK. Maybe some more bumps at times, but they're playing hard and getting better. That's what you want - to see improvement every day.
As I've said before, deep down I somewhat expected three or four wins before the season started, but if we just have three wins this year, I'll be really upset. You can see the team improving and giving that max effort. This weekend against Texas A&M is another huge challenge, but I know they are going to lay it on the line for Rebel Nation.
Ole Miss NEWS