Friday, January 2nd, 2009



"Thank you so much.  I want to really thank again the AT&T Cotton Bowl.  You all are the best.  Our players had one of the best times ever in their life.  Our seniors will never forget it.

"The memories are just awesome, to be in the last historic game right here in this stadium.  This is the first time I've seen this stadium.  The work done on the stadium was just awesome.

"But what I'm proud of is these guys.  They have tremendous character.  We're down 14 0.  Just the thing we talked about not doing, we turned the ball over twice.  And that's not who you want to turn the ball over to, not that fastbreak football team.  Texas Tech is an excellent football team.

"You can see why they're the seventh ranked team in the country.  They're spectacular, but these guys have had such great character and it's gotten better each and every week.  And the last seven weeks these guys play football, and for their first Bowl experience, I was really concerned because there's so many good things to do, so many functions, the food, everything's great.  But when it was time to go to work, these guys went to work.  So our preparation was just outstanding.

"We knew the type of team we were playing, and I'm just really proud of our defense.  Our defense stopped 'em, stopped 'em, time and time again.  They never were discouraged when we turned the ball over.

"And I'll tell you, I just can't say enough about that, the effort, the attitude.  I'm really proud of our seniors, the way they took ownership of this team, and we just got better each week.  And it's just a wonderful day."


Dexter, the Tech coaches gave you guys a lot of credit.  Also Mike went as far to say that you showed him more than he may have anticipated.  Can you take us through your approach in this game, and did you have something to prove out there?
"It's been great all week.  We play as a team, went out and played Ole Miss football, played as one heartbeat.  I'm thankful to have Coach Nutt be the head coach.  Turned this program around.  The players stuck together and we played great."


Peria, can you talk about the pressure on Graham Harrell getting in the backfield and how you thought you guys did with that today?
"For the most part we did really good.  I felt like we could have did a little better and came up with a few tackles in the backfield, but for the most part it all played off.  Everybody worked hard, ran into the ball and that's why I want to thank Coach Nutt for everything and just blessed."

Dexter and Marshay, football is supposed to be the game for big giants and you guys are two of the tiniest guys on the field.  Can you talk about that?

"First of all I want to say maybe not the size, the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog."
"It's been a lot of people looking down on me because of my size, saying I'm in the wrong sport.  But I go out there play with my heart and I give it 110 percent every play, I try to do whatever I can for the team because I know they'll do the same thing for me.  But I want to go out there, I feel the same size out there as everybody else when I'm out there. "

Mike, can you talk about being in and Jevan, if you can talk about this, too, the double coverage touchdown catch, just walk us through that play and Jevan if you thought you made the right decision when you threw that ball up in the air.

I knew if I threw it out there as far as I could he'd get it great to have such a great receiver."

"Jevan did it, I stuck my hands out and it was all of him and Coach Nutt for calling the play."

Michael and Peria, you guys really took over as far as both sides of the line of scrimmage in the second half.  Was that necessarily in the game plan or did you see something in the course of the first half that you could do in the second half down the stretch?

"Coach has been telling us all week run to the ball, run to the ball.  Our guys did a great job.  I mean we just hustled to the ball when plays came our way."

"Our coach he's a hard nosed traditional guy.  He drilled in our heads we have to be physical.  That's what I told the guys on the sideline just to be physical.  Through the second and third quarter I mean we just seen that it was they just couldn't do anything.  We just came out and kept hitting them in the mouth, and that's all we did, was just be physical with them."


Dexter, how fun is it being in the Wild Rebel offense, and do you feel like it's something that is going to take a while for defenses to learn how to stop as far as SEC and everything?
"The Wild Rebel formation has been great.  I'm glad coach brought it to Ole Miss it's been big time offensive  it's been big for our offense.  Just to go out there and keep teams off balance like that and all the speed we do have and Coach Nutt knows what plays to call and Coach Austin and the line is so physical.  By me being a little guy I need a little hole and I'm out of there."


Marshay, what was it like for you covering Michael Crabtree, you got a lot of one on ones out there.  First of all, let's go back to the beginning where you fell down on the one play that resulted in an interception but it was all forgotten by the end when you had the 65 yard TD return?
"Basically, it was a big time challenge.  All week we've been hearing things about Crabtree, Texas Tech, but coach challenged us to come out and play every play like it's our last play.  I came out and did that.  We came out with the victory."


Coach, will you talk about the fan support that you had today?
"The band has been great all year long I love the band.  I know how many hours they spend working and preparing just like we do.  But they add so much and really appreciate their effort, they just bring so much to the stadium and I love going to hear them play there at the end of a game like that."


Jevan, can you talk about your emotions today and coming home and how special this day was for you?
"Just extremely special to be able to come back home and get a win.  It feels great.  I'm from about an hour and a half from here.  So I had a lot of family and friends in the stands.

"Just have to thank these coaches and my teammates for getting us this win."


Michael, can you talk just, when you guys came out, there was a definite difference between the two teams, Texas Tech very quiet.  You guys had a swagger to you, looked like you were having a lot of fun out there.  Can you talk about that?
"This is my first Bowl game and my teammates, so, of course, we're going to be excited and fired up.  And I mean, they they're one top 5 teams.  We lost four games by 19 points.  We got a lot of great players on this team, and they should have been watching film of it because we're a great team.

"And we had to prove it.  91 percent of the country picked Texas Tech.  We just looked at that.  We felt disrespected and we came out fighting.  And we showed up and I guess they didn't."


Coach, can you just talk a little bit about Jevan's performance over the past six games, six game winning streak that turned you around?
"Last six weeks Jevan really came on.  This is his first year to play if you get right down to it.  I think he's done a remarkable job.  I'm so proud of him.  We do a lot of formations he has to be kind of the traffic controller getting the people in and out.  He's watching the clock.  He's the manager.

"But if you look at the last seven weeks, this guy's been so accurate.  Our receivers are so fast, and he's been very, very good on a deep ball.  The LSU game, Florida game, if you look at those big games, sometimes quarterbacks will shy away from a big game but the pressure doesn't bother Jevan.

"With Michael Oher up there protecting you've got Dexter and Michael Wallace, the defense the way they give us such good field position, we've played together.  But Jevan has executed the plays that we call and it keeps people off balance when you can stretch the field and also run it, you've got what you want.  You've got balance."

Coach, you've been involved in this game before, your time in Arkansas, can you talk about what it means to come here and get a win just for the Ole Miss program going forward?
"It's just so big.  You just can't put it all into words.  Our players, the expressions on their faces, every time they went to a function, went in their hospitality room.

"But what I'm so proud of is the way they went about it.  The hotel people said that my guys are such class guys.  Some of them went to the medieval deal or different Dallas Mavericks', I kept getting feedback from the classiness of the guys.  It starts with our seniors.  Our seniors took ownership and they're the example.  I wish we could keep this team and bring it back, the same team.  You can't leave.  Bring it back one more time.  But getting back to your question, the Cotton Bowl is special.  It's special to me.

"And I'm just so thankful.  And Rick we'd like to go ahead and just, we'll make the announcement we'll come back next year, right now, let's go."


Jevan, you talked about the emotion of the win, but talk about the talented players around you, and the teammate and the team feeling throughout the season that led to a day as big as this?
"What coach said earlier about me, I can't do it without these guys, and they make my job so much easier.  So I just feel fortunate to be on such a gifted team, and be able to play with these guys, because they're a great group of guys.  And I'm going to miss the ones that are leaving.

"But I just feel very fortunate to have them."

Peria and Mike, you talked about being physical.  Did you feel them wearing down and you all taking your toll on them as the game progressed?
"In the first half, it was you know pretty much about equal.  But going into the second half, coming in, you could see the guys slowing up a little bit.  And all those extra gasses Coach Nutt put us in practice, they paid off.  We weren't tired a bit.  Run all day."

"Coach Decker, strength and conditioning, they got us a lot better.  Like I said, Coach Markuson, he belong in the 1940s.  (Laughter).  He's traditional.  He just stayed on us about being physical.  I'm thankful that Coach Nutt came to coach us and I really appreciate what he did for me and my teammates.  They got us a lot better.  We couldn't ask for anything else."

Coach and Dexter, you two try to answer this question.  You guys didn't have a win against SEC opponents.  None of you guys have played in a Bowl game before today.  What's the difference, if you could point out one thing, what's the biggest difference between last year and the success that you guys had this year?

"It's more togetherness.  That's something we haven't had in the past couple of years.  We're just missing one key element.  And Coach Nutt came and fed that in and got us on the right track and got us to believe.

"Like I said, one heartbeat has been something we've been stressing all year.  We never gave up on that.  And that's what got us here.  And we play for each other now, and that's a big difference."

"That's it.  When I walked in the very first team meeting, I saw these beautiful athletes.  And they looked the part.  And they fill out a uniform just right in the SEC.  But the thing that I saw early was there's a lot of individuals.

"And it wasn't all their fault.  But they just hadn't had very much success.  And they didn't win a game, and I noticed a lot of times they didn't look people in the eye, didn't hold their head up right.  But gotta credit our staff.  Our staff did a real good job.  Coach Rocker played in this league.  He coached this guy.  Coach Rocker was an Outland Trophy winner, Lombardi winner, he understands.  Seemed like they connected really early.  Just like everybody else on our staff.  Coach Nix, Coach Dickerson, Coach Austin with the wide outs.  Takes everybody.  Our theme has been one heartbeat.  But those are just words.

"It takes about going by their apartment.  It takes coming out to my house and my wife feeding them.  It takes that.  And where they know that you're real.  Because you can't fool them.  They're smart.  You can't be counterfeit.

"So once they knew that we care, they don't care how much we know until they know how much we care, and when that hit in, that sunk in, we took off.  We took off together.  And when you look at it we could have won a few more games.  But I'm proud of what we won, though."


Coach Nutt, what can this win do to springboard  how do you build off of this, immediately recruiting, your first year at Ole Miss?
"That's the question.  Because we're losing some good players.  Michael Wallace, he got by a lot of defensive backs this year.  We've got to get a speed guy like that.  You lose a Michael Oher that protects the left side, most important side you lose Peria Jerry.  You can't draw those people up they're special.  What this win does, though, it really helps.  We don't have many scholarships left.  And they know who they are out there.  They need to come join us, and it's going to be a whole lot easier holding up that trophy in the next few weeks of recruiting, though."