“Hats off to the Ole Miss Rebels. I really thought that Eli Manning was a tremendous quarterback and a great competitor in this game. We had opportunities to win, make plays, and we made our share but could hardly get ahead. I’m disappointed, but not with the fight and the effort. It was one of those games that I feel like we just ran out of time.”
On struggling on third down:
“We had a number of negative plays, both in the run and the pass.
“The Cotton Bowl is a tremendous experience for our team. The agenda and the width of scope of the events the Cotton Bowl undertakes on behalf of their participants are as fine of bowl events as there is. We really appreciate participating and would like to add our thanks to those people who have made our stay so memorable.
“The Ole Miss team is a team that is full of fine people. Our Oklahoma State people run across Ole Miss coaches and players and you know they are wonderful people.
“I want to congratulate Coach Miles and Oklahoma State for the great year that they had. When you watch tape and study an opponent you learn a lot about them. The one thing I will say is they’re talented. They do a lot of things well. They’re an extremely well-coached football team offensively, defensively and in the kicking game. It’s a great challenge in front of us.
“I want to say thanks to Rick Baker and his staff, Fin Ewing and the entire Cotton Bowl family.
On how defeating Kansas State helped the season:
“We had somewhat stumbled in our opinion at Lincoln to open the season and then we came back and played well against four non-conference opponents. But we had a better team physically than those four opponents, so we didn’t know really where we were at. And then we play Kansas State at home and played very well and won that game. We as a coaching staff felt like when that game was over, that was a huge win for us because we had watched them enough and known that they were a very good football team.
On leaving TCU to return to Ole Miss as an assistant coach:
“I’d coached at Ole Miss before and my family had grown up there when I was very young. We loved Fort Worth; we loved TCU. Coach (Gary) Patterson was a first-year head coach and he’d been the previous defensive coordinator. I don’t know if Gary ever wanted to not be defensive coordinator. I enjoyed my experience there but I wanted to be the guy in charge and to be the guy about making decisions and at TCU, Gary was really handling most of those things.
On going against Ole Miss’ offense:
“An old coach at Oklahoma State who is a good friend of mine, Pat Jones, was visiting with me years ago and we were talking about how to build a program and some of the things that you do so you have a good football team. And he made a statement that I have always remembered and that statement was ‘The tough teams are the ones who can run it and know how to throw it.’ That exemplifies Ole Miss’ offense.
On is having three weeks to prepare for a bowl game an advantage:
“It’s how you go about preparing and how you go about doing this. That’s the concern of ours. Thanksgiving Day was the last time we played and playing January 2nd is a big time frame. Getting the speed of the game is really the critical thing and the best way to do that is play games. It’s hard to get that in practice. So that’s our concern.
We are thrilled to be in Dallas and at the Cotton Bowl. We had everyone report but one player, Stacy Andrews, who had some car problems in Arkansas so hopefully he will get here sometime this afternoon. Everybody is reported and ready to go. We had everybody at practice, even a few of them that got a little banged up at home. We’re back at work today and that was exciting. We treated this day like our Monday practice and we’re looking forward to tomorrow.
“Oklahoma State is very glad to be participating in the SBC Cotton Bowl. This is the place that we wanted to come. It’s an elite destination. It’s traditional football. And it happens to be the center of our recruiting area. Between Oklahoma and Texas we have a great number of participants on our team Ñ players that will have family and friends here. We’re looking forward to the game.
“The first thing I’d like to comment about is the Cotton Bowl has done just a marvelous job of the hospitality and making our fans at LSU, our players at LSU and our LSU family feeling very welcome here. I think the city of Dallas has done the same thing. We’ve had a fantastic time here and our players really appreciate that, our staff does and I most certainly do.
“The people at Texas Stadium, the facility that we’ve used, have done everything they possibly could to satisfy our every need and we certainly appreciate that.
An overall assessment of the LSU defense:
“When I first started watching LSU, the first thing I thought was very athletic. That’s the first thing that you see. Big up front, very strong guys up front. And then the linebackers are a very athletic group of linebackers, led by the (Bradie) James Gang. Just all over the field. Very bright player, obviously a very bright student too from what I read. Their secondary is very aggressive, not afraid to play man-to-man, will bump some, will change it up.
“We had a good week of preparation in Baton Rouge; (was) really pleased with the approach of our kids and the focus of our kids on Texas. They obviously have an outstanding football team. They’re very powerful and high potent offensively. They’ve got outstanding athletes. We’re real pleased with our preparations thus far and since we’ve been in Dallas. The kids have really approached the game the right wayÑ a good mental attitude and focus for what we want to do and try to accomplish in this football game.
“I don’t know if you can beat it, but you’ve got to learn to maybe trick it. They’re a very athletic team. They have great speed not only in the secondary but the linebackers and the front guys. (Corey) Redding comes off the edge; he can bring it. The linebackers can run. They’re a man coverage team. (Texas defensive coordinator) Carl (Reese) knows they have great athletes. He’s maximizing their athletic ability by playing the man coverage.
“The head coach, Mack Brown, reminds me every day of what our defensive performances were the last two times we were out (previous two bowl games). We got involved in shootouts, and shootouts are not a good thing. Shootout is a term as a defensive coach we don’t want to hear about. É That’s what we got into. We won one of them and we lost the year before. Shutouts are what a defensive coach is after.”
On having previously coached at LSU:
“It’s always good to have been somewhere and know the tradition.