As Ole Miss coaches and players met with the media after a devastating 27-26 loss to Vanderbilt, offensive coordinator Dan Werner said if the team has any hopes of bowling this season they’ll need to move past the emotional letdown in a hurry.
“It all filters down from the head coach and Coach (Hugh) Freeze is as good as I’ve ever been around when it comes to dealing with things like this,” Werner explained. “He’ll get these guys bouncing back. We will as a staff. We’ll come back ready to play next week.”
After five catches for 96 yards and a touchdown, sophomore wide receiver Vince Sanders said the team will have no choice but to rebound. He said he’ll be depending on the coaching staff and veteran players to push the Rebels as they prepare for a matchup in Baton Rouge against No. 7 LSU on Saturday.
“It’s a disappointing loss, but I feel like we have good seniors, a good quarterback and Coach Freeze and his staff. I’m sure they’re going to motivate us,” Sanders said. “We’re going to come in and watch film….We’re going to put the game behind us and start focusing on LSU.”
The Ole Miss offense had its opportunities against the Commodores defense, though. The Rebels ran 90 plays and accumulated 458 yards of total offense.
Sophomore quarterback Bo Wallace completed 31-of-49 passes for 403 yards and a touchdown.
“When you throw for 400 yards and don’t turn the ball over, you usually win. That’s sort of depressing, but it was a depressing game,” Werner related.
According to Werner, the lack of touchdowns in the red zone crippled the Rebels chance of winning the game.
“At halftime we were concerned about that….It came back to bite us,” Werner nodded. “They were blitzing and we weren’t doing a good job of the protections. Not the line, but setting it the right way. That’s on me.”
Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said the team might be pressing a little considering they haven’t been to a bowl game since the 2010 football season. Yet, he believes that’s no excuse for his defense’s performance.
“Maybe we want to too bad. I don’t know. When it comes down to it, you have to make the plays when you have to make the plays,” Wommack concluded. “We have to find a way to win one more game to get to a bowl. We have to get back on the horse tomorrow and find a way to win one of these last two games.”
In his first season as the defensive coordinator for Ole Miss, he said the team has had to deal with losing games they felt were in their “grasp”twice…first against Texas A&M and now the Commodores.
“I think they’ll be resilient, but there’s no question that it hurts. You could see the hurt in all the coaches and players’ faces in the locker room,” Wommack said. “It’s disappointing…We have to find a way to be able to stop people when we need to stop them.”
The Ole Miss defense allowed 371 total yards of offense on 71 plays. With 2:43 left in the football game Vanderbilt drove 79 yards on nine plays to take the lead by one point.