"Defensively, I thought that our kids played very well, especially in the secondary. (Secondary coach) Curley (Hallman) said that we intercepted more passes in practice this past week than we had the whole year. Sometimes you take what you did in practice to the game."
"Why did we fumble the ball? A couple of times they were knocked out. There was one when the quarterback was getting ready to throw and it was knocked away. The other times you have to secure the ball. You have a running back like Fred (Reid) (111 yards on 18 carries, 6.2 ypc) who really tries to make things happen."
"We did some things in the kicking game that were not productive. We had the ball and was trying to down it inside the ten-yard line and we did it one time."
"At the beginning of the game, on the third downs, we had two poor throws and two dropped balls. If we hadn't had those, we would have continued to move the ball."
Are you relieved that you ended the losing streak?
"I don't know about relieved. Certainly, for the players, you have to be happy."
Has Darren Williams been one of those who is improving in practice?
"Yes. Every game (the freshmen) are going to learn. Did he play a perfect game? No. But he gave a lot of effort and was at the right place at the right time."
Are you concerned about the lack of offensive production?
"Yes, but we had two drives where we had chances to put points on the board but fumbled the ball. We had the ball on the two-yard line and fumbled it. We came back and we were going down inside the twenty and fumbled it at the fourteen-yard line."
What are some of the things that you feel you need to look at offensively to make it more productive?
"We need to look at what we are asking the players to do in our blocking schemes. It is very evident that we aren't very effective in our blocking schemes. We have to came back and look at that. And we also have to throw and catch."
How did you come out of the game injury-wise?
"Number 73, Donald Tucker, has an AC shoulder. Kevin has an ankle (injury) but it is not loose. Justin (Griffith) has a slight ankle (injury) but he played the entire game with it. You also have (Richard) Burch with a headache. I don't think we have any others."
Is it fair to question why Kevin Fant was running the ball instead of handing it off at the end of the game?
"You don't want to hand off."
What about just taking a knee?
"In retrospect we should have. We called the quarterback draw so not to get tackled. You snap the ball and not get tackled. If he hadn't gotten hurt, (you) wouldn't be asking that question."
Were all the calls from Sparky (Woods) going smoothly in your minds?
"All of them except for one."
Can you say which one that was?
"Sometimes that happens when you miss a signal."
Evaluate Fred Reid's performance today.
"I think that Fred played well except for the fumble."
Where does that put him in the tailback rotation? Did he possibly move up to number one?
"We determine those things every week. You try to put the most productive player out there."
Did Norwood reinjure himself on his run?
"He got hit on it."
Are you getting effort across the board?
"There is no question that we played well in a lot of places. I thought that the defensive team played well. Anytime you intercept six passes you are doing something good."
Talk about what you saw in Darren Williams in practice that caused you to start him?
"He make plays. You have an athlete who has a lot of ability who makes plays."
Overall, did you give your fans reason for concern or reason for optimism?
"Defensively, we did a very good job. Offensively, you can't really say because we turned the ball over. Yes, you look at the young people that made plays, that is encouraging. They will get better and better."
Two weeks in a row Kevin has taken a lot of hits.
"He has taken a lot of hits the last four games. He shouldn't have to. That is something that we have to do a better job of."
Do you feel Dontae (Walker) is more of a hindrance for you because of dropped passes, fumbles and his running?
"We had other people who did that. That is not fair....let me say this. You can say I do a terrible job. You can say that I can't coach. You can say all those things, but don't say things about an 18, 19, 20-year old kid. That is wrong. One of these days, if you have a son, and he goes to college, I want to sit in and let that reporter ask about your son. And I want to see how it makes you feel. My job is to coach. You can say anything about me you want to. But don't go after 18, 19, 20-year old kids. That is wrong. You can say he fumbled or that he didn't catch the ball, but that was not a very good question about a kid."
Would you say there is a lot of demarcation (means separation) between covering college football and pro football?
"Absolutely. That is why those guys are making 6 and 7 figures."
Would that extend to the fans as well, especially when they seem to boo certain players?
"They do that everywhere. But that comes from what you write (for) the fans. You may not want to take the (blame) but that does happen."
[Most of these questions were asked by other reporters. For the record, I did not ask the one about Dontae Walker.-Gene]
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.