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September 10, 2012

Bryan Harsin

Q.  Obviously can you kind of take us through the rotation Saturday night and how that works?  Everybody's going to look at two carries or five yards and all kinds of different things.  Can you just kind of explain the process of how you guys are trying to go about this right now?
COACH HARSIN:  Yeah, the one thing, we go into a game and we have multiple personnel groups a lot.  It's to get guys opportunities that deserve to be in there.  It's to get guys in the right spot on particular plays.  It's funny because sometimes in this offense, one week you're going to get a bunch of balls coming to you, and one week and granted the defense now they see the same film from the previous week too, and go we've got to try to stop that.
So the plays that Malcolm was in on, the run pass options is what they are.  So we end up getting a box count that we need to throw the ball outside or check the play or they give us a look to throw a perimeter bubble screen out there and then we have to take it.
It's nothing against anybody that's in there.  It's not that we're trying to get him the ball.  It's a matter of this is what they showed us.  Really, I think that is because of the scheme that the defense had as well.
They see Malcolm in there.  He had a lot of carries last week.  Was productive, and I think with any defense, let's make sure they're not running the ball down our throat.  Force it outside in the perimeter and see what they can do out there.  So that is just kind of the nature of how things work out in those situations and the rotation that the backs are in at that time.
Malcolm understands that.  He was in there for 20‑some plays, had a screen in there.  Had a couple of screens thrown to him.  I think our guys get that.  They understand the nature of how we do things offensively and how it works.  They understand it's a matter of time and they'll get their opportunities as well, but it's a team effort.
It's a team effort and like Marquise being a guy that played really well in that game, had a couple of catches.  But some things he did without the ball in his hands is what really made the difference in how he played for us.

Q.  Would you be surprised if there was another game where Malcolm only had two carries or Joe only had two carries or those kind of things happened again?  Was that a product of only having 26 plays in the first half and that?
COACH HARSIN:  Yeah, I would be surprised.  If both of those guys only had two carries in a game, I would be very surprised.  That's very highly unlikely to happen.  But I do think it is the nature of we didn't have the ball that much in the first quarter.  We didn't have that much in the first half.
We came out to throw the ball more in this game.  We had a plan to go throw the ball and get it outside in the perimeter with some of the pass game and kind of get that going as well.
So just the nature of the game plan, the limited amount of plays that we had, kind of played into that factor that we were going to throw the ball a little bit more.  That we just didn't have that many opportunities.  They did a nice job of hanging on the football and chewing up the clock and those type of things.
It is what it is.  It just works out that way.  I'd be surprised if we get into another situation like that where we don't have that many opportunities or those guys don't touch the ball that many times.  It's just kind of the nature of the beast, so to speak.

Q.  You mentioned Marquise having a good game but not getting a whole lot of touches.  Is trying to get him a ball going to become more of a focus because of the type of athlete he is?
COACH HARSIN:  Yeah, we've got quite a few guys with Jackson and Mike and Daje, and our backs and Quise out there.  There's only one ball to go around, so we'll figure out how we'll try to do that.  Who is going to get more touches in the game.  It really comes down to scheme as far as what we're going to see defensively, and how we can utilize these guys in different roles and those type of things.  But we'd like to spread as much around as we can and let all those guys have opportunities because they're all play makers.
It comes down to sometimes you set it up to have that happen, and it gets taken away.  The quarterback's got to make a decision to check it down.  There were several situations in that game.  We checked the ball down to Joe.  Checked it down to Jeremy Hills which are plays that had opportunities to go outside, but they played it.  They covered it.  The quarterbacks made good decisions in both those situations.  You try to come back to it, and hopefully have another chance to get it, but that's just the way it works sometimes.

Q.  What's it say about Marquise as a team player to still win offensive player of the week and only have a couple of touches?
COACH HARSIN:  I think that's our whole emphasis as an offensive unit, not on the field but off the field.  It's that team chemistry, that bond and understanding it's not about one person, one play.  It's about everybody on this team and everybody doing their job.  He's a guy we know is explosive.  He's a guy with experience and has done a lot of things for us.  Here he is out in the perimeter, blocking, hitting guys down field, and playing to the whistle and doing everything we ask him to do when you don't have the ball in your hands.
Rightfully, receivers don't come here to block, but in those situations we have to do that, he's out there doing it to the best of his ability.  That's what we ask those guys when they do run the ball or they're in those situations is to maximize their opportunities out there blocking and holding up outside.  He's the reason why Mike on the touchdown scored.  He maintained that block for four or five seconds of just fighting that guy.  And Mike was able to wiggle behind him.  It was all because of Marquise out there and getting in the end zone.

Q.  Coach, Ole Miss is off to a pretty good start.  The quarterback and defensive side they do a lot of blitzing and stuff, and new coaches.  What is the best way for an offense to attack a defense that likes to attack?
COACH HARSIN:  You have to attack back.  They're an aggressive front.  They have very good D‑line men.  Those guys are fast.  They get up field.  A lot of those sacks will come from the D‑line.  Not so much the pressure.  Just those guys getting up field and getting around the tackle.
So we've got to do a great job of understanding the speed that we're about to see and practice that way this week.  That is the biggest thing.  That will be an emphasis is making sure we're practicing at the mindset and with the speed we plan to see with those guys, because that will be the difference from what we have seen.  Those guys will be a faster football team all around.
So it really comes down to that and your mindset going into the game.  It comes down to guys helping each other out in pass situations, the backs or whoever else can help with those situations, the tackle and interior guys.
Then the quarterback's doing a good job of understanding the urgency they need to have in the pocket.  Ball needs to be out, ball is not out.  You're hanging in there.  The ball needs to be out of your hands somehow, some way, throw it away or get up field and run.  So that will help us eliminate sacks in those situations.

Q.  Can you separate fact from fiction on Bo Wallace and his recruitment and whether there was or wasn't?  Whether it was recruiting him and how close that actually got?
COACH HARSIN:  Yeah, I had talked to him a couple of times.  Like anything else in recruiting, casual conversations in those situations.  There wasn't any direction at that point or what we're doing.  Just a matter of getting to know.  And that was about it.

Q.  What did you like about him?  What attracted you to his game?
COACH HARSIN:  He's a good sized football player at quarterback.  He's got a strong arm.  He's physical back there.  So just that, just looking at him.  You look at his presence on the field and you can tell he's a good football player.  You wanted to find out what type of quarterback is he because he can play.
Never got into those conversations and things like that, but you could tell he was a guy that was competitive.  He had the physical tools to play the position.  Obviously he's done very well so far.  He's a guy that's a good quarterback.

Q.  Are you satisfied with where David is?  Do you feel he's playing at a level where he can get this team where you want it to be?
COACH HARSIN:  Yeah, I do.  He's made good decisions.  He's made very good decisions in our run game with some of the checks and things like that that we have to do and getting us out of bad situations.  He understands that.  It's a growing process.  Not perfect by any means.
Is he there yet?  No.  That's our motto in our room is we're probably never going to be there.  We're always striving to be better every single week.  We have a high standard in there.  So his deal is all about getting better.  How do I learn from this last game?  What were the mistakes I made.  How do I correct them?  What is the game plan this week and how do I maximize that?  And that is his mindset.  If he continues to do that, then I feel good about it.  He keeps that mindset of getting better week to week.

Q.  With regard to the down field passing game and getting vertical, I guess.  Is there any worry that maybe some of the reason he's hesitant is because he's trying to avoid the mistakes made last year?  You don't want him to be gun shy so to speak?
COACH HARSIN:  Some of those situations, there is no hesitation.  There are still things we have to clean up with some of the routes and angles and things like that.  Everybody's got to be on the same page.  I don't think it has anything to do with hesitation or worry like that.  He wants to take those shots.
The thing about it is I think defense as well are trying to stop those type of plays.  He's got to understand that.  They'll play a certain way.  He can get a guy down field or keep the guy across and keep the corner deep on him.  That is the right situation to not throw it in those situations.  That's really his job.  I thought he's done that.
We've called those plays that have had some coverages out there, and he's had to see how they play it and they played it right in a couple of situations.  Not all of them.  But he's made the right decisions.  There are a couple he'd like to have back that he should take shots on.  So that's all part of the developing and learning process for him.

Q.  Can you talk about all the talent you have back there?  What do you like about Daje?
COACH HARSIN:  I tell you what, he's obviously a fast football player, he's physical and can do a lot of different things.  What I thought was he was confident in what he was doing.  That told me he's prepared.  For a young player to go into a game and look like he did as far as his preparation and going into it, not coming out of the huddle wrong or going in the wrong direction or messing up on anything, that's what fired me up the most.  That just told me in the last week of his preparation time, he spent time studying what he needed to do and he expected those plays to be made when he got the ball in his hands.  You could see that.
So that fires me up from the coaching standpoint that he is prepared going into games and that's going to allow him to be able to do more and to have success in his first game playing.  You want those young players to have success, so that continues to inspire those guys to get better each week and want to do more.

Q.  In the first game of the away game of the season, is there anything you'll tell younger players to stay focused at the task at hand and not get carried away with anything?
COACH HARSIN:  One thing you have to be able to handle are distractions and adversity on road trips.  That doesn't mean even mean in the stadium.  That's a broken bus, your room's not clean, whatever.  There are just things that come up on the road that you just have to kind of expect and be able to deal with it, not get overwhelmed by any of it.
The rooms are too small, the meeting rooms, whatever it is, there is always something in there.  Obviously, the environment we're going to go into will be a hostile environment.  It will be loud.  When they make plays, there is going to be adversity.  When that happens, it will get louder and louder.  We have to understand that and prepare our minds for it.
We're all we've got.  We've got to stick together in this game and understand that they're going to make plays and the crowd will be against us.  Just keep playing and doing what you've been doing and not let it affect you.

Q.  Talk about the development of the passing game.  Will we see more of these running backs this week?
COACH HARSIN:  What do you mean exactly?

Q.  We're talking about the development this week.  Will we be asking where did it go next week?
COACH HARSIN:  I would say we're in the development of the offense still week to week.  That is just what it is.  You know, every week presents something different.  We're going to throw it more, we're going to run it more.  Sometimes you get in the game, and it switches on you by what they play.
That's a constant battle that we go through each and every week.  But I like where we're at when we're running the football.  I like where we're at when we're passing the ball.  We've had explosive plays and good completion percentages.  Knock on wood, we haven't had the turnovers in that category, which is huge for us.  We've just got to keep working in that direction.
Those are the things that you've got to start somewhere.  You've got to start being consistent at some things.  I think we've done that in those phases of the game, the other stuff because of that will open up.  Every team's got that mentality.  Don't get beat.  Don't give them anything.  Make them earn it.
We've got to be good at those intermediate to short throws and not just the deep ones, because if they're not going to give it to us, we're kind of hurting ourselves if that's all we're talking about.  We have to be good at taking what they give us and be efficient when we get it.

Q.  In a week like this in an environment where teams will benefit from maybe he had to do it (No microphone), will that help him this year?
COACH HARSIN:  I think so.  Playing in the games we played away, having that experience away from home, each venue is different.  I know it's a loud, hostile environment, and that's what we expect and that's what we'll prepare for.  But it comes back to offense, 11 guys doing their job, worrying about that.  Don't get too caught up in the emotion of what's happening around you.  Just play the game.  That's all you've got to do.  Be smart about what you're doing out there.  Take care of the football and let the rest of it work out.

Q.  Can you touch on Nate Boyer and what a guy like that does leadership wise for a team?  Kind of what he can bring and what he's been through?
COACH HARSIN:  Yeah, I think Nate is a guy that every time you listen to him talk, he's got the respect of the team and coaches and all that.  That's the nice thing about this football team.  It's not about who scores all the touchdowns or who makes all the tackles that's the leader.  It's really not.  The leader is a guy that can influence other guys around him and he does that.  Whether he plays, how many plays, it really doesn't matter.  Guys can look to him for advice.  Guys can look to him for maybe how to handle some adversity because there's a guy that's been able to handle some situations that are pretty adverse.  So that's what he provides.
He's very mature.  He's good with the players.  So that's what I've always respected about him.  When he talks, I shut up and listen and really take in what he has to say, because I really appreciate what he has to say.

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