Southern Miss Head Coach Ellis Johnson

By NU Athletic Communications

#17 Nebraska 49, Southern Miss 20
Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012
Memorial Stadium (Lincoln, Neb.)

Ellis Johnson
Southern Miss Head Coach

Opening statement on how the game went
"High and low... Hot and cold, I think that there is enough things to build on for the offense. I think Chris (Campbell) and Anthony (Alford) played extremely well. A lot of guys did a good job on the offensive side of the ball, although we did have some mistakes. We put the ball on the ground once, and a few balls should have been picks. But there is plenty of things to build on, and we can become a pretty good team. Defensively I think it was poor. I think that Nebraska is a really good team, so I am not trying to take anything away from them, they probably have a shot to make it a long way in their conference. But I was disappointed. A lot of young guys on our defense showed their youth rather than their talent at times."

 On the defensive game plan on Nebraska, and any new wrinkles from the Huskers
"Not really, we were playing so bad on defense it didn't matter. It seemed like they were just working on plays up until later in the second quarter. We've just got to get better. We are not that tough on defense."

On the Southern Miss secondary
"We seldom got any pressure in his (Taylor Martinez's) face. A lot of his throws were play action passes, and came out pretty quick. It was a tough day out there for them, but it certainly wasn't just their fault."

On USM's offensive line and running game
"Yeah I thought they played well. I think we can sub our quarterbacks and switch up the game plan and try and make sure they all got a shot in the game. In the second half we were just trying to make our players better, so I think that hurt our rotation, and our overall flow of the game. I think they ended up taking over the line, but overall I liked our execution."

On the kick return for touchdown
"I thought our return game was pretty good. The kicker is very good and didn't give us a chance most of the time, but I think we did good when we had the chance. Our coverage was suspect though. We had one kid hurt at the beginning of the game, and we had some problems in the inside with the backup players. But on the return he did a lot of it on his own, and it was good."

On the USM fumble
"It was an exchange thing. Our quarterback wanted to give the running back the ball but he didn't realize he was getting the ball. It was just miss-executed."

On the Southern Miss quarterback rotation
"It was good. I was interested to see how they handle a real game plan and a real defense. I thought Chris did an excellent job controlling our offense. It became apparent in the second quarter that our running game wasn't going to work, and the defense was just sitting on him because he wasn't a threat to run the ball. When Anthony went in, they had respect to him and things opened up the middle. We'll look at the film and that could sway some of the snaps, but I can't tell now. We have an open date so we will work through it."

On anything Nebraska did that led to execution issues
"The biggest thing was they man-handled us on the line. I thought that was obvious the whole game. The thing they did well was their tempo. They run a power offense with a temp, which is unusual, and we didn't have the ability to keep up with them a couple of times. They have some plays in the offense that no matter what you run on defense it will be a successful play for them. When they can do that, I can't imagine how well they did on third down."

On if Nebraska's offense was unusual today
"Well not as much as the physical nature. I would credit it more for the physical part, which you don't see that much. Their offensive style is physically tough. I think our assignments started snowballing because of that, rather than the other. Then once we got tired, that is when they dominated."

On Martinez's game today
"I think they probably just let him execute today a lot more because they know if they have a more balanced offense it will be better, especially when they do play-action passes. I think most of his balls were off of play-action passes. They just really didn't need the quarterback runs to be successful."


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