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Mike Leach Discusses Team Performance, 45-6 Win Over Vanderbilt

Mississippi State took down Vanderbilt in dominant fashion on Saturday afternoon in Nashville.

Mississippi State improved to 4-3 on Saturday afternoon when the Bulldogs traveled to Nashville and took down the Vanderbilt Commodores, 45-6.

This was the type of bounce-back win the Bulldogs needed, as quarterback Will Rogers completed 42-of-58 passes for 386 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions before backup Chance Lovertich came in at the bottom of the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs already had a firm lead.

Q: Do you think you made offensive progress tonight?

ML: I thought we did a lot better job of fighting through adversity. We did some really good stuff. If we stubbed our toe, we did a good job of battling through that. I thought the guys seemed locked into their jobs better, rather than sit and dwell on something that didn’t go our way. We’ve been fighting that for a while.

Question: What did you think of Will (Rogers') play tonight?

ML: I thought he was good overall. We had some sloppy play in the mix there. What he did best was maintain his composure. He was ready to play the next play, the next series. I think that rubbed off on our offensive unit, maybe our whole team to a degree. 

Question: What did they do differently today to overcome that adversity?

ML: I think we got a couple of starts and a couple of months older. That certainly helped. We’ve been a focused, eager group. The biggest thing, we didn’t dwell on disappointment. We had a good week of practice too.

Question: What did you think of the freshmen receivers making plays today?

ML: I thought it was, glad we got them in a position to get involved. I thought Chance did a really good job when he was out there. I thought Ra Ra and Ducking made some plays, also Rufus Harvey. We’ve just got to keep rolling.

Question: How would you assess the defensive performance?

ML: I thought it was good, other than that one explosive. Coach Arnett could probably help you more. For a while, I thought we affected their quarterback, which definitely hampered their effort a little bit. I thought our defensive front did some good things there. I thought they played pretty well.

Question: What do you think they did in practice this week to flush out that Alabama game?

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ML: Being disappointed is a decision. I think they just made that decision. When you’re together and you work hard, that helps too. Joe Torre always used to talk about stick together and work hard. That’s how you fight through slumps.

Question: What does a guy like Ra Ra do to get more playing time?

ML: I have him pretty fairly equal at X. I don’t think a guy has taken command and control of X. We’ve got some guys doing some good things. Probably the most consistent guy right now is Tulu. Malik is explosive but inconsistent. Ra Ra is young and inexperienced. I’m dying for someone to take command of that position.

Question: How did you feel like your team reacted after turnovers?

ML: I thought both sides took up for one another with regard to turnovers or three-and-outs. Or if they didn’t get them off the field, or bad field position. We’d march down there and score. I thought we did a good job of taking up for one another.

Question: How important was it to get Chance in there at the end?

ML: I thought it was really important. The two receivers, Chance, and the young O linemen. It was a full second group.

Question: When did you put the double pass in and why did you think it was the right time to call it?

ML: I did it the other day. We should have completed it. People tend to bite up on screens, so it was something along those lines. 

Question: Why do you feel like your team has played well on the road?

ML: I don’t know if we do or not. We try to make the routine on the road the same as it is at home. Try to duplicate all the periods. We try to pattern that with some consistency.

Question: What kind of presence does Makai Polk create as an experienced guy?

ML: I think he’s getting better. I don’t think he’s played his best football. When he’s playing well, he provides an example of consistency. It’s one thing to tell somebody that, but if they can see it, I think it’s beneficial.