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Mike Leach answers questions following 31-24 loss at No. 13 Georgia

“This was the best game we’ve played this year.”

NCAA Football: Mississippi State at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

ATHENS, Ga. — Mississippi State head football coach Mike Leach answered questions from the media following Saturday’s 31-24 loss at No. 13 Georgia.

Leach opened the press conference by giving his overall thoughts on the Bulldogs’ effort in the contest.

“I thought that they had really good effort and that this was the best game we’ve played this year,” Leach said. “I was proud of the way our guys played; wish we hadn’t come up short, but I was really proud of them. This is, by a significant margin, the best game we’ve played this year.”

Leach was also asked how the Mississippi State coaching staff performed tonight. He chose to give all the credit to his players.

“Our players in particular deserve the biggest pat on the back,” Leach said. “We’re proud to be on a team with them.”

Freshman quarterback Will Rogers had a career game, tossing 336 yards and a touchdown on 41-of-52 passing. Leach says he’s gotten better.

“I think he’s gotten better. I think our offensive line took a step this week, which I think was important. I think Will [Rogers] did too,” Leach said. “I think as a team, we played improved and we played together better tonight than we have some. What sucks is we fell short, but I mean, it’s hard for teams, generally speaking, to stay on the field with Georgia, and we were shorthanded. I think we have a bunch of young guys who are getting better and are going to continue to get better. Anyways, we played extremely hard and well for the most part.”

He was then asked what he learned about his team this week.

“I think there is a determination on our team’s part to improve and to get better. Then I think that a lot of these guys on the team, first of all, have adjusted, well, the first thing they adjusted to was playing college football. We’re predominately freshmen and sophomores and I mean predominately. It’s crazy,” Leach said. “I think they’ve steadily improved, I think they’ve been committed to improving. I think the guys that it’s whittled down to are pretty nitty gritty guys. They make you excited and proud to work with every day.”