Quotes from MT's Football Press Conference

September 23, 2002 · MT Media Relations
Saturday was another disappointing loss for us. It is a good Kentucky team that had a lot of momentum going into it. We put ourselves behind again by [committing] too many turnovers early. To our kids credit, they came back and fought to get back into under, again, a tough environment and tough conditions.We're beat up a little bit, so we've got some guys that we're not sure whether they'll play this weekend or not. We'll find out later this afternoon.

We are excited about coming home. These kids, I can say one thing, have gone on three very tough road trips, playing in tough environments and in tough conditions and have given us a chance to win. But there is no one that is satisfied with being 0-3. We have a hurt football team right now that is hungry for a win. We've got a team coming in that is hungry to beat a Division I team, the same thing that we've been going through. So we know we have to be good this week. We're going to have a good week of practice. We're not going to make excuses. We're going to keep our heads up and we're going to find away to win. These kids deserve a win, but we've got to go out and make things happen and that's what we're going to work on all week to get done.

This is a Southeast Missouri team that is improved and is a very well-coached team. They have a lot of athletes in a lot of areas. We're going to have to be good on Saturday to come out and get our first win. Hopefully, we'll have a great crowd. These kids deserve to come back home after representing our University in front of three straight weeks in front of 85,000, 107,000, and probably close to 70,000. [We need to] come back home and have a great crowd and we're going to work hard this week to put something on the field that they can be proud of.

McCollum on the health of his team
[Other than the known injuries to Dwone Hicks and Brandon Westbrook] Don Calloway didn't play in the second half of the game. Kerry Wright is banged up and Hashem Joyner has been banged up. Hopefully, we'll get most of them back, but we'll still have to wait until probably later in the week before we know that. We've also still got our two kids, [Devarick] Scandrett and [Jerry] Vanderpool [who have been suspended for the first half of this week's game]. But we're going to appeal Vanderpool.

McCollum on the importance of getting a win this weekend
It's very important. Nobody likes losing. But it's important for us to execute, too. And its important for us to improve on what we're doing. We've got to do that with our football team. We were a very poor tackling football team on Saturday. There are some positives you can take out of it. If you take away two plays, they had two plays for 150 yards, if you take those two plays out then all of a sudden its not as ugly as it looked on paper. We had some guys that had opportunities to make plays and didn't make them. But, the most disappointing thing is the tackling and we've got to get better. We had chances to make tackles for loss, but part of the credit has to go to their tailback Pinner. I thought he was as good a tailback as we have played this year. And Lorenzen can throw the football and do some good things.

McCollum on the frustration level of his team
I think anytime you lose it's frustrating because I've got a bunch of winners sitting in there fighting their tails off. I guess after the third one you have to look those kids in the eye. The thing that I couldn't be more proud of is the effort. They're trying to do it, but when you play in the SEC, and you play in those environments in the conditions that we play under, there is no room for error. So we, as a team, haven't had a chance to grow up. That's the frustrating part about it, that when you play those teams and you make an error you can't overcome it. But we have to continue growing and doing the things that we have to do.

McCollum on why he is appealing Vanderpool's suspension
All the film that we have and everything that we've got, I have nothing on there that shows what he did wrong. First of all, we didn't feel like there should have been a last play [in the first half]. But there was a last play. We've got up-close copies of what happened that we'll send in to both commissioners (SEC and SBC). Vanderpool hits the quarterback, gets up, jogs over, sees the interception, and comes back to block the quarterback like he's taught to do. (Jared) Lorenzen cuts him. Vanderpool goes to the ground, gets back up, and they get after each other. Lorenzen really grabs him and throws him down. Then Vanderpool gets up and, I guess, pushes him with two hands and it was amazing how a 300-pounder could flop over like he was about dead from a push like that. Then a [Kentucky] staff member came off the sideline in my player's face and from that point their whole team attacked Vanderpool. It is on film and is as clear as can be unless someone just doesn't want to see it. That's when it started. If you go back and look at the film, my kids are heading off the field and it all starts. The film clearly shows two or three guys swinging helmets. We'll punish our kids that were wrong. That's been done. But Jerry Vanderpool wasn't wrong. If Jerry Vanderpool gets thrown out of the game then I have to question why their quarterback wasn't thrown out. If you go down our roster and pick two guys out that were playing very well in that football game, then Jerry Vanderpool was playing his best game as a run stopper and Scandrett had two sacks. So you couldn't have gone down the roster and picked two better ones to be out of that game. Then you go down their roster and get one that isn't even on their two-deep roster and one that doesn't even play. We lose two guys that hurt us in the second half and they lose two guys that weren't even playing in the ball game. And Vanderpool gets tossed and Lorenzen still plays, then I have a problem with that.

I have talked to our commissioner, our head of officials, and I have called [SEC Supervisor of Officials] Bobby Gaston, which we have called before and hasn't really been the winning edge. But I'll send these films off to those people. I don't want to sit here and have people across the country think that our kids have done this or done that, because that's the way it's always portrayed. Our kid did exactly what he was taught. I thought maybe [I would see something] when I looked at the film, but there wasn't even a flag thrown on the Vanderpool-Lorenzen [incident]. But there wasn't even a flag thrown at that time. Somebody off his sideline came and got in my kid's face and everything erupted.

I don't even know [what the appeal process consists of]. I have no earthly idea. All I know is that I have gathered the film up from the media and the film I was looking for was of their staff member, which we saw on the sidelines, that came off and got in our kid's face, or pushed him, or whatever the case was and then Vanderpool got attacked. I don't know who he was, all I know is that he had a white hat on and coaching attire. You can see it clearly on film. I just want to find out who that is and find out how the SEC is going to handle it. We're not proud of it. But I've got a kid ejected and suspended for the first half of this game that really had to defend himself because everybody was coming after him. If he was ejected, then there should have been another one ejected and I'm trying to find out what that's for.

McCollum on whether he feels like his team was treated unfairly in the aftermath of the incident
I have no idea. All I can do is say what I saw on the film. We had some kids that were wrong, too. But at the same time, they're not going to let one of their own stay out there and get beat on. I just want the right thing done and the right thing was not to kick Jerry Vanderpool out. He gets a black eye out of if and all he did was do his job. I just want it seen on film and I want him reinstated for this game. Devarick Scandrett got kicked out, but I don't have enough on film to fight that one, so he will be out of the first half of this game. But with Jerry Vanderpool, I have no problem with throwing him out if the other one gets thrown out, too.

McCollum on when he will find out about the appeal
I have no idea. I don't know how it all works. I don't know how they do that. I have sent it to our people, to our commissioner and our head of officials. I'm sure the SEC wants the right thing done, too, because that's not what college football is all about. It was an ugly incident, but I'm going to fight for our kids if I feel like they were right.

McCollum on finally playing a non-SEC team
We need a win. We need to come home. We need to get better ourselves. Southeast Missouri will give us all we need. We're a little fragile right now, but we're going to have a good week of practice. We need to step up. We need to realize that we have played three very good football teams. At the same time, we didn't play those three teams thinking we were going to be 0-3, either. We need to come back and execute the small things and get better ourselves and come back to our house. Its been a tough three weeks on the road. We're looking forward to coming home. Southeast Missouri has a lot to play for and they're going to be a tough team. When you're 0-3, it doesn't really matter who you're getting ready to play. We just have to get better by executing.


WR David Youell on Southeast Missouri
"They are a well-disciplined team who does an exceptional job on the offensive side of the ball. We expect them to be up for this game, playing a Division I opponent and looking to come in here and get a win."

WR David Youell on first-quarter starts
"We need to get off to a great start, really just without the slow start. It's hard to say. It's just a lack of execution. I don't think it's because of the quality of the opponent because I believe we are a top quality program ourselves."

WR David Youell on playing at home
"It will be great to come home and play in front of our fans. I love playing at home. We need to get a win and get some confidence back. We just have to concentrate and focus on SEMO this week. We have to execute and get a win."

LB Randy Arnold on season
"I don't think the scores show how we've been playing the last three weeks.

LB Randy Arnold on Southeast Missouri
"They have a good passing game and like to spread you out. They also have a good quarterback and good balance. They're going to come out ready to play."

LB Randy Arnold on first-quarter starts
"Against good teams, you can't slip up. You have to play the whole four quarters and can't make mistakes. You have to be mentally tough. You can't have busted assignments or missed tackles."

LB Randy Arnold on the rest of the season
We want to beat all the teams we've played, but being 0-3, I hope it helps us in the long run. We still have all of our goals ahead of us. We still have conference games and a shot at a bowl game."

QB Andrico Hines on first-quarter starts
"I wish I did know. We fight like crazy to get back in the game and we're doing a great job in the second quarter of getting back in the game. We get behind too early. I really want to see how we react with a lead. We have to learn how to win. Once we learn how to win, I think everything else will take care of itself.

"We are like a cornered dog right now. We're trapped in a corner right now. We've got to come out and play Blue Raider football, fly to the ball on defense and execute on offense."

QB Andrico Hines on the rest of the season
"We still have all of our goals ahead of us. We still have an opportunity to win the Sun Belt and go to a bowl game. Our season is far from over. We have to get better from the mistakes we've made. The team is not down by any means. It would be great to get a win this week in front of our home crowd."

PONY Brandon Lynch on playing at home
"Coming home is a big plus for us. We need to step up our game as a whole, offensively and defensively. We have to take the level up each week."

PONY Brandon Lynch on the rest of the season
"We have all of our goals in front of us, a bowl game and conference play. We need to concentrate on the fundamentals and the way we play, and the rest will take care of itself."

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