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Monday's Football Press Conference Quotes

November 11, 2002 · MT Media Relations
McCollum's Opening Statement
Coming into last week, it was a really good time for an off week for us, especially health-wise. We're like every other school in the country, as far as injuries go, and it's kind of knocked us down on some key people at some crucial times. The off week was good. We got some fundamental work done, plus we got some time to conduct a lot of meetings and walk-thrus to get our guys healthy, so its been good. We're excited about our last three games. This is the last three that these seniors will play. They are all at home, and it doesn't seem like we've played at home all year. So, that's the exciting part. These kids are going to have a great week of work this week. We've got Louisiana-Monroe coming in here that's a very improved team. I think Mike Collins has done a tremendous job with the transition. They're very exciting on offense because there's no telling what they're going to do. Defensively, they're very similar to our style, so it's going to be an exciting football game. We know we have our hands full. We've got to have a good week of work, which we plan on doing. Our kids have a great attitude, [even] with all of the adversity and the disappointments we've gone through as far as close games, as far as injuries, as far as opportunities. But this is an opportunity for us to play three games and be as good as we can be for three games and we'll see what happens from there.

McCollum on Andrico Hines' status for the ULM game
He's better. He practiced this [past] week, but as far as running goes we'll find out as we go on in the week. But, we're planning on him playing if he's full speed, but if not then we'll go with another quarterback.

McCollum on whether or not ReShard Lee will be the backup quarterback this week
Right now, ReShard will do both (running back and quarterback). We're planning on seeing where Andrico is, and then we'll have our plan going from there. With the job he did [against NMSU] we're planning on him doing both for us.

McCollum on Lee's performance against New Mexico State
Well, we've used him there for the last two years in different situations. That's what he played in high school. But, to come in against a good football team on the road and do what he did says a lot about his ability. He made some big plays. The first bootleg play that he ran, he did a tremendous job making the defense miss some tackles, and he did a good job making something happen. It sparked our team and gave us another opportunity to win a game, but we still didn't finish, though.

McCollum on UL-Monroe and their midseason changes
It's tough [to change things midseason]. Mike Collins is a guy who I have total respect for and I have felt that way a long time. He has done a tremendous job. He's a guy that loves that school. He's been there a long time and he's very loyal. Offensively, they're as wide open as it gets. Their freshman quarterback [Steven Jyles] has done a great job. He's a playmaker. They've got receivers making plays and their running back does a tremendous job and they play hard on defense. So, they've had a tough schedule. They're a lot better football team right now, so we know we have a great challenge ahead of us.

McCollum on Jyles
Shoot, he can run and he can throw. They're a spread offense and a tempo team. You'll see two teams that look identical, as far as offensively and defensively when they come out.

McCollum on the play of the linebackers
I think Randy [Arnold] and Sheldon [Durham] have had very consistent years. I think Will Martin has grown up at safety. When you play an option team like we did, you put the safety in the box a little more to make plays. I think our defensive front has got to get better. I was disappointed in them a week ago and I think they have to have a great week this week because they have to be more of an impact for us. The biggest thing on defense is not giving up the big play. In every game we've given up one big play and that's what we can't do. Against New Mexico State, you play your tail off and play with great effort and do the things that they were doing and then one play, and in this game it's a big play. That's what we can't do. We've got to keep working to be a better tackling team and we've got to create turnovers. This is a game where we've got to create turnovers and give our offense some opportunities. We're not doing that enough and we're not getting off on third down. That's been a real key for us.

PLAYER QUOTES

DB Will Martin
"You always want to win homecoming and you really want to win your home games. It's good to come back home after all of those road games.

"We're getting healthy and staying positive. It's been a tough year. We've got three more games and want to finish up strong.

"You just have to think that the worst hasn't happened yet. We have three more games and can finish up 3-0 and send the seniors out on a good note, and we're also playing for pride. We can win and feel good about ourselves and we can also still disrupt the conference.

"Our record doesn't show how good or how close or how hard we've played teams this season. Middle Tennessee football is still here and still good and we want to show that to all of the alumni coming back this week.

LB Randy Arnold
"We want to take each game one at-a-time. It's good to be home after playing seven of the first nine on the road. It seems like we've been on the road all year. We want to go out on a winning note. It's important for our team, and important for next year and for the seniors.

"Any team would rather be at home. Our scores this year really don't show what we've done this year because we always fight. We just need to make some big plays this week.

RB/QB ReShard Lee
"We've gotten better and stuck together each week and all season. We've really grown a lot as the season has progressed. We're just going to come out and keep playing the way we know how.

"You play the game out of love, so it's not hard to keep a positive attitude. You ought to not play the game just to be playing. Everyone here loves the game and you also play for one another.

"You always want to finish strong so you have something to look forward to for the upcoming season, and send the seniors out on a good note. That's our goal, to play the best we can and win these last three games.

"Everyday is a challenge. The quarterback meetings are a lot different than the running back meetings. There is a lot more note-taking and that's not natural to me anymore. It's been three years since I've done that. It's kind of flying by me right now, over the top of my head. But I'm picking it up bit-by-bit and I'll keep trying everyday."

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