Stockstill, Corder and Jenkins meet with media
Press conference quotes from BluesboroSeptember 5, 2006 · MT Media Relations
Head Coach Rick Stockstill
Opening statement: "It was a good win for us last week. It was a hard fought game, and I'm proud of the team, proud of how they played and the effort they displayed. We have a big task ahead of us. Maryland will be a tough challenge, but we are looking forward to going there and playing the mighty Terps."
You got a Sun Belt win in the opener and don't have another conference game until October. Is the pressure off? "I hope all they are worried about is the next opponent. We are not worried about conference or non-conference. It was good to get a conference win last week but as far as thinking any pressure is lifted, that's not our thought process."
What is the mindset this week against Maryland? "We haven't changed anything. We didn't talk last week about FIU or being a conference game. We are worried about ourselves and trying to get ourselves better. I'm not saying we are not worried about Maryland, we do have a plan in place for that, but we have to be worried about our team getting better each week and if that happens then we will be a better football team as the season progresses.You need that grit and intensity every game you play. We get 12 opportunities and that's it. You better go out every game focused with that intensity or you will come back with regrets. We are going to play every game with emotion and passion."
How important was the play of punter Colby Smith? "You never know which play will make the difference so you have to be ready when the number is called and when Colby Smith's number was called he made a big play. I'm not going to say it was the difference because you never know what the difference is going to be but that (79-yard) punt was a huge play in the game. Colby got a perfect turn on the ball. He got a hold of it and it probably went 55 or 60 yards in the air before it hit the ground."
Have you coached against Ralph Fridgen during your time as an assistant in the ACC? "There are a couple guys on their staff I have coached against, being at Clemson. Coach Ralph Friedgen is a tough, hard-nosed, throw-back coach. They are going to run the ball and they are going to be sound fundamentally on offense. They are going to try to beat you up with the offense and their defense is strong. It's not a lot of blitzing but they get after you and they chase the ball."
Maryland had some turnovers in the opener. Do you focus on creating turnovers this week? "We stress turnovers on defense and we stress protecting it on offense. Four of Maryland's first seven possessions they went down and scored and the ones they didn't were turnovers. I hope they go one more week turning it over but I'm sure coach Friedgen will get that corrected this week. We need to be able to create some turnovers on defense."
What does Middle Tennessee gain from playing teams such as Maryland, Oklahoma, Louisville, and South Carolina? "They present you some pretty good paychecks. I'm naïve enough to believe in college football today that anybody has a chance to win on any given Saturday, and I really believe it. I'm not getting into David and Goliath and all that. Maryland is a very talented team and they have very good players, but I truly believe that if our guys go in there with the mindset of protecting the ball and not giving up the big plays then we have a chance to win. I really do believe that."
How pleased are you with the defense last week? "The defense played well last week but that game is in the past. This is a new team, new game and that's where the focus is."
What does Middle Tennessee gain from playing these games? "We gain confidence. We see other competition and compare us. We are capable of winning these games but we have to do all the little things correctly."
FIU was a pass first offense whereas Maryland may be more of a running team. Does that change the defensive approach? "Our defense is an attack defense so it doesn't matter if they are a pass first or run first. We are going to carry out our assignments regardless of the style they run."
TE Clint Corder
There were no catches by the tight ends last week. Did that surprise you? "Going into the game last week the tight ends had caught the ball well in practice. When you get in a game you never know what situation you may be in and during the FIU game in the second half we were focused on running the ball and running the clock. We have some things in place this weekend that we hope will give us some opportunities."
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