Weekly press luncheon held at Bluesboro

Large contingent on hand for media event

September 26, 2006 · MT Media Relations

Head Coach Rick Stockstill

How do you bounce back from the Oklahoma game and is the team's confidence an issue? "We have to put that game behind us whether we won or it not. We got clobbered pretty good and we helped them some. They would have still beaten us but we gave them some early opportunities putting the ball on the ground and turning the ball over. We didn't play as well as we would have liked. We are very realistic about where we are and what we have to do to get better."

Are you excited about getting back into conference play? "Yes. That's ultimately what you play for, to win a championship. We have won one game and we have a big one this week."

Better gauge as you get into conference play? "Our players probably have a better feel for it than I do. I have never been in the conference before. Until you see them face to face, for me, it's difficult to evaluate how good the team is. Watching Florida International on film I thought they were a good team. After playing them I thought they were even better. I don't think our team will be intimidated by the environment we will see this week. We have been in two very tough environments."

Press Conference Video
Seems like Middle Tennessee did more to beat itself at Oklahoma than Oklahoma did? "I disagree with you in that we did more to beat ourselves than Oklahoma did. Oklahoma was a very good football team. We did some things that cost us and gave them some easy shots. We have to correct our mistakes. We probably gave up 21 points or 24 in the kicking game, we threw an interception for a touchdown. We did enough to beat ourselves in a normal game but then playing Oklahoma, that was a good football team and that will prove out through the season."

When you took the position at Middle Tennessee did Director of Athletics Chris Massaro stress to you the importance of beating North Texas since that has never happened? "Not from Chris or anything like that. I know our fans want to win but they don't want to win any more than we do, as a staff and players. I understand the importance of this game, not because we have never beaten them but because it's a big conference game. This team has never lost to North Texas. It's a different team than last year or the one before, etc. There is no ulterior motive to this game other than it is a big conference game."

How important is this Sun Belt Conference game at North Texas? "We are approaching this game as one game. If we win it we are 2-0 and if we lose it we are 1-1. We are not going to put any pressure on this team that we have to win or we have no chance to win the conference. Our approach is one game at a time and trying to get better each week."

Why did Joe Craddock play more at Oklahoma? "I thought Clint did OK, nothing to beat your chest about. He has to get better and he has to play better in order for us to be successful. I wanted to get Joe (Craddock) in the game. We are going to play Joe. He practices and he deserves to play. I thought he did OK and he showed poise in there. Joe has continued to get more practice reps. We are going to play the quarterback who gives us the best chance to win but that goes for every position on the field. I have no doubt Clint can start and finish a game, and I also have no doubt that Joe can do that."

Your team has decreased its penalties by almost half from last year. How has that happened and what has led to it? "I don't know about how they did it last year but I think bringing in officials during our practices in August helped us. There is a commitment and pride factor that we are not going to have penalties during practice. Right now we don't have officials at practice but there is a punishment for a penalty during practice. We had a player with a penalty during practice last week and I threw him out of practice. It's about discipline out there. If you are not going to do the little things right you are not going to play because we are going to have discipline on the field. We are not having the foolish penalties but we have to eliminate turnovers."

What bothers you most with North Texas, their running game or passing game? "There is no question they want to run the football first and throw second. They are throwing it more this year but if we can't stop their running game we will not win and it's that simple. We also have to establish our running game. Whichever team is able to run the ball successfully Saturday will win the game."

Defensive Lineman Trevor Jenkins

What do you gain from the game at Oklahoma? "Oklahoma was a good experience. We played hard on defense and we can continue to have that mentality. If we do that we will be OK."

How big is this game at North Texas? "North Texas is a big game but we treat every game the same. We don't have highs or lows because it's about one game at a time. I love the rivalries and the conference games but coach Stock is teaching us to treat every game like a rival game and then everything takes care of itself."

Tight End Clint Corder

Is there more incentive to this game because you have never beaten North Texas? "It's my fourth year in the program and having not beaten North Texas it gives you added incentive. Not only is it a big conference game but it's a rival game; however, we are not putting any more emphasis on it than we do any other. This is a different team but the fact remains that no one in our locker room has beaten them."

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