Quotes from today's football press conference

Blue Raiders set to face SBC favorite on Saturday

October 24, 2006 · MT Media Relations

Desmond Gee had a nice game on Saturday. Will you involve him more in the future?
We went in with an extra week to prepare and it gave us a chance to do some different things. Desmond is a very talented player but he has only played seven college games and still has a lot to learn. We are taking baby steps with him and trying to put him in the best possible position to be successful and let his athleticism take over. On the deep ball last week, Clint (Marks) made a good check then made a great throw and Desmond went and got it. He is a player with that type of ability and we need to keep him involved in the offense if we hope to be successful.

The Blue Raiders are starting to develop a killer instinct and learning how to put teams away. How have they been able to do this?
I believe our guys are playing with a lot of confidence and believe in each other which is a huge plus when you get into critical parts of games. When you look at the Monroe game there is not one time when you could say they stopped our offense in the first half. We stopped ourselves with turnovers. We said at halftime that we need to come out and take care of ourselves and make plays, which is exactly what we did. We were able to sustain drives and move the chains. I believe it's more of them believing in themselves rather than having a killer instinct.

Press Conference Video
This will be your second trip to Louisiana in as many weeks. Do you talk to the players about making a third trip later in the season?
That is ultimately the goal but we do not talk about that at all. The only thing we are worried about right now is Lafayette and getting better as a team. As soon as you let your minds drift off to another place you will quickly slip up. We have to remain focused and take it one game at a time. Anyway, we are not good enough to start thinking ahead because we need to play the near perfect game just to compete with Lafayette this week.

Explosive players that ULL has on offense like Jerry Babb and Terell Fenroy, did the Wednesday night game against FAU help you guys in trying to find ways to slow them down?
Not really. We will look at all their tapes from this season. They are playing really well and have won nine of their last 11 games and six straight league games. They are very talented. Their quarterback has won player of the week about three or four times already and they have a bunch of good defensive players. I was not able to see all of the FAU game but watching them on tape it looks like ULL stubbed their toes a bunch because of turnovers. Lafayette was a heavily favored team but it goes to show how tough this conference is. Anybody can beat anybody on any given day. We will come up with the best plan we can but it will not be based solely on the FAU game.

Did Damon Nickson and Bradley Robinson approach you about playing offense?
No. I went to Bradley Robinson and Damon Nickson about playing offense because we wanted some people who could catch the football and make some things happen. It is our responsibility as coaches to put the best players on the field to give us the best chance of winning. I saw Bradley in high school as a receiver and I watched Damon make some nice runs on kick returns and interceptions against Louisville and thought he would be a good fit on offense as well. No, we approached them.

As coaches, how would you begin developing trust all the way through with a team and how important is it that things work like they have thus far?
From a coach to a player I think you have to be honest with the players in everything you do. You can not deviate from that at all because as soon as you tell them something that is not true or you do not follow through with something you will lose that trust. I think players have to see coaches that are close. I think our players see that we have a close knit coaching staff here at Middle Tennessee. We have fun together and do not have a lot of bickering or arguing back and forth. I think the players see that and know the coaches are in this together and they believe in us when we talk to them in January, through winter conditioning, spring practice, and the season. The players do not want to let their teammates down and the coaches don't want to let any of the other coaches or players down. You are all in this thing together. We want all our players to graduate and be successful in life. It's not all about wearing the jersey. It goes way beyond that and we make sure all our players know our intentions.

As players, tell us the trust you have in the coaching staff now that you are having success

RB Eugene Gross
We trust that they will always put us in the right position to win games. In the Monroe game, Coach Mangus made a call by putting in the same play two times in a row which is not something you normally do, but it really worked out. We know they will do the things that are best for the team and put us in position to win ballgames. We totally believe in them.

QB Clint Marks
I believe we are a really close team. Since I have been here this is the closest team we have had with players and coaches. We trust each other. It may not be the most talented team but we are close and trust one another which I believe is an ingredient for success.

How much did the off-week help the offense?

QB Clint Marks
I think the off-week helped us a great deal because we were able to get in more practice and have more reps. Having a good game like we did at Monroe will only help us become more confident and relaxed as we head down the stretch of the season.

RB Eugene Gross
It gives us a lot more time to prepare for the next team and we are able to watch more film so that we can perform to the level we expect to.

How different of a year is this so far from the past? Do you find yourself looking ahead?

QB Clint Marks
It's different because we have set ourselves up this year like we had hoped. In the past we were always 0-1 or 0-2, but we have come out this year with a much better record. We are nowhere near where we need to be which is why we have the mentality of one game at a time. This game is the biggest one of the year and then next week against Florida Atlantic that one will become the biggest.

RB Eugene Gross
I think we have done a good job of staying focused. The ultimate goal is to win the Sun Belt, but we have to take baby steps to reach that goal. We are not a good enough team to not be focused each game. We can get beat at anytime which is why we have to concentrate on the fundamentals and try to get better each time we hit the field.

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