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Hines Named Player of Week; Quotes from Today's Press Conference

October 20, 2003 · MT Media Relations
HINES VOTED SBC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: For the second time this season and the third of his career, quarterback Andrico Hines was voted the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week following the team's win over Idaho. Hines, who entered the game in the second quarter, engineered Middle Tennessee's comeback victory by completing 11 of 19 passes for 227 yards and rushing for a season-high 61 yards and two touchdowns. In overtime, Hines had a crucial completion for 25 yards to Chris Henry to setup his game-winning touchdown run. "It's a nice honor, but it is a shame it has to go to an individual because it is clearly a team award," Hines said. "I am glad someone from Middle Tennessee won it, but it would not have been possible without our offensive line play, key catches by our receivers and big runs from our backs."

McCollum on the Idaho game: We're coming off a big win against a good Idaho football team. Idaho is a tough place to play and a tough trip. We continued fighting and continued believing in ourselves. We lost two key players in the game in Brandon Lynch and Brandon Westbrook. But, I thought, Josh Willoughby and Kevin Copeland played well when they came into the game. We played well in some areas and our defense in the second half got better. We had too many dropped balls from our receivers and I was very disappointed that we couldn't get the ball in on goalline situations. We've got to change that beginning today. We have a tough challenge ahead of us this week and we have to cut out the mistakes.

McCollum on North Texas RB Patrick Cobbs: He's the preseason player of the year in the Sun Belt and he's been showing it this year. He can run and he sees the field well. He's a very physical back who can break tackles. He has carried 40 or more times in the last two games and has gone over 200 yards in those games.

McCollum on the North Texas game: If [North Texas] wins this game, then they will be the Sun Belt champions. We're taking steps to get better. We have all the respect in the world for North Texas and what they have done in this league. We have done a good job fighting back after starting out with a tough schedule, which every team in our league has to go through, and we have given ourselves an opportunity in this game.

McCollum on the injury situation: Brandon Lynch is out for the year and Brandon Westbrook is day-to-day. With only 85 possible scholarships, every loss is big, but Lynch is more than that. He gets his work done in the classroom, he works hard on the field, he's a leader for this football team, and he has great character. Losing our center in the first quarter was a big loss, but it says good things about Josh Willoughby and what he was able to do in the game. He's got to be even better this week, though. But he's a senior, so he's supposed to get better.

McCollum on UNT DL Brandon Kennedy: Just turn on the film and you see right away what he can do. He's relentless. He plays with emotion and he's a dominating player. They are tough all around on defense and they have linebackers that make tackles.

McCollum on MT's defensive line: I was pleased with our defense and the way they played in the second half. I thought Demetrios Walker played one of his best games and Thomas Johnson played one of his better games. I also thought that Bobby Payne, Jonathan Callahan, Jerry Vanderpool, and Devarick Scandrett played well. We've got to be physical up front. We've got to get hats in the right place and make plays. I thought our defense got better in the second half. We've got to make plays when the opportunities are there, though. We had a chance for a couple of interceptions that we didn't come up with.

McCollum on his receivers: We have to find a way to get Kerry Wright more touches. I didn't think that our receivers played very well this week. We dropped too many passes. I was proud of the way that they stepped up in the second half. Chris Henry made a big play in overtime after fumbling the ball through the endzone earlier in the game. Pedro Holiday also came up with a big catch late in the game after having a drop. Wardell Alsup and Jerrin Holt made some plays for us. But, I do think that we need to find a way to get the ball to Kerry because he makes things happen when he has it.

McCollum on RB Eugene Gross: This is his first year playing running back. Eugene's been challenged to be the guy for us after Don Calloway and Kevin Davis have gotten hurt. He's done a good job for us, but he's got to learn to get some yards on his own. When it's third-and-one, even if the line doesn't block, he's got to learn to get the one-yard on his own. He made some key plays for us this week and had a great run on the long touchdown play. He's done a good job being the guy getting it done for us.

McCollum on the importance of this week's game: We have said all along that the Sun Belt Championship goes through North Texas, and this is our next game. They are the defending champions. But, every game is big. You want to win every game. Our team is very excited about playing this week, but we know we have to have a great week of work and that's what we're going to do.

McCollum on QB Andrico Hines: He's a team oriented player. He's a tough player. Radio couldn't give justice for what he did against Idaho. The runs he made under pressure. He got hurt and came back in and finished the game. You had to see the run he had to tie the game and then the throw he made between two defenders on the two-point conversion play because radio just couldn't do it justice.

PLAYERS
RB Eugene Gross
On running the ball and the offensive line
"The offense has done a good job running the ball lately. The offensive line has done a good job blocking and opening the holes. I think we have one of the best offensive lines in the conference. They just continue to get better each week. We have to run the ball to open up the pass, and if we continue to do our job, things will take care of themselves.

On playing running back
"It's a little new to me. I played quarterback and free safety in high school. I knew going to college I'd have to switch positions, either to running back or to play somewhere on defense. But I will do anything for the team because I'm all about winning. Once you get so many carries, so many reps, you get used to the difference and the speed of the game.

On beating North Texas
"We just have to get things going offensively, one play at a time. We're on a winning streak and it's a big game, a home game, and that's big. We want to get our fans behind us and get things going in our backyard.

On guys stepping up with the injuries last week
"[Josh] Willoughby came in and did some good things. [Kevin] Copeland, with the pick in overtime, that really shows we have some depth. That was the deciding factor in the game. He made the play. People just have to step up and we have confidence going into this game they will.

DL Demetrios Walker
On Saturday's game
"We had a lot of adversity, things going wrong. We had to keep fighting because we knew anything could happen.

On North Texas
"We have to stop the run. We know they'll have a good defense and come right after you and the offensive line will play a physical game. We have to prepare for a good running back and do a good job of assignment and alignment football, being in the right places to make plays. Our defense has gotten better. We just had to continue to come together and gel, be in position with the mental part of the game and execute.

On Brandon Lynch's injury
"It's a big blow because he contributes a lot. He has a passion for the game. It's a bad loss. But Kevin [Copeland] stepped up and made the big interception. Brandon is sad about the injury, hurt. But he's a fighter and he'll keep fighting for us and with us.

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