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Weekly football press conference quotes

Blue Raiders face Golden Panthers Saturday

September 25, 2007 · MT Media Relations

Head Coach Rick Stockstill

Opening comments:
"My thoughts have not changed a lot after watching the film (from the Western Kentucky game). We had two critical areas on defense, we didn't tackle very well and we couldn't get off the field on third down. A lot of those third-down conversions were a result of missed tackles. Offensively, we could not stay on the field and we could not convert third-down conversions. I was proud of the way we competed. I was proud of the way we came back there at the end to give ourselves a chance to send the game into overtime. Had we played better prior to that perhaps we would not have been in that position."

How is your offensive line holding up with all the injuries? "We have had to play the same five players on the offensive line the last three weeks and the same five players have played the entire game. We do have two players we should be able to get back this week. I don't know how effective they will be having not practiced but if something were to happen, injury-wise, it is nice to know we have two additional bodies there."

VIDEO
Press Conference
What is your evaluation of freshman quarterback Dwight Dasher in his first start? "I thought Dwight Dasher played exceptionally well. He gave us a chance to win the game, he didn't turn the ball over, and he played very well at the end to give us a chance to send the game to overtime. He didn't find out he was getting the start until Tuesday so he was very limited in terms of preparation, getting just Tuesday and Wednesday and Wednesday was a limited practice so we didn't give him a lot and (Dasher) was limited. We will give him more this week. I expect him to play well this week because by the time we play he will have had a week to prepare. I think he is a talented, gifted young man."

What is your team's mindset at this point? "I love our team, I love our attitude. There has not been one game out of these four where we have laid down and not finished the game. We work hard, we practice hard. When you go through so many changes like we have had because of the injuries up front, it just makes it difficult to have continuity. That is what we have lacked. It is going to come. It is a building process that you go through. We are playing a lot of young guys and they are getting better. If we eliminate the missed tackles and eliminate some of the things we can control, I do believe we will play better. I really am proud of our guys in terms of how they are playing and competing."

Florida International leads the Sun Belt in tackles for losses and they have a large amount of sacks. What is it about their defense that allows them to have success in that area? "They are a high pressure team. They do a lit of blitzingg and stunting. They are athletic and can run and their secondary is good which allows them to put pressure on the quarterback. I think the big key is their scheme. They blitz a lot and they pressure you."

TE/FB Clint Corder

Even though you are 0-4 you have played just one conference game. How does the team approach that? "Obviously we are not happy with where we are. Even though it hurt us to lose to Western Kentucky it didn't hurt our conference standing. We still have everything in front of us that we want to accomplish and we have to keep that in mind."

Can you talk about Dwight Dasher's play at quarterback? "Football is a big confidence game. I think coming in here and playing the way he did gave us confidence in him if we didn't have it already. We are all behind him and fully supportive of him. We have all the confidence in him to lead us to some wins. From the very first drive he made some fantastic plays with his legs. He was able to avoid some potential sacks. He brings a lot to the table. He has a strong arm and he showed that as well."

How important is it for the seniors to show leadership at this point? "This is the first real test we have had since (Stockstill) has been here at Middle Tennessee. The seniors and upperclassmen have to take the reigns and make plays. We have to take on a bigger leadership role for this team."

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