Quotes from Tuesday's football press conference

Blue Raiders preparing for Mean Green

October 23, 2007 · MT Media Relations

Coach Rick Stockstill

Recap on the Arkansas State Game
I thought our guys played extremely well. We were focused and played with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. I say all the time football is a game of passion. If you don't play with enthusiasm and energy it is hard to be successful.

I was really proud of the way we came out and competed. I thought our defense was excellent the entire game. I thought they completely dominated an offensive team that has been very successful this year. I thought our defensive guys were really into it. Their mental intensity was great and their focus was really good as well.

I was really proud of the way we played offensively. I thought we played very well, especially the first half. I was disappointed in how we played in the third quarter. I didn't think we finished those two drives like we should have. I did like how we played in the fourth quarter. We were able to take a lot of time off the clock and win the game.

We still have to correct some mistakes. We had a couple of holding penalties. One that nullified a touchdown and another that nullified a 28-yard gain that we have to get corrected. I told the team yesterday that holding penalties to me are the result of two things; a lack of fundamentals or a lack of effort. There is really no excuse and we have to get those corrected.

Overall, I was very pleased with how we played and competed. I challenged the team. To me it is fun when you challenge a group of guys and then they go out and accept that challenge. They have some success and to see how excited they are after having that success. I am really excited and proud of how we played against Arkansas State.

On this week's opponent - North Texas
This week against North Texas will be another challenge for us. Their overall record isn't that good but in Sun Belt Conference play they have been in every game except for the Troy game last Saturday. They are a good football team. I think the strength of their team on defense is their front. They have some really good guys that can run well. I think that is the strength of their defense. Offensively it is a complete 360 degree turn from what they did last year. Where they would not throw the ball hardly at all last year now they hardly ever run the ball. When you play a team like this that can get hot in the passing game at any time it will be very difficult. It will be a tough game for us and we have to make sure we are in it mentally. This is the most important game on our schedule and we have to be focused on Saturday. There is no game that is more important. We will be ready to play.

On Dwight Dasher
Dwight is doing great. He has a little nick but everyone playing at this point in the season has something wrong. He is fine and should be ready to go on Saturday.

On the quarterback situation
I think it is critical at this stage in the season that we have as much depth at every position that we can, especially at quarterback. It was good to get Joe (Craddock) back out there Saturday. We will need them both before this season is over.

Preparing for North Texas
We will go based on what we have seen during their seven games this year. It has probably been tough for Coach Dodge and his coaching staff because you want to get in there and implement your philosophy offensively and defensively. Maybe the players there don't really fit your style of offense and defense. I'm sure there are frustrations and growing pains there.

Talk about the improved play of the defense
I think one is our seniors are playing well in Tavares Jones, Bradley Robinson, Erik Walden and junior Trevor Jenkins up front. Those are older guys who are playing well and then the younger guys who have had to play are now playing their A game. They have more experience so when the Tavares' go out you have someone who has played a little bit more than what they had earlier in the season. I think the big thing is they are playing with a high level of energy, great enthusiasm, playing fast, with confidence, and tackling better. I think it is a combination of a lot of those things.

On the more consistent play of Taron Henry
I have been pleased with Taron. I think he comes to work everyday with a good attitude, practices hard, and is always ready to play on Saturday. He is not a big talker or a rah-rah guy. He is more of a leader by example. He has played more consistent these last four weeks than he did early in the year. He is running more disciplined routes and is doing a good job with the run after a catch. I think his play is speaking more than his words at this point. I am very pleased with Taron and how he has gone about his business these last five or six weeks.

On the stretch to end the season with three of four being on the road
Not really. I think ideally you wish you played every game at home. We are a very focused football team right now. We are going to go down there on a business trip. We are not going to worry about all of the other stuff. North Texas has been very good at home. So this is going to be a tough game and we have to be very focused. We are not going to look at it as three of the next four away from home. We are just going to play it one game at a time and be focused. We are a very mature football team and we can handle being on the road.

On North Texas' passing game
They are very good up front. To me we have to be good at defense and on first down. It is easier to get pressure on the quarterback when you are in down and distance situations. I think first down will be critical for us on defense.

On the defensive numbers being spread out equally
It is by design with the front and the linebackers. This year we are getting our secondary a little more involved in the blitz and pressure game than we did last year. I think our safeties are tackling better. I think we are covering better in the secondary than we did last year which has enabled us to bring more secondary pressure. I think we are covering better which allows us to get more pressure in the secondary.

On how the players like the defensive style
I would think they like it a lot. I would think that you would much rather be a pressure attacking player on defense as opposed to a passive, sit back and read type player on defense. I think our guys enjoy the blitzing. I think they enjoy the spinning, stunning and twisting. I think they enjoy blitzing one time and then dropping in zone coverage the next time.

On fan attendance
We are going to play every game as hard as we can and we are going to hope the fans pack the stands whether we are 12-0 or 0-12. We are going to do the best we can in every game. We are going to compete and play as hard as we can. We are trying to build a program here where people want to come see every game and not base it on, well they lost last week so I'm not going this week. We are going to build this program with the guys that play hard, compete hard, and play the game the way it is supposed to be played. We hope that the students and fans will have enough pride in their school to come to the game and support their team no matter what the record is. I understand the more you win the more people will come to the game, that's the way it is. We are a young program and I am hoping for the day that the fans and students come to the game regardless of what you did last week.

On using two quarterbacks
I don't foresee us being a Dwight (Dasher) this series and Joe (Craddock) this series. Dwight is our quarterback and we will get Joe in there. Our running game is the exact same and our passing will be the same regardless of which quarterback is in the game. There are balls that Joe throws better and some that Dwight throws better. When you get into that situation you have a package. Okay, Joe is good at this type of throw and Dwight is really good at this throw, and you just go from there.

DE Tavares Jones

On the Blue Raiders' style of defense
I love it. I think in a read defense the defense waits and reacts to the offense. We are attacking the offense and not really giving them a chance to come off the ball.

On North Texas' offensive style
I think it is a dream defensive scenario for any defensive line when you face a predominantly passing team. It gives you the opportunity to more plays behind the line of scrimmage. We love being in the backfield and making it hard for the quarterbacks and hopefully we can do that Saturday.

Brandon Nix

On protecting two quarterbacks
We have both guys who played great this past weekend. We are confident that if we keep defenders away from them both will be able to make plays. Whoever is in there doesn't really matter. We are ready to block and protect both of them.

On North Texas
I haven't watched much film because of class issues this week but we will get in there and watch film and see what we can do in order to be better this week.

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