Quotes from Tuesday's football press conference

Blue Raiders hold final press conference of season

November 13, 2007 · MT Media Relations

Head Coach Rick Stockstill
Opening comments:
On the UL-Lafayette game:
"We are disappointed that we lost the UL-Lafayette game. I told the team yesterday that I hope they never get tired of me telling them how proud I am of how hard they play and how they never quit. We just ran out of gas in the second half. I think the injuries and so forth just caught up to us. We just didn't play as well as we are capable and give (UL-Lafayette) credit because they had a lot to do with that."

On the Troy game: "We have a ton to play for at Troy. At this point there is still hope that you can be in the mix to share the championship. When we play the game we will know if that's the case because some things have to happen. Is it a longshot? Yeah, probably, but there is hope. It is a nationally-televised game and these seniors can go out having won 11 of their last 14 conference games if we are fortunate enough to win. That would be a great feat for them."

Press Conference
About Troy: "Troy is very good, obviously. They have one of the better offenses and defenses in the conference. Defensively, there team speed is very noticeable. Their back seven will be the best we have faced all year within this conference. They all have good size and speed. The team speed on defense is what stands out. They have everyone back on offense and they were very good last year."

Do your players consider Troy their biggest rival in the Sun Belt? "This is my second time playing (Troy). I would think that because of the proximity this should be our rival right now. I don't think we really look at a team right now as being our rival. We don't make a big deal of it. We approach every conference game as the most important on our schedule. I know there is some rivalry in this game. It came down to us last year for the title and we ended up sharing it. I understand the intensity of this game."

Coaches talk about being on national TV helping in recruiting. How does it help? "Most schools will always send out a letter to recruits about watching the game. I think the big thing is this is the only college game on TV so every college football fan in the country will watch. Just from putting your team out there on a national scale and hearing announcers talking about your program, it helps you expose your program. When you go to recruit guys and go into their home it helps credibility because we have done this and they have seen you doing this."

Now that you are at the end of the season can you talk about how not having an off game affected the team? "It started showing up here at the end just because it is so hard to go 11 straight weeks, playing four games in the first 20 days, and then being as thin as we are and then the injuries, it just catches up to you. I think it caught up to us at the end. We just looked like a tired team here at the end."

What does Troy quarterback Omar Haugabook do well in their system that makes it run so well? "He gets rid of the ball and that's the big thing. He's a strong young man. He's big and physical back there. If you can get to him you have to get him to the ground. He avoids sacks. I'm sure now he understands their offense better in the second year than he did the first year. He's a good quarterback to begin with and then he does a good job of getting the ball out of his hands."

Can you talk about Bradley Robinson? He has been one of the best corners in the league all four years but has never been all-conference. Did you know of him before since he went to high school in South Carolina? "I was at Clemson when Bradley was a senior in high school and they were in the state championship game and Brent, my son, was 7 or 8 and went to the game with me. I remember to this day that we were going to the game and my son asked me what was the number of the player we were recruiting and I told him 81. After awhile my son told me we should be recruiting number (24) or whatever number Bradley was. Here was a 7 or 8-year-old who could see it and he was right. As it turned out I still got to coach him in college here at Middle Tennessee.

"Bradley Robinson was a great athlete in high school. He was a wide receiver, defensive back and kick returner. Since I have been at Middle Tennessee he has been nothing but great off the field. He is on track to graduate this December. On the field the biggest improvement Bradley has made from last year to this year is he is playing more physical. He is a tougher player out there. He is challenging receivers more this year. He is a team player. I think Bradley deserves all-conference recognition this year."

OL Brandon Nix
Do the players view the Troy game as a big rivalry?
"We lost at the end of the game with a few seconds to go and that leaves a bitter taste. We remember that and it cost us winning the title outright. There is always a little bit of revenge in the back of your mind." Your thoughts on the Troy game? "We lost Senior Night and that hurt us. We get one more chance to come back out and end our season on a positive note and that's important. It will be the last time a lot of these seniors will ever play."

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