Quotes from Tuesday's football press conference

Blue Raiders hit the road for first time in 2008

September 9, 2008 · Athletic Communications

Rick Stockstill
Review of Maryland game:
"It was a very exciting win for us as a team, a University and for the fans and supporters of Middle Tennessee. I thought we played with exceptional passion, enthusiasm and intensity. I thought we were clearly the most dominant team, the more physical team. I'm very pleased for our guys and I thought everyone involved did a great job because we were good in all three areas of the game."

Is there any sense of follow-up or momentum? "I think our guys should have a little more confidence. I think we were more confidant in the Maryland game than we were the Troy game. Our guys played better against Maryland than we did against Troy and hopefully we will have a good week of practice and improve again going into this week. I would think our confidence level is very high."

Press Conference
Have they changed their team? "Obviously defense is strength of their team. Their front seven is very good, their two corners are excellent, and I think their linebackers are good in there. They were struggling a little to find some confidence on offense and fill some voids these first couple of games. I was very impressed with the quarterback, Randall Cobb, who is doing a nice job for them. I think right now they are relying on the defense until their offense can find its identity."

What is receiver Michael Cannon's status? "He is out for the year (knee)."

How will this affect the receiving corps? "We will lose a guy in the rotation. We will try to get Andrew Banks, a walk-on, some reps this week and see what he can do. When a guy goes down it provides an opportunity for others. There will be added responsibility for other receivers and they will step up."

What do you know about Kentucky? "Their staff has been intact. They have had great success the last two years, been to two straight bowl games, and their defense has not changed since he's been there. They just have better players now. We know what we are going to get from them. I feel confident that we know what they are going to do."

How do you think your team will approach its first road game and playing at a SEC opponent? "For most of our older guys it's nothing new to them. They have been in big stadiums and played these types of teams. We won't approach this game any differently than previous road games. I think our guys will handle it well."

How pleased are you with your young receivers? "We have made some mistakes but we have made some plays too. They are learning. They minimized their mistakes from week one to week two. They are good young men, they work hard at practice. They are learning how to practice and they are athletic. Coach (Justin) Watts has done a good job bringing those guys along."

With the success the Sun Belt has had in football already this year is it too early to talk about the league not getting the attention and respect it deserves? "I don't think it's too early at all. I think we are a very under-rated conference. We have good players, good teams, and good coaches. We may be under-appreciated on a national scale. Troy has knocked off a couple teams, we knocked off Maryland, Arkansas State got Texas A&M. I think it is becoming known that when you play a team from the Sun Belt you better be ready to play because we have good teams, good players and good coaches."

LB Danny Carmichael
Now that you have a BCS win against Maryland, does that add pressure to do it again this week?
"For us Kentucky is the next team on our schedule. Maryland was a good win, great for this University, and maybe the biggest in history. We have to put it behind us now and make sure we are ready for Kentucky. We have played SEC teams before. We have been there, been in position. We have to come out and be ready to play."

What are some keys to the Kentucky game? "We have to win the turnover margin. Playing a team like Kentucky you can't make many mistakes and expect to win. We have to get pressure on the quarterback and force him to make some throws he doesn't want to make."

As a defensive player what does it mean to you when you see Kentucky has only allowed five points in two games? "Giving up five points in two games to anybody is a great accomplishment. I think we will come out ready to play."

QB Joe Craddock
Having beat Maryland does that make it any easier mentally going to Kentucky, thinking 'Hey, we did this against Maryland, we can do it against Kentucky?"
"We beat Maryland. We didn't beat every BCS team. We have another tough test this week at Kentucky. We can't just show up thinking we beat a BCS team last week so we can this week. We have to prepare and be ready to play the game."

Can Middle Tennessee's offense have similar success moving the ball against Kentucky as you did Maryland? "With our young guys coming on like they have, it's possible. Maryland didn't give us much of a pass rush but Kentucky comes pretty hard. Our offensive line just has to come along in week 3 and continue to make progress."

What does it mean to you from an offensive standpoint to be going against a defense that has allowed just five points in two games? "Makes me want to prepare more, practice harder. Drives me to want to want to put some points on the board and do something others have not been able to do."

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