Quotes from Tuesday's football press conference
Blue Raiders face Bulldogs in StarkvilleOctober 21, 2008 · Athletic Communications
Review of Louisville game:
"I am extremely proud of our football team and the way we played in the game. We competed well and played hard. We did a good job in the first half. In the second half we got hemmed up a little field position wise and their front seven dominated us. Sometimes it is hard to see the good things you are doing when you just look at the record at 2-5. We are doing a lot of good things and that's why I am proud of this team. Our defense may have gotten worn down in the second half. We only played 17 on defense the whole time so we aren't playing a lot of guys and when you look at it that way and understand the effort and passion they are playing with then it makes you even more proud of what they are doing. I am disappointed in the loss but I am not going to stand here and act like we are not doing some good things because we are."
On Mississippi State:
"It is a different Mississippi State team than I am use to based on my two years in the SEC at South Carolina. In the past they have been huge but now most of the edge players are tall, lean and sleek. It is the fastest defense we have played since I have been here and one of the fastest I have seen in a long, long time. They are very good on defense and their speed is what stands out to me. Offensively, they are struggling a little bit, but when you are playing young people you are going to go through some growing pains and that's what is happening. If we can't stop the run then it is going to be hard for us to win the game. It will be a dogfight down there."
On Mississippi State's defense:
"They are extremely fast and talented up front. Their edge players present a legitimate problem. Your quarterback does not have time to stand back there and go through his reads. Their linebackers are good. They do a good job covering receivers and getting pressure on the quarterback so it's a combination of a lot of thing."
Playing two quarterbacks do you have a plan going in of how they will be used or does the game dictate that? "Once the game gets going then the game dictates a lot of it. We had a plan that Dwight (Dasher) was going to play the third series so initially we had a plan. In the second half when it got to a two-score game and we were going to have to throw it more than we went with Joe (Craddock) more than Dwight. Initially we have plan to get Dwight in there and use him but once we get into the game the game dictates what we are doing."
On the Blue Raider offense:
"Part of the struggle with our offense has a lot to do with who we have played. We have played some really good defenses. When you are playing so many young guys on offense you will go through growing pains and that's where we are. We were better Saturday against Louisville than we were the week before. We are getting better but it takes time, especially when you are playing so many young players. Anytime you play a team that is equal to or better than you than turnovers kill you. If we turn it over at Mississippi State we will not win. They are too good to give their offense a short field and put our defense out there to defense a short field."
Are the injuries to Anthony Glover (ankle) and Alex Suber (corner) season-ending? "It is season-ending for Alex Suber. He broke his jaw in two places. As far as Glover, he couldn't practice the last two days. His is an ankle sprain. It is not season ending but if he does not have a miraculous recovery I don't anticipate he can come in and play this week at Mississippi State."
Mississippi State is the last BCS opponent in your very tough non-conference slate. How do you view this game at this point in the season? "It is a great opportunity for us. Are we the underdog? Sure we are, but it's a chance for us to do something special and compete against the so-called best athletes in the country. It is a chance to sell what we are doing to recruits and we have to do that. I'm excited about this year, this team, and I am excited about where this team is going. We have a chance to go and play a SEC team on their home turf on one of the ESPN stations and that's a good thing, it's a good opportunity."
LB Danny Carmichael
How does the injury to Suber affect the defense? "There are not many players like Suber. He is the best corner we have. His loss hurts because when you have him back there you know one guy is fully covered and don't have to worry because that's how good he is."
On Mississippi State's offense:
"Going into every game, no matter who you play, winning the turnover battle is big. That is always the goal because if you are turning the ball over you are putting the offense in a good situation."
Do you look your record and understand the youth of the team and how competitive you have been or is that hard for players? "We are a young team but the numbers are in the back of your head. We still have a lot to play for because if we win four of our last five we can still go to a bowl game. We are a young team but we have some older players and we are playing hard not only for ourselves, but also for them. We can still make some things happen."
RB Phillip Tanner
On Mississippi State's defense:
"Every week is a challenge. We need to establish the run and keep playing hard. We know this is a good team with a great defense but we are preparing the same as we do each week because what we are doing is right."
On the improvement of the running game over the past two weeks: "The offensive linemen are getting more comfortable and that's a big thing. I think they are getting better every week and it's easy to see they are a big reason our ground game is improving. With young players it's hard to improve game to game because after you play and make a mistake you really can't go back to practice the next week and work on areas where you messed up because your attention is on the next opponent. With young players it is more improving throughout the season and in the offseason and not game-to-game so I believe you are starting to see some young guys improve with games under their belt and we are better for that as a whole."
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