Quotes from Monday's Football Press Conference

September 24, 2001 · MT Media Relations
McCollum on UL-Monroe Game
I'm kind of tired of hearing about an ugly win. I've never seen an ugly win. We're very proud to have won this game and I'm proud of our players. We had a lot of other things going on leading up to the game with all of the tragedies from a couple of weeks ago. Our hearts were heavy just like everyone else's.

We had to get on a plane and fly to Monroe and play against a team that was starting a new season. They were 0-0 going into this crowd and were sky-high to play in front of their fans. Our effort was good, but it was a game that we are going to do a lot of learning from. We turned the ball over three times and we can't do that if we want to be successful and get to where we want to be in the big picture.

I was proud of our defense early and was disappointed in the fourth quarter after we gave up two touchdowns. We feel like Monroe is going to beat some teams this year. We felt like they played hard and were a well-coached team and we have all of the respect in the world for them.

McCollum on UL-Lafayette
We have to turn the page and now we have another tough trip ahead of us. We have to make two straight trips to Louisiana and play against a team that we have a lot of respect for. We have to be as good as Middle Tennessee can be to have a chance to beat them. We have a tough week of work ahead, but that's what I love about this team. They love to work and they want to be better. McCollum on what he expects from UL-Lafayette
I expect to play a team that should feel good going into this game. They beat us up pretty good two years ago and they we beat them in double overtime last year, so it's been tough battles on the field. They run a spread offense kind of like ours and they have everybody returning on defense. They play hard and run to the ball well and I'm sure they feel good about playing us. They feel like they have won the last two years and we're going to their place. This was a game that we looked at going into the season that we knew would be tough, especially since we're making back-to-back trips to Louisiana. We have to be as good as we can possibly be in order to win.

McCollum on ULL's defense
They have a lot of speed and do a great job of mixing things up. I think their free safety, Hebert, is probably one of the best in this league and I consider him a great player. The corner, Tillman, has been there a long time. Their linebackers run really well and they're strong up front. This will be the most athletic team we have played so far, especially defensively. They can run and they enjoy playing defense, so it will be a big challenge for our offensive unit.

McCollum on MT's defense
It's a team game for us, but the improvement from week one to last week shows that we're getting toward where we need to be, but we're nowhere close to getting there yet. We've got to learn to finish on defense. We have got to be able, on both sides of the ball, to finish games. We put the ball on the ground three times and put our defense's back against the wall and they [defense] responded. But in the fourth quarter we didn't respond the way we wanted them to. We had too many penalties and the drive they had for a touchdown we walked them down there because of those mistakes. We're not good enough to do that.

For three quarters, though, I was proud of what we did. To go into halftime leading 17-0 and shutting them out made me proud. Especially when we had committed a turnover and put our back to the wall. We have got to take it to another level this week because road wins are hard to come by, especially conference games. This is a good step for our program this week because this will be a hard trip for us.

McCollum on Wes Counts
I'm not surprised by Wes' performance this season. Its like we said from the get-go; we're not worried about his stats. The only stat we care about is that we're 3-0 and he has won three games for us. It doesn't matter if he's first or last in the country as long as we win games. The thing that I am most proud of with Wes is that he is a great leader for this football team. He's been in this system for three years and he's making great decisions for this team. He's enjoying playing and operating. I could care less about his stats and I don't even know where he ranks in the nation.

WR David Youell on ULL
"They are at the top of the nation in pass defense and have a lot of experience, and there's no substitute for experience. We also are very experienced at the skill positions, and our linemen have gained more experience with each game. We just have to step up and make plays.

WR David Youell on Game with ULL
"Both teams will be high for this game, and they should be because it's a conference game. They took us to two overtimes last year and beat us two years ago. So we have to be very prepared and stay focused and do what we have to do.

WR David Youell on Playing in the Swamp
"It's a great environment down there. They beat us there two years ago. I think they call it the Swamp. "There's someone behind our bench who will heckle you the whole game. We have to make sure and help our young guys be prepared for that.

WR David Youell on Team
"I think our team has shown a lot of maturity, like in the locker room [after the UL-Monroe game]. No one was happy. We won, but we knew there was a lot of work to do and a lot to improve on if we want to win a Sun Belt Championship.

LB Randy Arnold on Facing ULL
"I have to go out and play my game and let it come to me. They are a very talented team and we need to beef it up against them going on the road again. We need to play our best game this year.

LB Randy Arnold on the ULL-MT Series
"It's like we are a rivalry with them. They play their best versus us. So we have to step up and play well. We were picked to win the conference and we have a target on our back in every conference game. Everyone wants to beat the so-called best team in the conference.

LB Randy Arnold on MT Defense
"We know that if we can keep the ball away from [the opposition], our offense is going to score.

OT Brandon Westbrook on MT's Good Start
"We're proud to be 3-0 and win a tough road game. All of the notoriety guys are getting is good for the school and the program, and hopefully it will make our fans excited and they'll turn out for the home games.

OT Brandon Westbrook on Offensive Line
"We have to have a game plan in mind and go in and do the work to get it done. You have to trust the guy next to you [on the offensive line]. It's like you're going to battle in the trenches and we're a very tight-knit group.

OT Brandon Westbrook on WR David Youell
"He has great hands and ability. He is also a mean and dirty little guy, but that gives him his edge. He has just been given the opportunity to show his stuff and he's coming through.

OT Brandon Westbrook on MT's Offense
"I think we're as good as we ever were offensively. We're a potent offense. [UL-Monroe] made some adjustments at halftime and we made some adjustments. They did some things in the second half we weren't expecting, and we just couldn't get the adjustments made on the sidelines. It's always a breakdown here or there that slows us down.

DT Tanaka Scott on ULL Game
"They will come out and have a great game plan and try to run the ball down our throats. We have to be prepared for whatever they throw at us.

DT Tanaka Scott on the MT Defense
"Every game is big for us, but especially the conference games. We have to step up and we still have a lot of things to work on defensively to get better each week.

DT Tanaka Scott on MT Defense Shutting Team's Down in 1st Quarter
"I think it gives us an advantage to shut down an opposition in the first quarter. We know our offense is capable of scoring. Defensively we just have to play all four quarters instead of three.

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