Weekly football press luncheon quotesSeptember 6, 2005 · MT Media Relations
Video: Football Press Conference (WMV)
Head Football Coach Andy McCollum
Review of the Alabama Game
"It's a good game to learn from and we did some positive things on which we can build. Defensively, the defensive front played one of their better games against a good offensive front. I think the positive offensively on our scoring drive is that we had a long, sustained drive where we executed well against a very good defensive team and that shows us what we are capable of doing. We got behind the chains too many times with penalties and against an Alabama defense that is hard to overcome. We have to show a lot of improvement from game one to game two for the challenge we have ahead of us.
"I am very appreciative of the fans we had there. It was a great environment for college football and it was one of the loudest environments we have encountered. There fans were great, first class, but I think when our kids came out they really fed off those 5,000 Blue Raider fans over there cheering for them. They were buzzing at halftime when we came in because of that, as well as how we were playing, and they were appreciative of the support. Hopefully we will be able to get a big crowd this week at home. We need edges with the four-time defending champions coming in here. These kids will play hard, I promise you that."
What are your impressions of this series the last four years? All four games have been close and to the wire.
"It is two good football teams and it has developed into a good rivalry. North Texas is a very good football team. Coach Darrell Dickey and his staff do a great job. It always seems to come down to one, two or three players in the game and North Texas has made those plays, we haven't. We have to find ways to make those plays and not hurt ourselves against a good football team."
How unique of a situation is it to have these two tailbacks (Patrick Cobbs and Jamario Thomas) on the same team?
"They are two great tailbacks and that is well documented. They do a tremendous job. Cobbs was a great player two years ago and then for Thomas to come in last year and do the things he did, as a freshman, was very impressive. The unknown going into the game is how they will use them. I can't see that they will change a lot because they have been successful in what they do, but there are a lot of unknowns for us defensively going into the game as far as how they will use both of those backs and, at the same time, the quarterback situation. Going into it, they have a freshman quarterback we haven't seen so that is an unknown."
What about the timing of this game on the schedule?
"That's out of our control. This football team has opened against a lot of good teams in the past and we go from an Alabama to a North Texas team that is very good. That's the way it is scheduled and that's the one we are getting ready to play. We have a game under our belt and we have to show improvement from that game to this next one. One thing I did learn about this football team at Alabama was they play hard. We have to correct some of the mistakes against a good North Texas team."
North Texas' running game gets so much attention but the play-action has really hurt you guys against them in the past. Can you talk about that?
"I think if you look at their team you get caught up in the running game but Johnny Quinn is as good as a receiver as there is in the Sun Belt. They are going to run you and run you and then play-action, but they throw the ball much better than they get credit for. I thought (former QB) Scott Hall did a great job throwing the ball for them. He was always hot against us. He hit big plays on us. You have to control the run and keep the ball in front of you. That's a big key. They will do some things that are tough for you defensively throwing the ball off the play-action and the option. We have to be solid in that area."
How exciting is this opener?
"It's the start of conference. It's your home opener and it is North Texas. That's big every year regardless of when it is played or where it is played. It's always big when you play a team the caliber of North Texas. It's not just us they have been beating. They have won 25 straight conference games and anytime you play them you know it's going to be a challenge. They have confidence of winning and they know how to win. Somebody has to take that away from them at some point."
OL Marcus Gates
On already playing a game compared to North Texas not playing
"I think it's an advantage. We have to fight to correct our mistakes from [Alabama]. We're beat up and a little sore, but this is our conference rival and we want to play mistake-free, an almost perfect game."
On the offense focusing on the running game
"We want to be a balanced offense, unselfish, and focus on the run to gain more yards."
On having a big crowd for Saturday's game
"It's an edge to have a big crowd. It can affect your offensive checks and sometimes make you go to a silent count, and that can be a big plus for the home team."
On the close games with North Texas
"It seems like every time we play there are close calls, and we have to execute on offense and defense and be ready to make the play when we need it at the end of the game. The team with the fewest mistakes will win. We have to be prepared to make the play and help us to victory.
"When I got here, I think some of the players felt like the  game was a fluke loss, but then it got real serious when they beat us my freshman  year. This game can make or break your season. It's a big game and we'll have to be on our P's and Q's to come away with a win. I've had a lot of anticipation and nervousness and anxiety about this season, and I'm excited for this week's game.
"They have a good, bonified running back, and a lot of playng defense against that is positioning. The fact we haven't seen [North Texas] on film makes it a little tougher, but we have to trust our coaches making changes throughout the game."
On having a big crowd for Saturday's game
"We want to know that people have our backs through thick and thin, and a big crowd really makes us play better."
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