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Raiders hold spirited Friday practice

Team holds last workout at Saints facility

December 18, 2009 · Athletic Communications

QUOTES FROM TODAY'S BOWL PRACTICE
Chris McCoy on blocking kicks:
We know they have given up a few blocked kicks so we are going to go and try to block another one, but we go out every game trying to get blocks.

  • Photos: Friday Practice Gallery

    Chris McCoy on extra pressure to perform in bowl game: No, I am just going to play the game the way it is supposed to be played. No pressure.

    Marcus Udell on special teams: Special teams will be a factor in everything. Field position is very important. We have to try to pin them as close to their territory as we can to make them have to work that much harder.

    Marcus Udell on blocking kicks: Every time they kick for an extra point we will be trying to get it. We are trying to dominate every phase of special teams and offense and defense. We are trying to win the game. We have worked hard to get here so we might as well is the way we are looking at it.

    Marcus Udell on being one of the nation's leaders in interceptions: My goal is to get two picks this game. They have a really good receiver, Bryan, and I have watched film on him and their quarterback. They throw the ball a lot so I will have a number of opportunities to make some plays. My individual goal is to lead the country in interceptions and the ultimate goal is to win the game.

    Marcus Udell on beginning of bowl game: I think everyone is jacked up to play because we are really excited. The city of New Orleans, the Sheriff's department, the Saint's and everyone else has treated us really well and we are just really excited to play. Everyone is a little anxious. I have a couple of friends on their team and I got to meet up with them last night and kick it a little bit but everyone is pretty much ready to play. Everyone is ready to play. They are excited about the game and to play in the Saint's dome that's exciting in itself. To be 9-3 and be here makes me happy. Everyone is ready to get to kickoff and ready to play.

    Rick Stockstill on practice schedule: What we will do is a little bit more than we would normally do on a Thursday practice. We don't do a scale on Thursdays but today we are going to do 10 minutes of scale but everything else will be normal. We are going to do the scale just to get out here and sweat and no other reason than I think we need to get 10 extra minutes of work in.

    Rick Stockstill on player anxiety: I don't know if it is anxiety but the sense that it is game time and getting closer to the game. I think they are starting to sense they have had a good time the two days they have been here. I think as the game is getting closer they are starting to get the anticipation and excitement of playing this game.

    Rick Stockstill on first quarter butterflies: I don't think so. I don't think that will be a factor. We have approached it that yes it is a bowl game but we are not making it into something bigger than it is. We are trying to approach it like we do for any game but I'm sure the excitement and so many of these guys having their first one there will be the normal butterflies.

    Rick Stockstill on Saturday walk thru: It will be like we do on a Friday home game. On Friday's we usually let them run around, break a sweat and do about 20 minutes of team separate. We will do that and then let them catch some deep balls in the dome to get used to the lights and then do some special team drills for the same purpose. A little bit more than a normal home game but more so to get acclimated to the environment.

    Rick Stockstill on blocking kicks: The ones they have missed haven't been blocked. Most of them were miss kicks or a bad snap or hold, something along those lines. We are going to put pressure in the kicking game like we have all year, like we always do. Hopefully, we will continue to have the success we have had this year in the kicking game. Turner is really good. He is averaging 15 yards a return on punts and is a dangerous kickoff guy also. We have to do a good job punting the ball. If we punt the ball well then we have to cover good. David doesn't need to kick a 30-yarder. We have to punt the ball well.

    Rick Stockstill on Saints players: The Saints practiced before us. We were going to have an earlier practice and then they were going to go in the afternoon but they called on Tuesday and changed their schedule to combine today and tomorrow's practice into one. They called and said they were running late which is why we had to wait a few minutes to get in the facility. I was glad we got in here. We saw some of them yesterday in the weight room working out. I think it is good for our guys to see their team running and catching.

    Rick Stockstill on Phillip Tanner: Phillip has done a great job this year. He has done a great job with DD, Benny, and even David Jones and Pratcher. He has done a great job mentoring them. He has a great positive attitude and works on the scout team. He has just done a really good job of helping these young guys come along. He has been here three years, this is his fourth year and is such a team person. He is very unselfish and yes he is disappointed he got hurt and can't play this year but has stepped in and been a positive person for our other players.

    Rick Stockstill on doing too much too soon: I think it is a tremendous step for this program. We were close the second and third years but we had such a long way to go in-between. To me, getting as close as we did I don't think we underachieved but I think we did as well as we could. With the schedule we play, four of those teams out of conference if you don't win them then you have to win seven of eight in conference just to have a winning record. I am proud of this team, these coaches and where this program is. Notre Dame has been to two bowls in four years and so has Middle Tennessee and our program has only been playing 11 years of Division I ball. It is just another step and another block in building the foundation. In looking back, I know we don't have many players who were on the 2006 team but I think that shows to those guys if you do work hard and do what we ask you to do, you have a chance to reap this success. When you take over a program those are your players even if you didn't recruit them. I love everyone on the 2006 team just like I love everyone on this team. I don't get into the these are my guys and all of that mentality.These were my players as soon as I took over the program.

    Rick Stockstill on a bowl win and bowl participant: There are only going to be 34 teams who will say they are bowl champions. I tell them we are going to win this game, prepare to win this game and have fun in that order. It is hard to win bowl games. There are a lot of teams who get to bowls and can't win and there are a lot of teams who get to bowls and win them quite regularly. To say you are New Orleans Bowl Champions or whatever it is that is a special thing. We are here to win and if you get to pick one you would pick the win.

    Bowl Viewing/Listening Party at Fanatics: Fanatics Bar & Grill at the Doubletree Hotel in Murfreesboro will be the site for the official Blue Raider Network/New Orleans Bowl Listening and Viewing Party on Sunday night. Blue Raider Network programming, including the Bell Jewelers Countdown to Kickoff and Raider Wrap-Up Show, will originate from Fanatics beginning at 6:30 p.m. with Thom Abraham, Duane Hickey, and Dick Palmer. Kickoff between Middle Tennessee and Southern Miss is slated for 7:32 p.m. The Fanatics Pre-Game Party kicks off at 6 p.m. with New Orleans-style food and beverage specials including delicious Cajun Gumbo and Creole Crab Dip.

    Bowl Tidbits: When the Blue Raiders arrived at practice today they were able to watch New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and his receivers work on routes for Saturday's game against the Dallas Cowboys. Saints Head Coach Sean Payton even came out to midfield to meet Blue Raider head man Rick Stockstill ... "That was a class act by the New Orleans Saints today," said Les Herrin, defensive line coach. "They did not have to let our kids watch them workout and that says a lot about their organization." ... The Blue Raiders practiced for two hours at the Saints' indoor facility on Friday and their next and last practice before the bowl game will be Saturday morning at the Superdome ... The team will take a team photo to get things started on Saturday.

    Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.