Weekly football press luncheon quotesOctober 18, 2005 · MT Media Relations
HEAD COACH ANDY MCCOLLUM
What is it about this series that makes for so many great games?
"It's always been a big game, whether here or there. It is two programs striving to get better and they have a lot of great athletes. It's always been a great challenge for us."
Talk about the improvement your team has made defensively.
"I think when you talk about defense, you look at the experience on that side of the ball. We took some shots with our secondary last eyar with three freshman starting and now they are a year older. I think the addition of (assistant coaches) Art Kaufman and coach Jones has helped and fit well with Mark Criner and Kevin Fouquier. We have really stressed not giving up the big plays and we've been fortunate with that."
How involved are you in the defense?
"I'm involved in every aspect in this program. I hire people to coach my philosophy and what I believe in."
Keys to the game?
"Turnovers will play a big part. Any time you go into a game you go in stopping the run. They do a great job offensively. They are very explosive. Both of their quarterbacks can run and throw. It's a big challenge."
You are coming home with back-to-back wins and a chance to get back to .500. Do you think that will help get another big crowd in the stadium, like against North Texas?
"We have had great fans on the road. I think we had more than FAU had last week. When you talk about getting them back we haven't had a lot of fans jump off. We have great fans and I hope we have a good crowd this week. These kids have worked hard and now we are coming home and I hope our fans create another edge for us."
On the Middle Tennessee running game.
"Eugene Gross has grown up. I think our offensive line has set the tone, number one. Gross is running physical, breaking tackles, he's running inspired and that's what you have been waiting on from Eugene. I couldn't be more proud of Ralph King. He's overcome adversity and this team needed him Saturday (against FAU) and he stepped up for us. What a confidence it is for him and for our football team."
Louisiana-Lafayette is 0-2 in the Sun Belt and people thought they would be 2-0 at this point so does this show how unpredictable this league is?
"It's still Louisiana-Lafayette and that's who we are getting ready to play. Our kids are not looking at their record or what they have done. They see the tape and realize what a challenge this is in front of us."
QB CLINT MARKS
What are you memories of this series against Louisiana-Lafayette?
"I remember the last two have been very close and extremely competitive. Last year came down to the last play and we also have had a four-overtime game, as I remember. We have to prepare for a good game and eliminate the mistakes that have hurt us against them in the past."
Did you see the defensive improvement coming?
"Our defense has done a great job. They have helped us so much, keeping us in games, getting turnovers. It's tough in practice going against them in practice.They make it hard on us and that's a good thing."
You are use to throwing it 35 or 40 times a game, if not more. What was it like running it more than 50 times last week at FAU?
"Since last season I just said I want to win and whatever it takes is fine with me. I don't care if we have to run it 50 times a game to get the job done. Our tailbacks did a great job and our offensive line is doing well. A running game is the quarterback's best friend. I take my hat to the eoffensifve line, as well as our backs. I'm happy for them."
DL DEVARICK SCANDRETT
What are your impressions of the Louisiana-Lafayette offense?
"Babb is a big and fast quarterback. We have to contain him and our defensive line has to step up to the challenge. He is a very elusive. They are capable of doing some things to our defense that we wouldn't like so we have to work hard this week and get ready for a good offense. They have balance on offense and that makes it tough."
What is the biggest difference on the defense this season?
"We have had different defensive coordinators and changes. Most of all we wanted to come together as a complete unit. We have defensive goals and we have tried to meet them. I think we are well-coached on that side of the ball. We have tried to meet our goals. Number one, we didn't want let teams to run the ball on us."
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