Quotes from Tuesday's football press conferenceOctober 25, 2005 · MT Media Relations
HEAD FOOTBALL COACH ANDY MCCOLLUM
On whether the game at Florida International will be played this weekend due to Hurricane Wilma?
I talked to coach (Don) Strock this morning and he said it's like a war zone down there right now, probably the worst they have been hit in a long time. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those families, number one. We will play it by ear. We will prepare as though we are playing. I know the athletic directors at each school have been in contact and they will do what is best."
Has moving the game to Middle Tennessee been discussed as an option?
"I really don't know but, then again, we haven't played very well at home so I don't know whether that needs to be an option anyway. I think we would rather go on the road right now. Seriously, playing at home has always been a strength and we have not played well at home this year. We need to play better at home."
What is your impression of Florida International's offense?
"They are explosive. They have very fast receivers, big tight ends, and they throw it around a lot. It looks like they are getting better on defense. They are not giving up a lot of points. They have improved every game."
How well did you know Don Strock before FIU joined the conference and how well do you know him now?
"I watched him as a player and respected him as a player. I respect what he has done in this profession. I had the chance to meet him during our Sun Belt meetings and he's a first-class guy, great guy to be around. I talked to him this morning about their situation and their families. Sometimes we forget there is so much more to it than just a football game."
On the Middle Tennessee's offensive ineffectiveness.
"This last week we had too many lost yardage plays. They blitzed us pretty good and we didn't handle it very well. We didn't handle it up front. Protection is not just the offensive line, it's the backs, it's the quarterback getting it out. The thing about the (Louisiana-Lafayette) loss, we only had the one turnover but it was a critical one when we were driving the ball. We are not finishing drives. We have to do that and we have to make good decisions. We are still looking for that game-breaker. We still have some young guys, only one senior starting on offense right now."
How much did the penalties hurt last weekend?
"We had three stupid penalties that had nothing to do with the play and that's what hurts you. We had a couple guys who haven't played a lot that did that and then a couple you just ask, "Why?" and that's the tough part of it. Does that go back to coaching? I don't know. We have never coached a player to hit a player from behind late. We will get that corrected and make sure they know you don't do that. We will build on the positives. We have five games remaining and we can still do some good things with this football team."
DL QUINTON STATON
How have you as players addressed the situation in Miami and whether there will be a game this weekend?
"We are going to let the people in charge make those decisions and determine whether or not we will play, but if we do get to play we are going down there trying to win. We definitely want to go down there and play. After last week's Homecoming loss to Louisiana-Lafayette we have a bad taste in our mouth and we need to get it out."
Can you talk about the penalties last weekend and how they hurt the team?
"We had a lot of foolish penalties that hurt the team in the end. All we can do is learn from our mistakes and get better."
Middle Tennessee has played better on the road than at home. How do you explain that?
"It just seems to me that we have a better focus on the road. It's like us against the world. We try to take care of our business and so far we have."
OL MARCUS GATES
How much do you guys know about whether or not you will play this weekend?
"It's an unknown. We have heard different things but I think we are going to play. We are preparing as though we will play. It's a natural disaster and you can plan for something like that."
Are you pretty eager to get back on the field after last weekend's loss?
"We need to do get back out there. The biggest thing is we have to correct our mistakes and improve on them."
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