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A Q&A with Rick Stockstill

December 13, 2005 · MT Media Relations
AFTER 24 YEARS AS AN ASSISTANT COACH, HOW DOES IT FEEL TO FINALLY REACH YOUR GOAL OF BECOMING A HEAD COACH?
"I am very excited about it. It is something I have planned for a long time. I think anytime an assistant coach gets in this business he has a goal of becoming a head coach and that has certainly been a goal of mine. I feel like I am well prepared for this and I am excited about the challenges and the opportunity. I want to build Middle Tennessee into a championship program year in and year out, and I am excited about doing that."

HOW HAS IT BEEN WORKING UNDER THE LIKES OF LOU HOLTZ, STEVE SPURRIER, BOBBY BOWDEN, AND TOMMY BOWDEN?
"I have been very fortunate during my career to work with some of the finest coaches in the business. I have been able to learn a lot from each coach I have worked under which has helped me develop ideas on how I want to run a program. I have the opportunity now to rely on my experiences under those guys and have the chance to ask them how to handle certain situations. I have a lot of resources at my disposal and I am very fortunate to have worked with some of the top people in the profession."

WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO MIDDLE TENNESSEE?
"I did a lot of research on Middle Tennessee and I really believe it is a program ready to bust out. It's like sitting on a gold mine because I know we can win here and win big. We have a great University to sell from an academic and football standpoint, and we are in a location to where I feel we can attract top-notch talent. In talking with Chris (Massaro) and Dr. McPhee, I understand where they want this program to be and it is the same vision I have."

WHAT CAN FANS EXPECT TO SEE FROM A RICK STOCKSTILL COACHED TEAM?
"When they leave the stadium I hope they will say that the Blue Raiders played hard for 60 minutes, were disciplined, did not commit a lot of foolish penalties, did not have a lot of missed assignments, and gave great effort on every play. I will stress to our team about playing physical, being tough, showing discipline, and playing with great effort."

A COMMON DENOMINATOR WHEN THE NAME RICK STOCKSTILL IS MENTIONED IS THE FACT YOU ARE A GREAT RECRUITER. WHAT MAKES YOU ONE OF THE NATION'S BEST RECRUITERS?
"I think the big thing in recruiting is building relationships and working hard. Recruiting is like shaving. If you miss a day you will get behind. I take recruiting very personal and will do whatever I can to get that kid to come to Middle Tennessee. But building relationships, gaining trust, and outworking people are the keys to recruiting."

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE FIRST THINGS YOU WILL DO AS HEAD COACH?
"First, I will meet with the team in order to get to know them and let them get to know me. I will also talk to the current staff because I have been in their situation before and it is not an easy situation. At the same time I have to hire a staff, but I will not be in a hurry because I want to make sure I hire the very best staff. I don't want to hire a guy just because he is available today. I want great people who want to be at Middle Tennessee."

CAN YOU BRIEFLY DESCRIBE YOUR OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE PHILOSOPHIES?
"Defensively, I want to be a tough, hard-nosed, physical football team that brings pressure and fakes pressure. One play I want it to look like we are bringing pressure and don't, then look like we are not bringing anybody and send a guy from the corner or up the middle. I want to be a multiple defensive team, but above all I want our guys to play physical, fast, and play hard. Obviously, we have to stop the run first because if you do you give yourself a chance to win ballgames. Offensively, I want to be wide open, spread the field, and control the tempo. I want to control the pace of the game. It will be basketball on grass. I want it fun for our guys to practice, to play, and make it fun for our fans to watch. I want to score touchdowns. I am not into kicking field goals. You win games by scoring touchdowns, so we will take some chances but we will play smart. Hopefully, we will be a balanced team between the run and pass but we will have games when we run it a lot more than we pass it and vice-versa."

FOR THE BLUE RAIDERS WHO DON'T KNOW YOU, DESCRIBE RICK STOCKSTILL BOTH ON AND OFF THE FIELD?
"Off the field, I am a very good person, an honest person, and very easy to talk to. I don't ever put myself above another person. I can sit and talk to anybody and will go anywhere to talk to them. Middle Tennessee is getting a person that is totally committed to his family, and wants to get involved in the community. I will be very visible and accessible to the community. On the field, I hope they see a guy who is well organized, is prepared for this opportunity, and has a staff that is made up of winners and guys who have a burning desire to be successful."

WHAT IS YOUR RECRUITING PHILOSOPHY? WHAT AREAS WILL YOU CONCENTRATE ON?
"We have to start here in the state of Tennessee because there are great coaches and players in this state. I have recruited the Nashville area before and know the quality of coaches that are here in Tennessee. We will evaluate the state first, then branch out to Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. If someone calls us about a great player from an Ohio or Kentucky, then we will go there as well but our base will begin in Tennessee."

WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR MIDDLE TENNESSEE FOOTBALL?
"I am not a patient person so I want to win and I want to win now. My goal is to compete and win the Sun Belt Conference in 2006 and that all starts as soon as I sit down with the team. We want to get better every year, win the league, go to bowl games, and start beating some of the BCS teams. That is my goal. I have a plan to take Middle Tennessee to where it wants to be and if everybody just follows the plan then we will be successful."

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