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Quotes from today's football press conference

October 15, 2001 · MT Media Relations
McCollum on injury situation after UNT game
Don Calloway is definitely out with his ankle. I would say that Dwone Hicks is questionable right now. Jykine Bradley is questionable, too, but hopefully we'll get both of them back. Jon Barry is out with his knee and for how long I'm not sure about right now.

McCollum on the UNT game
I felt like we had a good week of practice. I know we did. Going into the game I felt we were prepared to play. It shows how important road wins are and how tough road wins are to come by. I would sure like to be talking about an ugly win today coming off the road. North Texas did a good job in the game. They played hard and should be commended. The more plays they made the better they got. They got a few breaks and we couldn't make any breaks. I felt like we were all waiting for someone else to win it for us instead of going out there and winning it ourselves. You can't leave the ball on the ground and we did that four times. The wind was a big factor, but we never took advantage of it. I thought in the second half that our defense gave us a chance to win, but we still had some key third and fourth down plays where we could have gotten off the field and we didn't. I thought as far as execution and effort offensively, it was the worst we have had all year. It has to get corrected and it will. We've got to have a better effort on both sides of the ball. It's over now; we just have to get back to work. The kids are hurt, which they should be, and it's no different from the staff. Now we have to get ready for a good Ole Miss team.

McCollum on a non-conference game in the thick of the conference race
I know this is a great opportunity for us this week. We can get better and go play one of the top teams in the country. We're going to their place, which is a tough place to play, and try and grow up as a team. We have to get people to step up when we have injuries. It is going to be a challenge, but that's one of the reasons you come to Middle Tennessee. You face challenges and have opportunities. We know we have to be as good as we can be. We're going to get on a bus and go play one of the top teams in the SEC.

McCollum on Eli Manning and Ole Miss
All the Mannings are great players, great people, and have great character. What little time I was around Peyton [at Tennessee], his work ethic and everything came through. It comes from their family. Eli fits the offense very well, he makes great decisions, he's very poised, and he's one of the best players in the country. The people around him make him even better. They [Ole Miss] have improved defensively this year. They have a lot of speed defensively and they force you to make plays against them. They are number one in the nation in pass defense. It is going to be a great challenge for us. We are going to have to be as good as we can be to even have a chance. This is where we have to come back and see if we can put a complete game together with offense, defense, and special teams. It's time to put a complete game together and hopefully this is the week for us.

McCollum on the Blue Raiders' defensive backfield
We have to be very smart in what we're doing. We need to find a way to get pressure on the quarterback, and not many people have gotten pressure on Manning. We need to help our secondary by getting pressure on the quarterback with our linebackers and defensive front. Then we have to grow up in the secondary. I thought we got a little better last week, but that was a running team. This is a balanced offense, so the biggest thing is to get Middle Tennessee better this week, take care of ourselves first, and know that we're going up against one of the best offenses in the country.

McCollum on moving Michael Woods to safety
I thought it went well. Michael's a natural athlete and I thought he went back there and did a good job against North Texas. He will only get better. It gives him a chance to cover the whole field. He made an interception, which was a big play, and it's the first one that we've had back there. He will only continue to improve and he has a chance to really become a good player for us at safety.

PLAYER QUOTES

Center Glen Elarbee
On Saturday's loss to North Texas: "We didn't play as well as we could have. They had a good defense, but I can only be accountable for myself and my mistakes. I know that I did not play as well as I would have liked. I should have played better. We're not a good enough team to come out and play the way we did and win. We made a lot of mistakes and we can't win if we make mistakes."

On this Saturday's opponent, Ole Miss: "They have a very fast defense, and it's going to be a challenge. From what I've seen on film, they show a lot of different fronts and twists. We've had problems with that in the past from some teams. We have to put helmet on helmet and cover everyone up. We always want to run the ball, and the old adage still applies, the pass is set up by the run. We have the opportunity to prove we can do better than last week."

On preparing for Ole Miss: "We have to work and practice hard this week and focus. We can't play under our ability and have to increase the effort. We've beaten an SEC team this season and have to play the best we can in order to make it happen again."

Safety Michael Woods
On the Ole Miss Offense: "They are very explosive and have outstanding players. Their quarterback will be the best one we have faced this year and he rarely makes mistakes. We have to stay away from mistakes and play our best game in order to have a chance to slow them down. We have to have a great week of practice and get back to playing Blue Raider football."

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