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Quotes from today's football press conference

Blue Raiders host Govs at 6 PM Saturday

September 7, 2010 · Athletic Communications

Middle Tennessee Head Football Rick Stockstill

Opening Comments:We look forward to playing Austin Peay this weekend. We took Saturday and Sunday off, but got back to work Monday. There was no school, so we got to work a little earlier and finished sooner.

On what quarterback Logan Kilgore needs to improve upon from the first game to the second game: We want him to improve on his decision making process. That is not to say he made poor decisions, but there were a few mental mistakes that were the result of trying to do too much. I thought he threw the ball well. For the most part he made some good decisions, but we can always improve and get better. He stayed poised and did not panic.

On solidifying the starters at the kickoff return position: You would like to settle in a little bit. Rod (Issac) was back there a couple times, but had to be substituted some because Minnesota was coming off long drives and you have to spell him to keep him fresh. We will stick with Philip Tanner as our primary returner starting out. He will get most of the repetitions this week in practice. Depending on how Phillip does, we will play it by ear as far as him or Rod returning for us.

To say Malcolm's fumble does not affect your decision making as a coach to use someone as a returner is not true. But we are not going to put him on the shelf because he had the fumble. I have a lot of confidence in Malcolm. He made a mistake and tried to extend the ball, but he is still a good player for us.

On Austin Peay's kick returner Terrence Holt: He is a good player and returner. He could be play at a lot of schools. He is a really dynamic returner.

On being under-sized against Austin Peay's offensive line: Austin Peay has a big offensive line, but the disparity is not like it was against Minnesota. We should match-up better against Austin Peay. We will be smaller than most teams we play. Once we get into conference, we should be more even. In the Minnesota game, the size disparity was so glaring.

On opening up the offensive playbook for quarterback Logan Kilgore: We went in with an offensive plan to take the ball out of his hands early in the game. We will always run screens early, because it gets the defense moving and tiring them out. If I had known the flow of the game better and known we would only get 40 snaps, I would have had him throwing the ball down the field a series earlier. I have confidence in Logan and we will run our offense to give us the best chance we have to win the game.

On the Middle Tennessee rushing offense running for 6.6 YPC against Minnesota: I felt the strength of our team coming into the season was our running game. Phillip (Tanner) played well for a bit last year before getting hurt. Benny (Cunningham) had a great summer and fall camp and is progressing well. D.D. (Kyles) had a good year last year. We have three really strong running backs and when our offensive line is healthy, we can be really effective. Phillip is expected to play well no matter who we play.

On playing a smaller program after playing Minnesota: We talked about it Friday and talked about it yesterday. You have 13 games and we have 12 left, so you have to give it everything each time you go out on the field. We are going to get their best shot, but they are going to get our best shot. We will be ready to go mentally, physically, and emotionally for this game because it is the next game. There is no sense dwelling on the Minnesota game. We will fix the mistakes we made and play a better game against Austin Peay. The most important game of the season is the game this week.

On turnovers against Minnesota: You hope you create turnovers. We did not do it. Give Minnesota credit, they protected the ball. They were primarily a conservative team and do not take a lot of chances. When teams do that, it is harder to get turnovers. We have to do a better job of forcing turnovers, it is something we preach. I am more concerned about the turnovers we had, because that is what we control. I am more disappointed we did not protect the ball.

Senior running back Philip Tanner

On the history between Austin Peay and Middle Tennessee: The coaches missed that in the scouting report. We just take it as another game on the schedule.

On improvement between game one to game two in Stockstill's team at Middle Tennessee: You get the jitters out between game one and game two. When you are going through camp, you cannot wait to get to the first game. Your adrenaline gets so high that sometimes you make mental errors or mistakes. For a lot of guys it is their first time playing a division one football game.

On doubling as the running back and starting kickoff returner: I enjoy returning kicks. Special players play on special teams. Whether it is me or Malcolm (Beyah) or Benny (Cunningham) we are excited to be on special teams.

On playing his first game since being injured for the 2009 season: It was exciting, nervous, anxious everything wrapped into one because I had sat out for so long. No matter how well you play in practice you wonder if you can still do it in the game. After the first series you start to loosen up and realize you can still play this game. It was a humbling experience to get back on the field because you never know when your last play will be.

On 2010 expectations after playing Minnesota: Expectations are still the same. We want to win an outright conference title and go to the New Orleans Bowl. I told coach I felt better this year after the first game than I did last year after the first game. We took out things we need to work on and things we need to improve upon. Minnesota is over with now, we are focused on Austin Peay.

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