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Stockstill talks about upcoming game at Memphis

September 14, 2010 · Athletic Communications

Middle Tennessee Head Coach Rick Stockstill

Opening Comments: This is an exciting weekend for us. We are coming off a good win against Austin Peay and we have a big in-state game with Memphis. Yesterday's practice was good and I am looking forward to getting started on today's practice. Memphis is a lot better team than the scores have indicated from their first two games this year. They have some really good players on both sides of the ball and it should be a nice challenge for us.

On offensive line: On the best teams I have ever been apart of, the offensive line has been the best part of the offense. Coming into this season, I thought we had the potential to be a really good offensive line. We have not been at full strength the first two games and we will not be at full strength this week. Alex (Stuart) is out, Preston Bailey missed yesterday and will not go today in practice and Brandon McLeroy is banged up but should be able to go on Saturday.

Our running backs Phillip (Tanner) and Benny (Cunningham) have done a really good job in protection, while the quarterbacks have been getting the ball out quickly. If you do that, you are going to do a good job avoiding sacks. I said it at the beginning of the season, I am confident in our offensive line and after two games, I have not been disappointed yet.

On continuing offensive success: I told our team this week that Memphis will be the best team we have played so far. They present challenges we have not faced yet. It will be a tough hard fought game, which is what we like. We have to prepare ourselves mentally and physically for a tough game.

On defensive game plan against Memphis to get more quarterback sacks: The two teams we have played have been max protection teams. So it is more difficult to get sacks. Our schemes each week are relevant to what offense we play each week. We have to get a lot better in some areas on defense. I hope we do that this week.

On Memphis' offensive line and problems they have had to this point: East Carolina forced Memphis to be one dimensional. They got in front of Memphis early and forced them to throw the football. There is not a lot on the film that is useful in showing something you can really focus on to have specific success from Memphis' game against ECU.

On the amount of turnovers after two games: Turnovers are the thing I am most upset about from the first two games. Interceptions will happen. Balls will get tipped and then get picked off. So you cannot get mad at every interception. What bother me are the fumbles. This is all fundamentals. We have to do a better job of protecting the football from a fumble standpoint.

On playing an in-state opponent such as Memphis from C-USA: Anytime a Sun Belt team plays a Conference USA team it is a good measuring stick for your program. They have five bowl bids while we only have two. This is our chance to say our conference is as good as your conference. With the New Orleans Bowl matching a Sun Belt team and a Conference USA team it creates rivalry.

On QB Dwight Dasher: There has been dialogue this week, but we are still in limbo. We do not know anything else at this time. Hopefully, we will hear something very soon.

Senior Running Back Phillip Tanner

On the team's rushing success: The offense has been doing a solid job of running the football, but we just do what the coaches tell us to do. I have to give credit to the offensive line. They are an experienced group that is playing really well together and getting better with every snap.

On offensive line depth: Our line is deep and they can play different positions. Colin Boss can play center as well as guard. Alex Stuart can play guard as well as center. It helps when guys can move positions and still be successful.

On the increased attendance at previous Memphis games: It is an in-state game. We have a lot of fans from Memphis. Just by being an in-state game fans get excited, but as a team we take it as the next game on the schedule.

On the changing quarterbacks: In camp I was working mostly with Dwight (Dasher) or Logan (Kilgore), so I did not get many reps with Jeff (Murphy). They are all fighters. No matter how many mistakes they make, they are going to work hard and lead their team. All three of them are great leaders and are going to do what they can to put their team in position to win.

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