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Team gets back on practice field today

September 28, 2010 · Athletic Communications

Middle Tennessee Head Coach Rick Stockstill

Opening Comments: I was proud of our effort last week at Louisiana-Lafayette. The difference in the game was we executed better and did not have the turnovers as in past games. We created a couple of turnovers, which was very important in setting up the tone of the game. Our guys played fast on both sides of the ball and we were good in the kicking game. The players performed at a high level and I thought we played better as a team. I'm proud of the effort and looking forward to Tuesday's game against Troy.

On getting Dwight Dasher adjusted to game speed after sitting out the first four games on the season: Some of it you can only get from playing in a game. We have two extra days of practice this week, so he will get enough reps. It is hard to simulate everything in practice like you can in a game. We will do some more team stuff earlier in the week that we normally don't due but with a couple extra days of practice we can afford to spend the extra time.

It is not like he has not been out there and this is his first time back on the field. Our players have confidence in him. He has been practicing with us throughout this process. The rest of the team will be glad to get him out there because this is what we were going to start the season with anyway. He cannot go out there and try to be Superman. He has good players around him and he must play within the system.

On the impact of the Middle Tennessee-Troy game on the rest of the Sun Belt season: I do not know if you can say it will impact who wins the league. It did last year. This year, we are 1-0 and they are 1-0. It definitely puts the winner of this game, a game up. It is a long season with a lot of conference games left. If you win it, you cannot put it in your bag and say you will win the conference. There are a lot of league games left. Last year it went down to the last game. It is an important game on the schedule just like all the league games are during the course of a season. Whoever wins it has a leg up in the conference race.

On motivation from Troy winning the previous two meetings between the schools: There is nothing we can do about it. They have beaten us the last few years and we cannot do anything about that. We are motivated to win this game because it is the next game. You cannot look at last year's game and say we have to beat them. We must get ready to play this game. Both teams are different from a year ago. I do not look at past losses as a motivating factor.

On Troy's top wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan: He is a really good receiver. You have to try to limit his catches as much as you can. They are going to get him the ball, but you must keep him in front of you. You cannot let him get the big play. He is very dangerous with the ball in his hands.

On Middle Tennessee's linebackers: I think they are performing okay. They are getting better with each game. They are not a finished product, by far. They are getting better each week and that is a good sign.

On Troy's success at quarterback, is it a system or just good players: They have had really good quarterbacks. You can have whatever offensive philosophy and system you want, but if you do not have good players, you are not going to execute it. I am not a big believer in a player being a product of the system. Good players make the system successful. I give those players the credit more than the system.

On the team's excitement for the "Blackout" game: Our players get excited about wearing the black uniforms. It gives our fan base and students a reason to get dressed up. There is added excitement and juice to it, but it does not make you play any better. You do not run faster or tackle better because you wear black uniforms.

On Dwight Dasher's struggles when playing Troy: He has not played well against them. His freshman year he was hurt and was not really a factor in the game. In his sophomore year he was in and out of the lineup behind Joe Craddock and did not play well when he was in the game. And last year he simply had a bad game. That position has got to play better for us to have a chance to win.

On fans coming to the blackout game: I think our fans will come. Having a seven o'clock start will help give people the time to make it to the game. Students have class on Wednesday and Thursday, so they cannot get out too early. Why would you not come? It's two good teams on national television and the atmosphere will be great.

Running Back Phillip Tanner

On the "Blackout" game: Like coach said, we get fired up to wear the black jerseys, but it does not make you run faster or tackle better. It gives our fans something to get excited about.

On teams around the country wearing black: In this day and age, we like flashy. We tend to think, if you look good, you play well. Our color is blue, but sometimes it is fun to throw a little glitch in it. It is becoming trendy in college football. It all has to do with fashion.

On the team's mentality with quarterback Dwight Dasher back in the lineup: The team's mentality will be a little different. The way we play will not be different. Everyone is excited Dwight Dasher is back but it will take a total team effort to win the game.

On the Palladium Trophy: I saw it in 2006. It is just another game. We do not think of the Palladium Trophy. We want the conference trophy.

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