Quotes from today's football press luncheon

Raiders host hot Red Wolves Saturday

November 15, 2011 · Athletic Communications
COACH RICK STOCKSTILL: Arkansas State is an excellent football team. They are experienced, very fast, and physical on defense. Offensively, they present a lot of problems. They’ll change formations, they’ll change tempos, and they’ll go from two-back, to one-back, to no-back throughout the game. So we need to make sure we prepare well defensively.

Their quarterback (Ryan Aplin) is playing well. He’s really a lot better runner than what people may give him credit for. He is a big guy who throws an excellent ball, and has some excellent wide receivers. Up front, they have a very physical offensive line.

Defensively, they are going to bring pressure. They mix up enough man and zone coverage to keep you off balance. The strength of their defense is their front seven, and they are very experienced with three seniors in the back end of it.

STOCKSTILL ON ISSUES SURROUNDING FIRST QUARTER: At Monroe, we miss a tackle on the opening kickoff and if we get the guy down, the defense starts on their 25 instead of our 38. They take it down and score. We take the kickoff and quickly move to their side of the 50, and then turn it over. We gave up a deep ball, and a long run, and next thing you know, you’re down 28-0.

At that point, your confidence is down, you are rattled a little bit, you’ve turned the ball over twice and defensively, you haven’t been able to stop them. I am proud of the way that our guys are competing and playing hard, it’s just that we are not playing very smart right now. That has as much to do with it as anything.

We’ve had turnovers on offense and missed assignments on defense, and you just can’t do that against the people we have been playing.

STOCKSTILL ON PROTECTING THE FOOTBALL: We have to do a better job of protecting the football. When you have a double pass and your receiver is wide open for a touchdown, you have to catch the ball. You can’t drop it. When you are running the ball, you have to have the ball secured. You can’t let it get away from your body where a hand can get in there and knock it out. When you throw the ball, and the corner sinks, throw it to the guy underneath him and not try to force it in there. To me, those are things that are all correctible, that we have to get corrected to give ourselves a chance.

Defensively, we are playing a lot of young guys over there, it’s the first time they’ve played, and they are seeing a fast-ball every snap. Sometimes they don’t blink and they get lined up right, but sometimes they blink and they don’t get lined up right, and that’s when you give up big plays. We need to do a better job of coaching and making sure they understand the importance of ball security (one) and (two) not having as many missed assignments. We are not having as many missed assignments as we had last week, and we didn’t have as many last week as we did the week before, so our guys are getting better, it’s just not showing up on the scoreboard because we are turning the ball over so much.

On ULM rushing the ball: We expect teams to try and establish the run because that’s been our weakness this year. We were put in bad field position last week but I don’t believe that’s an excuse for them to punch it in like they did. We should have been more disciplined on defense as a whole.

On adjustments during the game: Most of the time we can adjust during the game. Our coaches are always asking for feedback when we come off the field. Sometimes the players don’t know exactly what happened on the field, so that’s when we lean on our coaches for the adjustments.

On leading the defense: You just try to be positive and show encouragement. They all know we’ve made mistakes. I just feel like you have to make sure their heads are up and there will be more plays to make later on and we will make them.

On team’s mood: We just have to get out of our slump. We still have confidence but we’re young and we have to keep our heads up and go out and get a couple wins here at the end of the season.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.