Raiders preparing for SBC opener

MT-FAU kickoff at 6:02 PM Saturday

September 4, 2012 · @MTAthletics

HEAD COACH RICK STOCKSTILL: This is our opening conference game, and we are excited about it. Florida Atlantic is coming off of a win last week and it is a much different team than we've seen the last couple of years, schematically, and from an athleticism standpoint. Defensively, they've gone from a 3-4 to a 4-3, they play a lot of man coverage, and they come at you, pressuring and blitzing more. 

 Offensively they have abandoned the traditional pro-set where they had a tight end about 90 percent of the time. Now they have gone to the spread, with four wide outs, shotgun, and they don't run the quarterback very often. They have a freshman kicker that looks like he's got a pretty good leg. They have changed some things schematically in the kicking game, with their protection and coverage's. They have added some junior college guys to both sides of the ball that has really enhanced their athleticism and they have seven returning starters on offense and defense. But again, it is about us. I thought we did some things well in that first game, but we also did some things that need to get corrected. We are working on fixing those mistakes so that we will be ready for Saturday. 

FAU has an older, more experienced front on defense, and they are using a lot of nickel personnel in the secondary. It doesn't look like they were handicapped in any way, personnel-wise. They had four receivers in the lineup last week, including one that sat out last season. From a personnel standpoint, it looks like they have everything they need to be effective in their schemes. And they are a faster team, on both offense and defense than they have been the past couple of years. From our standpoint, the problems were mainly execution. We missed a block on the two-yard line that was the difference in a field goal instead of a touchdown. It is about execution, and us controlling what we can control down there. 

WHAT CAN YOU DO IN PRACTICE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN WEEK ONE AND WEEK TWO IN EXECUTION ON OFFENSE AND TACKLING ON DEFENSE?: You go out each day and try to improve, and hopefully get better each day. Sunday was a really physical practice; we spent a lot of time tackling, full-speed tackling, the defense against the scouts, and then the defense against our offense. There was a lot of competition out there between the two teams, and hopefully that will improve our execution on both sides of the ball. I thought we executed really well in the kicking game, except for the mess-up on the punt where it hit our guy. It cost us a possession, it cost us great field position, and ultimately cost us a touchdown because they went in on that drive and scored. That one play, in my opinion, overshadows everything we did well in the kicking game. All of our goals are still out there with the exception of going undefeated. We can still win our conference and that starts this week. We have to get better, individually and as a team, and eliminate our mistakes from last Thursday. 

QB LOGAN KILGORE: We all know that this is the start of conference play this weekend, and we are excited about that. This game is very important. We want to get off to a good start in the conference. I think we are the only league game this week. All we are focused on is FAU, and winning will take care of itself. We want to play this game from start to finish and start the conference off well. 

What is the mood of the team after last week?: You can tell how much everyone has put into this by their reactions, we were hurting, some of the guys had tears in their eyes coming off the field, and I think it is important for us to hurt after a loss like that. We have to put game one behind us and move on. We had a great practice on Sunday, and I think we will have another one today. I felt like we were very efficient against McNeese, despite not having any long plays. We had a 17-play drive when we went down and scored. Starting on the three-yard line takes a lot of focus, and lot of intelligence, and every single guy has to know and carry out their assignments on each play for us to score.

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