Raiders preparing for first road game

Saturday's kickoff is 6 PM at the Liberty Bowl

September 11, 2012 · @MTAthletics

HEAD COACH RICK STOCKSTILL: We are coming off a good win last week against Florida Atlantic. I thought we made some improvement from the first week to the second, and we need to make that same improvement against Memphis. We are playing a team that has lost two tough games in the last two weeks, late in the game, but I think Memphis is a much-improved football team on both sides of the ball, and in the kicking game. 

Their offense is led by a transfer quarterback from Texas Tech, and he made a lot of improvement from the first game to the second. They have a really big offensive line that is equally good in the running game and the passing game. Memphis has always had big wide-receivers and they've got some this year, too.
On defense, they are a little unorthodox. They are all over the place. They will stand their front up, and then move them around. They are constantly moving at the snap of the ball. They've got two really good inside players, and their linebackers are athletic and can run.

(On playing an in-state team): Any time you play an in-state team, it enhances the excitement of the game a little more than if you were playing someone from out of state. It's an important game and it's a critical game because it's the next one on our schedule. We understand the importance of playing an in-state team.
Memphis is a completely different team this year than they were a year ago, but they do have a lot of the same players. Still, it changes how the coaches and players have to prepare. They have had three different coaches come thru there, as well as different players. They have had transfers coming in, and players graduating, but it is still Memphis.

(Do you see any similarities in the way Memphis is trying to rebuild their program, and the way you are doing it here?) I am sure that there are some similarities. I have no idea what Coach Fuente is going through. 

What do you expect from them on the offensive side of the ball? They will do what they did at TCU. It's a four-wide shotgun spread, no-huddle, and they'll try to up-tempo you. They are basically what TCU was when he was there.

(On ULM beating Arkansas): Monroe had a great win; they beat Arkansas on the road. It is a credit to their players and their coaches, and just shows you that you had better be ready to play every Saturday. The SEC and the ACC are scheduling us, and we all know why, but they'd better be ready to play us when the whistle blows.

Quarterback Logan Kilgore
On playing an in-state rival: I think in-state rival games are competitive and high energy. We're definitely excited coming off a win and ready to get back out there and prepare.

On last week's win: It was big. Any time you win a college football game it's big, but I think being able to build on that is crucial. There is so much work that goes into preparing each week that it's nice to see it pay off. It gives guys encouragement to keep preparing and keep doing the little things.

On facing a changed Memphis defense: They just give you so many looks that we've really got to do a good job in practice and our scout team has to do a good job of getting us prepared for those looks. In practice, as long as we keep executing our game plan and our assignments, that stuff will take care of itself.

On familiarity with Memphis: Memphis is kind of different because it will be my third time starting against them. They were my first road game, I've played in that stadium and I know what to expect out there. They're still going to bring wrinkles, but as long as our scout team does a good job then I feel like we're ready for almost any situation.

On pre-snap responsibilities: What Coach (Buster) Faulkner does is give you a little bit, and after you prove yourself to be able to make correct decisions, he gives you more responsibility. I think, getting some games last year, although it wasn't the same offense, but getting some games last year started to build our relationship throughout the spring and fall camp and leading into this year. I am just trying to do whatever I can to help the team be successful.

On game tempo: That's the beauty of playing offense—you have the snap count on your side. If we want to go fast, we'll go fast. If we want to slow things down and get a read, we'll be able to do that. Coach Faulkner has given me the ability to speed up or slow down whenever I feel we need to.

On running backs corps: I have so much confidence in those guys. I love their attitude. Jeremiah Bryson, Drayton Calhoun, and Jordan Parker have all brought confidence and eagerness to practice every single day. They all may have a little bit different style, but it's not like we call different plays for each back. I think we could call the same play for all three guys and it would look like three separate plays to the defense just because of who is running. If Benny (Cunningham) gets healthy, or if we have any of those three guys, I'm excited for who is in the backfield.

Defensive End Omar McClendon
On difference between Game 1 and Game 2: I believe the energy was different. That whole week before the game, we were a lot more intense in practice and guys were a lot more focused on the little things. Guys were more focused on doing their job and not knocking the senses out of someone. Guys know that if they do their job, the person next to them will do theirs as well.

On hype over the offseason: We're kind of young on defense, and the first game is always going to be a learning experience, for the older and younger guys. We just needed to learn from our mistakes.

On turnovers during second game: I believe it's starting to get back to the way we used to be—in that we're trying to create more takeaways. We're going to be physical up front and in the back.

On importance of Memphis game: It's always a big game if you're playing an in-state school. They're only three and a half hours down the road and we see a lot of people walking around, even in this area, with Memphis clothes on. It's a lot closer than some people realize, and I know they are excited and so are we.

On building momentum off the win: It was a big win. Any conference win, or really any win is a big win. That was last week though, and we're focused on Memphis this week and trying to get another win.

On Memphis starting from scratch: It will be like any other team—a lot of film study and going over a lot of different formations and plays in practice. We don't approach it any differently than any other team we play.

Friend of the Blue Raiders? Like us on Facebook and become part of the True Blue army today.