Sept. 15, 2009
"Looking at the game film from last week I thought our players fought very hard. With the momentum change in the game, they came back and that game could have very easily been lost, but our kids really showed some character and were able to pull out a win against a good James Madison team. That team will win a lot of games this year. They had great team speed."
On Middle Tennessee State:
"One of the things I am concerned about with Middle Tennessee State this week is their team speed. They run very, very well, especially defensively, and offensively too.
On the Middle Tennessee State defense:
"They have lot of returning people, not necessarily starters but people who did play last year. They have two guys that we are concerned about. Jamari Lattimore has very good speed off the edge. He is a very good pass rusher, and was very active against us last year. And inside, Dwight Smith - a defensive tackle. They lost their linebackers but they have Danny Carmichael as a middle linebacker and he is back. He is an excellent player who played very well against us last year. And a newcomer, Cam Robinson has played very well in the last two games. I believe he has 12 tackles. In the secondary, three out of four are back. They are very good and they run very well. Alex Suber is a short corner who kind of reminds me of (Syd'Quan Thompson) from Cal. He is an excellent player and played well against us last year. They are an exciting defense. They flip quite a bit and run very well, so that is a concern of ours."
On the Middle Tennessee State offense:
On the Middle Tennessee State special teams:
"They have a young offensive line, three sophomores and two juniors, but they are very solid. They lost their running back (Phillip Tanner). Replacing him is D.D. Kyles, who has great speed and will really test us on the perimeter. They will play four or five wide receivers, which concerns us because we are down (Jamari) McCollough and (Nolan) Carroll in the secondary. That is really going to tax our nickel and dime personnel. Their quarterback (Dwight Dasher) is a guy to be reckoned with. He's an excellent athlete, a very good runner and an excellent passer. He had a very good game against Memphis last week. He's a guy we really need to control."
"The punter (David DeFatta) has a 38-yard average. He's a directional punter and also a rugby-style punter. The place-kicker is Alan Gendreau. He's very consistent. He's 38-for-38 in PATs and he's only kicked one field goal this year but he's 1-for-1. The punt returner is Patrick Honeycutt. He's a wide receiver as well. And their kick returner is Desmond Gee who was a running back last year and moved to wide receiver this season. He is the career kickoff leader for Middle Tennessee."
On the spread offense of Middle Tennessee State:
"We have some concerns because they are going make it a wide open game especially with the formations with three wideouts on one side and two on the other or two and two. They have a tight end that is 190 pounds that is basically another wide receiver. That concerns me quite a bit."
On the spread offense similarities between Middle Tennessee and James Madison:
"It is an adjustment but I think it will help us. Even though this spread team is different than last week's. I think last week they were more inside zone read and this team is more outside zone read. That doesn't mean they can't run the inside zone read, they haven't done it, but they could do it, so you have to be ready for that. The other thing is they do a lot of power stuff and both of them utilize the quarterback as a runner. But James Madison used a tight end as a lead blocker and they haven't done that at Middle Tennessee. I think what you will see is a lot of up tempo. JMU is no huddle but it's a slow no huddle. Middle Tennessee is a fast no-huddle."
On the lack of forcing turnovers:
"I think there are two things we need to do better on defense. First off, I think we need to tackle better. We allowed two or three long runs and we were in position but we just didn't make the tackle. The other thing is the one-on-one pass rush. It's almost like the guys are afraid to make a mistake. We don't play with the recklessness that I see at practice. You have to be disciplined but you also have to be ready to beat guy your man on man. I know we can do better than what we've done with that."
On Chris Turner and getting hit in James Madison game:
"I think James (Franklin) wants to involve him in the running game. The play he made for the touchdown wasn't a designed run. He was going to throw the ball and the guy got in the lane. I don't think a year ago Chris would have done that. I was very impressed with the way he hit the goal line with that. He's a tough kid, but he doesn't give you that tough demeanor. But I've seen him take shots and hang right in there and make the throw. I think he's added those elements to his game that has really helped the rest of the team. I think it adds another dimension to our offense. But obviously you don't want to get him hurt, like you don't want any of our other players to get hurt. We're playing to win and we are going to do what we have to do to win."
On the progression of the offensive line:
"I actually thought our offensive line played better against Cal than they did James Madison. We played a lot of (different players). That's a good thing. But I think we have to play better than what we did. We protected okay, probably a little bit better than at Cal, but I didn't think we ran the offense the way we should have. I think we can play better and we need to continue to play better. I know it's not going to happen overnight. You need to hang with these kids. You need to tell them what they are doing wrong and be encouraging. You can't get down on them. A lot of these guys are going to get better and it's just a matter of time."
On Nolan Carroll and the defense:
"I called Nolan Sunday morning after he was operated on Saturday night. He's doing fine. It's a real shame because Nolan broke the same leg in high school. Travis Ivey threw his helmet on the play which could have been a penalty and the coaches were kind of upset with him, but Travis saw Nolan hurt and he was reacting to Nolan being hurt and not anything in the play itself. I think there is a tremendous amount of feeling for Nolan on the team and obviously, not only is Nolan very well liked, but he is very well respected. I think it was a rallying point to come back when they knew Nolan was done. I talked to Nolan on Sunday about when he gets out of the hospital that he is still captain of this football team and he needs to continue his leadership role. And he said he would definitely do it."
On Middle Tennessee contest being a `revenge game':
"I think our kids want to win this game for what happened last year. If they don't, I don't know what's going through their veins. That was a game that could have been very similar to last Saturday. I brought the point up yesterday to our team. We threw an interception there and we didn't answer back but we did Saturday (versus James Madison). I thought that was a positive. What they need to understand is that last Saturday is over. We need to worry about this Saturday. We need to have a very good week of practice and get ready to go and keep getting better. But yes, I think our players are very motivated by that."
On Saturday's game against Middle Tennessee:
"Everybody's pretty excited. Our young guys got some experience now. They've played at home a little bit and that's different than playing on the road. Everybody's ready to go. We have a tough opponent coming in and everyone's focused on that."
On how they are preparing for Middle Tennessee:
"I think adjusting. They're a different type of team than what we're use to playing. They're smaller; they're quicker. You have to adjust the styles and game plans and things of that nature, but I think we made some strides yesterday and we have to keep going."
On the defensive ends getting more pressure on the quarterback:
"We just have to keep working. I think that last week we definitely had a strong week of practice. We did a lot better. But it's definitely on us to get more pressure on the quarterbacks. Looking over our stat sheet, we only had two hurries last game. It's not just me and Deege (Galt), everyone has to do their part and we all have to work harder."
On any doubts of the team's capabilities after two games:
"Personally - no. The team - definitely not. We know what we're capable of. Obviously, the first week didn't go the way we wanted it to. We pulled out a win in the second game, which is really all that matters. We see improvement every day. The biggest thing we see is that when we go back to the tape, mistakes that are happening are mistakes that can be fixed."
On getting ready for Middle Tennessee:
"The last few games kind of helped us out. We're not worried about last year. It's a new team this year, so we're not going to worry about last year. We need every game from here on out. Middle Tennessee is a big game for us. We need to get it."
On Middle Tennessee:
"They're a great team when they execute what they do. They're a fast-paced team, and I think it's going to be a very good challenge for us this week."
On the challenges Middle Tennessee presents defensively:
"They have a good linebacking corps. They have a corner, (Alex Suber), who is pretty good. I remember him from last year. He's quick and explosive. They blitz and have some playmakers out there."
On Coach Friedgen's expectations:
"Coach Friedgen has a lot of faith in me both on and off the field, and I just have to pick it up and make as many plays as I can to help us win. I just need to take advantage of the opportunities when they call my name, and that's what I try to do every snap."