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August 31, 2009Opening Statement:
"It's finally here. We're extremely excited about getting this season kicked off. We're proud of the way our team has prepared. They put in the work and effort that we felt like they needed to at camp. We're anxious to see what kind of football team we're going to field."
Thoughts on Alcorn State:
"From the little bit of film that we have on them, we feel like they have some guys that run. It's obvious off of what they did last year that they play hard. They ran to the ball well and played hard. I know our defense has talked about the quarterback, who they think is a pretty gifted player. Defensively, those guys played hard and you could tell they were coached well. (Their offense was) pretty multiple week-to-week, which has made it pretty difficult to prepare for because right now you're chasing ghosts. You're preparing for everything. When you do that, you're watering down your work because you're preparing for so many different things. We've spent a lot of time talking to our players on both sides of the ball regarding the unknowns that we go into the game. It's going to be how we regroup on the sidelines and how we adjust because it may be a totally different game plan than the one we prepared for. We've got to be able to get over and communicate and we've got to be able to make adjustments without panicking."
Status updates on injured players:
"Korey Williams practiced yesterday and looked pretty good, so I think he'll be back fully recovered. From talking to Damion Fletcher, he felt pretty good. I think we'll be getting close to 100 percent (for the home opener)"
On feelings about home openers:
"I'm looking forward to it. I'm anxious to get out there and see "The Rock" filled up and everyone wearing gold and seeing the fans going crazy. I think our players also are excited about that."
On expectations for the fans and attendance:
"We've got six home games starting with this one. We're pulling for a sellout, just as we will for the next one after that. I think if our team plays the way it should play, we'll create enough excitement to sell the games out each week."
On greatest concerns for the team at this point:
"My biggest concern is probably depth in some places, like the offensive line. I'm a little concerned with the depth of our linebacker crew. Other than that, I feel O.K. There are some unknowns that can cause some anxiety as far as when we get out there, who are we going to be on offense? When we get out there on defense, who are we going to be? There's going to be a different identity this year from last. It will be interesting to find out who we are."
Thoughts on quarterback Austin Davis:
"He is a hardworking kid and he wants to get better each and every day. I don't anticipate there being any problems and he'll just continue to get better and better from where he left off."
On surprise players from the beginning of camp:
"I didn't realize (true freshman) Jamie Collins would be able to come in and handle things the way he has. He's definitely going to play for us in this first game. He's starting on special teams and running No. 2 at the Nickel-back position. He'll definitely be playing in this game. Deron Wilson has really come on as a true freshman playing corner-back that is going to help us. I'm real impressed with what (redshirt freshman) Marcal Robinson has done the past couple of weeks. There are a few guys that I'm excited to see how they react once they get out there in a game situation."
On improvements from the defensive secondary:
"We've really helped ourselves with our Nickel and Dime packages as far as the amount of defensive backs that we can put on the field and still feel very good with who is out there."
On the excitement level of the players:
"You never have a problem getting players excited about the first game. It's been a long time since they've hit anybody with a different color jersey on. They'll be extremely excited to get out there and turn it loose on Saturday. If you have to worry about that in the first game, you've got some worries."
Thoughts about opening the season against an in-state team:
"I really haven't thought about it to be honest with you. You get so few opportunities to play this game in a year in which you work year-round for it. It really doesn't matter. It's just an opportunity to go out there and play the greatest game on Earth and a game that these kids just love. You only get 13 or 14 of them a year so you better enjoy each and every one of them."
Thoughts about personal feelings as a second-yard head coach:
"It's exciting for me because I feel like after having a season under my belt, I'll do a better job. I think our players understand the coaches. The coaches understand the players. I think we will do a better job, especially early on, to get them in the positions that they need to be in to be successful. I'm excited to see how far we've come in a year. That's what I'm excited about.