Sept. 20, 2005
Opening statement ...
"It is time to get back to the practice field. It was a good day off yesterday and we are trying to get some guys healthy. We are still a little bit beat up. Courtney Taylor will not play this week. He is out but he looks like the only one that is definitely not going to play. Marcus McNeill, Tim Duckworth, Travis Williams, Stanley McClover, Lee Guess and David Irons will all be back. I was down in the training room this morning a little bit before 6 a.m. and there is still high attendance in there. We need to try to get that down if we can.
"We have a lot of work to do this week. We will have a good practice today. The weather is pretty much dictating what we are going to do in practice because it is still awfully hot going into the fourth game of the year. Our guys' attention spans have been very good and we have been very fortunate. We need to get better in these games that we have had the past couple of weeks. You don't just get better in games, you get better in practice and our guys have done a good job of doing that and working hard because it is still very hot.
"This week we play against Western Kentucky. We played them a few years ago. They have mostly the same guys back that we played against a few years ago so there is a lot of carry over. They are still running the same offense. There is a little bit of change in their defensive philosophy but they have been playing well. They are 2-0 and they moved up to the No. 1 ranking in I-AA yesterday. They had last week off so we will get their best performance and they are pretty healthy. Again, going into this week, it is not about who we are playing, it is about us again. We have to improve in some areas.
"We have settled on a starting running back in Kenny Irons. A lot of people want to know who No. 1 is but No. 2 is by committee. We have three very valuable running backs that we think can play and those guys aren't really trying to be number two, they are trying to be No. 1. We feel like there is going to be a lot of competition at that position all year but Kenny Irons is our starting running back and he will be that until he proves that he can't handle it. I think he is going to be a heck of a running back.
"We need to get back to some continuity with our offensive line. Last week, Jonathan Palmer did a really good job. He is vying for the No. 1 spot behind Tim Duckworth at right guard. I thought that King Dunlap really played well. Coach Hugh Nall has been talking about giving him a lot of playing time with Marcus McNeill being a little bit under the weather at left tackle.
"We are trying to get Tommy Trott into the lineup more. Hopefully he will practice this week. He has a neck injury. He sprained his neck but we are trying to get him back on the practice field where we can get him more reps. At wide receiver, we will move Devin Aromashodu to Courtney Taylor's position like we did last week during the game.
"Again, going with our offense, we are going to go with our same plan. We want to be as much of a running team as a passing team and we want to get better in both areas. Determined by what the defense asks us to do or takes away, we will do the other. I have been really pleased with Brandon Cox's performance and how he has improved. He made a few mental mistakes last week and we are going to continue to improve on that. If we do, he is going to be right on target to be where we want him to be when we get back into conference play next week.
"Defensively we really need to get our continuity back. We moved Karibi Dede to middle linebacker last week. Travis Williams needs to get back on the field. Stanley McClover needs to get back where we can find out the rotation that we are going to need at weak and strong end. With him being out it has really thrown a kink into our plan so to speak because Quentin Groves has had to keep moving back between weak and strong. We need to get David Irons back and get him some more experience because he has only played in two games. This will only be his third game because he sat out last week.
"Special teams last week did a good job. We want to continue to work with that and continue to work with all of our guys on our returns. Our blocking downfield is much improved and the consistency there is a lot better. Hopefully, we will continue to improve on that.
"Again it is about us this week and where we are at. We need to keep focused on what we are doing and try to improve on every phase and just get ready for this week's game against Western Kentucky."
On Western Kentucky's talent compared to Ball State ...
"I think that with the problems that Ball State had, we are going to see a much better team this week. Ball State has had so many problems off the field that they couldn't get focused on what they were doing on the field. Western Kentucky is a team that is trying to win a national championship on their level and they are experienced at every position on the team. They have an experienced quarterback that played here a few years ago and we will see a team that is much more together than the one we saw last week. When we looked at last year's film, they played very close to Kansas State and some other teams on their schedule when they played I-A teams. We will get their best effort and they are a team that we will have to prepare for. They run the option and they throw the ball down the field. They throw a lot of play actions and defensively they run a different scheme than what we have seen. It will be a challenge for us.
On defensive responsibilities with Travis Williams out ...
"Your middle linebacker has to be the guy that sets your fronts and calls your defense but when Karibi is in there is puts a bigger load on Antarrious. He is the guy that has been out there more and we are asking more of him, but that is good for him. He needs to be more involved. Karibi is also experienced. He doesn't have that much experience at that one position but he has played at other positions and I think that this will help him be a better outside linebacker for when Travis comes back. I think that it is all working out for the best and we are getting a lot of experience from guys that are playing different positions. When we are getting ready to go down the homestretch, we need to get everybody in their right spots so we can find out where we need more work.
On finally facing a No. 1 team in the nation ...
"Well, it is a little bit late for last year, but it is the regular season and they all count. This is one of those that we are going to have to play well. We are going to have to play better then we did last week and that is the main thing. I think that our players understand the focus that they are going to have to have compared to last week. They are going to be a team that is going to challenge us at every position and they are going to have the opportunity to move the football. They have a great scheme and they are well coached. The reason they are ranked number one is because they are playing as a team, and I am sure that they have a focus of coming in here and not breaking their streak of winning games. We will definitely not take them lightly because they are a I-AA team. They will have eleven out there and we will have eleven out there. It is about executing and playing well. We want to go in and play our game and play like we did last week. I don't think that we can be any more consistent on offense then we were last week because we scored every time that we had the ball. We do want to continue to work on the things that are hopefully going to get us back to Atlanta in a couple of months from now."