Nov. 11, 2009
Opening Statement -- "This is a very big week for us. We're going on the road trying to get our first road win in a very tough place to play versus an extremely talented team. So we are going to have our hands full. We are going to have a great week of practice and go down there. They present a lot of match-up issues for us. They are a very fast team, very physical up front on defense especially, and obviously a great running back that lines up everywhere and a quarterback that can get really hot and throw the ball as well as anybody. So it's going to be a tough match-up for us."
On Dexter McCluster -- "The problem with Dexter is he lines up everywhere. I don't know that I've seen a guy that can play running back and then go out and run all the receiver routes like he's been out there forever. Sometimes people will take receivers or running backs and run a couple of things with them, a couple of easy routes. But this guy runs a ton of different routes -- routes that take a long time to develop. He presents all kinds of match-up issues. If you give him any space, he is so fast that he can out-run almost anybody.
On a recent USA Today article regarding his coaching staff's salary -- "Our full staff is not the highest paid staff. Our assistant coaches, if you only take them, are (the highest). But I don't think anybody thinks about how much money Monte Kiffin makes or Ed Orgeron makes when we play Georgia and Alabama back-to-back and they don't score an offensive touchdown. I think that, like I said before, you have to spend money to make money. And I use the Alabama comparison. When Nick (Saban) was hired, there was an article in about every paper about how much money he was making. And no one ever writes about it again. If we do the things we are supposed to do, continue to recruit, continue to win games and continue to graduate players and keep our players out of trouble, I don't think it matters."
On his team's ability to finish games and the season -- "Yeah, we talk all the time about being a great fourth-quarter team and for most of the year we have done that. We have outscored our opponents by a bunch of points. I believe last week was the first fourth quarter we have lost all year. So now it translates into the fourth quarter of the season, and so it's about finishing your off-season workouts, finishing in the classroom, finishing on the practice field and then finishing games. Hopefully that will carry over and we will be a very good fourth quarter-season team.
On if the team understands that message -- "We talk about it all the time. I don't know that they will ever completely get it. You just have to keep pounding away at it and show examples of it and talk about it in practice -- create a competitive atmosphere in your practice, late in the practice so it's comparable to a game."
On if Ed Orgeron will be more motivated than usual this week -- "Well I'm sure (he will be); that's natural for any of us. I think if you've been fired, if you ever went back to the place that you were at it's going to be a big deal to you, especially when you brought so many great players there and worked so hard, as we all know he does, to try to build that place right. It's a big deal for him. But has that changed this week? No, because for those of you guys who are around he is the first guy here everyday doing a phenomenal job with our defensive line, phenomenal job with our discipline and obviously has done a great job already with our recruiting. It has not changed his energy or his work ethic this week."
On Herman Lathers' play in the Memphis game -- "Herman's speed really stood out. He is so fast to the ball and he lined up for the most part really well during the day. So, we're very pleased with his first start and how he performed. Now this will be a challenge because most likely he'll play more snaps and so he's got to continue to improve and take it to another level.
On the improvement in the pass rush in recent weeks -- Yeah, it was big having Chris Walker back, having him healthy for the most part and playing after sitting out the week before. He makes such a difference to us because he is so fast that you have to account for him, so we are continuing to develop our younger guys there. Marlon Walls, really getting his first playing time for the most part in a significant role, did some things and will continue to develop there. Dan Williams is playing extremely well, so we need to keep developing that because it's been something that has not been there all year long."