FOOTBALL: Coach Zook Q & A

Coach Zook talks about yesterday's loss in Starkville as well as the upcoming Georgia game in Jacksonville.

Were there guys that didn't lay it on the line?

No it wasn't like that. I looked at the tape, and those guys tried. Did we make some mistakes? Absolutely. We did some things that we don't normally do. Overall, I can't fault the effort. People don't want to hear this, but Mississippi State deserves a lot of credit. I thought we prepared hard last week. Going into the game we were ready, there was no indication that we weren't. Travis Harris did a good job of trying to remind them about the 2000 season. Looking at the tape, these guys gave us everything they had.

Speculation on job security?

There is nothing I can do about that. I have to worry about the next game. That is all I have control over.

Is there a fear of total collapse or meltdown?

There is not a fear of that. After the LSU game, I wasn't worried abut these guys coming out fighting and they will. They will come back and give us all they got and we will give them all we have. All we have is each other. We will circle the wagons and get prepared to be the best team that we can be.

Do the goals change now?

Our goal is that we are worried about one game.

How are you personally dealing with this compared to other losses?

I don't like to rank losses. They all hurt. Our players hurt. It is supposed to hurt. But when you have invested something in it like these guys (the players) have and the coaches have, it does hurt. I'm no different than anyone else.

Do there need to be changes in defensive philosophy to make sure you don't have any more fourth quarters like the one you had yesterday?

I don't think so. That is something we are going through with a fine toothed comb. We spent a few hours today already on what we are doing and our philosophy and going back through everything. I don't think you make a change just to make a change. If you don't believe in what you are doing then maybe you do need to make a change. If we don't believe in what we are doing, then the players won't believe. We believe in what we are doing and we know we are doing those things(preparation).

Is there a point when you have to think about making a change and when is that?

I don't know that. Hopefully I will know that when it does, if it does.

Have you talked to Jeremy since Saturday? Do you think your job is in jeopardy?

Like I said I have no control over it. I said hello this morning when he walked into a meeting and he said "Hello, how are you doing?" I said, "I'm fine. We haven't had a conversation per se about it.

You were happy with the effort, but Ciatrick was quoted as saying some guys didn't show?

I didn't say I was happy with the effort, I said I felt like they tried. C-4, sometimes he gets asked a question and he feels like he needs to say something. He's a warrior and hates to lose. Overall, I can't go and say we need to make this change or that change because you didn't give the effort, or play the way you had to play. If we felt that way, then we would. I didn't see the total lack of effort and guys just cashing it in.

The standards of the program are very high, what do you say to fans that are watching you lose to a team that lost to a team that lost to a division AA team and the direction of the program?

What can I say except if they would have played every team like they played us, they would have been 5-0 instead of 1-4.

How are the ankles of Travis Harris and Jon Colon?

Jon Colon was not bad and is in pretty good shape today. Travis Harris on the other hand is not as good. He may have a high ankle sprain and I am not as optimistic.

Any other news on the injury front?

No, that's it.

Is there still any type of mental edge that you guys have going into Georgia?

I can't answer that. I know our guys enjoy the game, they look forward to the game. They consider it a home game.

When things are going like this, are you at all concerned if something negative happens there might be a collapse on their part?

No I don't. This is a close group. They are close to the coaches. We coach them hard and demand a lot, I don't fear that at all.

Can you talk about the role as a spoiler?

I haven't thought about that. I have thought about one thing, and that is winning the game.

Any specific concerns about getting the guys ready for a bigger challenge?

Georgia is a great football team. They were picked to win the SEC. They won a tough game on the road last night. In the SEC, you have to be ready to play every day.

Can you assess the defensive front seven, is it where you thought it would be?

Probably it is. It is not just the front that has problems. It is a problem here and a problem there. It's not just one guy in particular; it's someone having a bust here (or there). We have tried to simplify it to make sure everybody is doing the things that we need to be doing.

What was Mississippi State able to do so well?

They ran the football in the fourth quarter pretty well. There were four of twelve series on defense where we didn't do things right. The other eight we played pretty well. Again, those four series are the ones we need to correct.

Due to you lack of experience on defense, did you think your team was a little overrated and maybe the expectations were too high?

It doesn't matter what I think about expectations, the expectations are there. Obviously I was concerned that defensively the youth was something I as going to have to deal with, but once again no one care or wants to hear that. We just have to try and put them in situations for them to make a play.

Pollack kind of feasts on quarterbacks, do you have a real plan on trying to stop him?

I don't know if you can stop him. That guy is a great football player. He does a great job and plays with a great motor. He has the respect of our football team and it will be a great challenge to keep him off of Chris.

Have you had any conversations about your job status?

Nope.

Can your team refocus its energy instead of reeling in the loss against Mississippi State?

In the SEC you have to be able to refocus quickly no matter what happens. In the same token, since it is Georgia, it's a great game, an exciting game, I think it is probably to our advantage from that standpoint.

Will your message to the team be about turning it around, like the previous two seasons?

I haven't thought that yet. I haven't lost confidence in this team and our players haven't lost confidence in us.

With the SEC hopes gone, are you concerned about effort?

Nope.


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