Tidbits from Joker Phillips' press conference today from questions I asked (not sure why so few others asked questions today):
— Will Roark be available this week? "Yes, he will be available this week."
— Do you expect to have Locke this week:? "We expected to have him last week. It will be one of those things we will see on Tuesday on how much strength he has in that arm and how much he can practice and protect himself Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday."
— Is this team as hungry and driven as past teams and how hard is it to play from behind every week? "I think this team is hungry. We have not played smart, but this team fights, scratches and claws. You see guys come in press conferences? Do you not think this team is hungry? That is not a problem
"You go into game and say let's go toe to toe for the first quarter and second quarter. Then we get in the first quarter and are already behind and have to fight our way out. We have to continue to stress the little things that is the difference. Staying in your gap, taking one more step on blocks, taking steps in tackling, wrapping up."
— At this point, do you love the team up more or kick them in the butt more to save the season? "You have to do both. Love them up and kick them in the rear end, which do all the time. We do that all the time. We have to be demanding on the little things and we have not been doing the little things very well recently. The thing we have talked to the team about is we have a series on one-game seasons. We have three series of one-game seasons left."
— How did Cobb play? " He is a warrior. He does all the things we need all receivers to do to win games. Did he have the type game he has had in the past few weeks? No, but he was good enough to win. He made big catches, nice runs. He didn't block as well as had been, but a lot of that has to do with him being banged up. Randall is our leader on offense. Not only is he our leader by example but he is our inspirational leader by the way he fights. Our team usually tries to follow him."
— What happened that Chris Matthews didn't understand what route to run on your final play that turned into an interception in the end zone? "He did not get the total call to keep the route on. He broke it off and Mike was throwing it over the top."
Does that happen often in a game? "No, it doesn't."
— Are more players getting in trouble — Matthews was suspended for the first quarter — this year or are you handling discipline in a different way? "I just want to do it this way. We have to teach them lessons other than football. A lot of them are about to go into the real world where you get harsher punishment than a quarter. You get fired if you do not do what you are supposed to do. You do not get a paycheck. We are trying to teach them more than football. Many of them are about to go into the real world where they will have a family to take care of and we want to teach them how to take care of their family by doing things the right way."
— Did quarterback Mike Hartline try to do too much for the first time this season? "He wasn't seeing things as well as he has been seeing throughout the year. The game was a lot faster. Mississippi State had a lot of speed on the field, especially on long downs. They put six or seven defensive backs in there. Things were happening faster. He had people in his face, too. Sometimes people were coming free and he had to just throw the ball up and give our guys a chance. At times he had to get out of the pocket, protect himself and throw the football away."
News from Joker's Sunday press conference
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