C-USA Media Days: Notes & Quotes

Highlights from Conference USA's football media day in Memphis, Tennessee.

Bobby Petrino, Head Coach, Louisville

ON HIS QUARTERBACKS

Well we got Stefan [LeFors] coming back and he had a great year for us and probably played as well as any quarterback that I've been around, as far as just executing the offense. We've got a young man coming in by the name of Brian Brahm who's a high school All-American, maybe the best high school quarterback in the country. We'll just have to find out how close he is to playing, usually the first week in practice or the first week and a half you'll know whether there will be competition for the job or there won't be.

ON PROTECTING THE QUARTERBACK

Well first thing is always to protect the quarterback. You know you can't give up the negative plays, so you've got to be able to protect the quarterback. Running the ball to me is the number one way to do that, because you're moving forward and moving down hill. I think we have some real good playmakers, we've got to do a good job of getting the ball in their hands and giving the opportunity to show what they can do. We have a lot of guys coming back - J.R. Russell, Eric Shelton, Lionel Gates, Michael Bush. We are going to miss the two senior tight ends that we had and we have to replace them whether that's by playing the young guys at that position or maybe utilizing different personnel more than we did a year ago.

ON THE TEAM

We're going to be an exciting ball club I think. I think we'll be able to come out and move the ball and score points and play aggressive football but you'll like the brand that we play.

Mark Dantonio, Head Coach, Cincinnati

ON THE EXCELLENT CONFERENCE

Well a guy said to me the other day, we play six teams that have won nine games this past season so four of them are in Conference USA. I think it's an excellent football conference. In my past as an assistant coach, we've played Conference USA teams throughout those years, and they always come well prepared, very athletic teams, very aggressive teams, a lot of excitement. And I really keep telling everyone that I talk to if you take a Conference USA team, for example, TCU, I think they can play with anybody in the Big Ten, and I think that's across the board. You'll see teams every year rise up and play very well against the so called BCS conferences and it sort of sets themselves apart.

ON GINO GUIDUGLI

Well I think any time you've got a quarterback, you've got a chance. I came into the spring and we wanted to start from scratch with everybody so we made Gino [Guidugli] live throughout the whole spring and so he took a lot of live snaps where he was hit, tackled, pressured. I was very impressed with his decision-making and his toughness, and those are the two things, I think, that really set quarterbacks apart from each other. A lot of guys have the talent but they may be lacking in the other areas, so he gives us a great chance.

Tommy West, Head Coach, Memphis

ON WINNING A BOWL GAME

I think you've got to realize how you got there, so you have to talk about it. The key to us was winning the bowl game. Just getting to a bowl would have been okay, you know 31 years without one, that would have been okay. But winning the bowl game really set the stage, I think, for this year and the expectations we have for this year.

ON DEANGELO WILLIAMS

He'll have a great year. The thing DeAngelo [Williams] is going to have to do, I believe, is to be patient. Don't try to force it, be patient. Because you would have to think that people are going to try to stack the deck against you going in, you should. We're going to have to be good enough to beat you with our quarterback and our wide outs. Because I would expect people to load it up and try to stop him.

Gary Patterson, Head Coach, TCU

ON QUARTERBACKS

It's probably the best it's ever been because we have three coming back who have all played and had experience. The last quarterback to score a touchdown was Kyle Kummer in the Boise State game and he was our number three. So, right now, we're probably going in right now as healthy and with as good experience as we've ever been. We've had healthy but not necessarily with two quarterbacks who've played and this is probably the first time in four years that we have guys coming back with Brandon [Hassell] and Tye [Gunn] and then Kyle and it will allow us to grow up the younger one a little bit slower than what we even had to do with Tye as a redshirt freshman, at least I hope so. But every time we seem to lose a quarterback, we win 10 ball games so if we have to go through six quarterbacks to do that, I don't care.

ON HOW TO WIN

It's been our way, we won nine games, to be 21 and 4 in the last two years. We had a defense ranked No. 1 in the country last year and going into game seven, before we lost a coach and got some injuries, we were top 10 in every category. And, you know, I think the other thing we have to do as a team is that if one part of the game is down, you know if your offense isn't playing well then your defense has to be….We've been fortunate that when part is down, the other part picks it up. And then we've had phases where we'll be playing well at all three phases and that will be our goal as a team, not to be bad at all three phases at one time.


PLAYER COMMENTS

Stefan LeFors, Quarterback, Louisville

ON HIS ROLE

I like my role, it's fun to me. It's something that I thrive off of and my teammates look up to me. I've earned their respect and I would do anything for those guys as I hope they would for me. I like it in the summer, working out hard and leading the team, throwing, doing all that and getting ready for the opener, so I enjoy my position.

ON THIS YEAR'S GOAL

To be better then we were last year for sure, you know we're fifth in the nation in total offense and you know our goal is to be the number one offense in the nation. So we're working hard every day, working out, like I said, throwing, getting our timing down, and our goal is to be the number one offense in the nation.

DeAngelo Williams, Running Back, Memphis

ON EXCITEMENT FOR THIS SEASON

Well, I'm really excited to get back on the green. It feels like it's been forever since I've been on the field, and between the white lines in an actual, official game. So, I'm really hungry to get back on the field, and I'm really excited about this season because it's my junior year and I'm feeling really good and I'm ready to fight.

ON TEAM GOALS

There's no pressure last year, my offensive line really takes the pressure off my shoulders because they set goals and after they set goals, I try to hold my end of the bargain to reach those goals. We gel as a unit and feed off of each other and by us feeding off each other and competing, that makes us better.


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