On Mike Wyche:
I think it’s important. It’s keeping us fresh. He’s doing a good job keeping his weight down. He’s a strong force in there. He can make plays but also prevents centers and guards from getting to our linebackers.
On Tyriq McCord:
Tyriq is in that group who has really improved over the last month. He’s playing more physical, is stronger than he’s been. He’s always had the ability to pass rush but has been better lately on first and second down.
On what he tells his players this week:
I don’t say anything different. We have to practice well, prepare well, and we have to be locked in. I don’t let anything on the outside get on the inside. For instance the magnitude of the game wont come from me. The execution is what the guys need to focus on because that will determine the outcome.
On limiting penalties in this game:
We don’t want selfish penalties. If you’re confident and communicating well, it’s natural for our guys to stay disciplined.
On Trevor Darling:
He and Jon, if Ereck doesn’t play, those two will be playing tackle like they did last week. They both can play either side. Trevor played both sides. Obviously we have to see how Ereck will progress the rest of the week.
On players saying it’s just another game:
I don’t know if anyone is saying it’s just another game. I don’t buy it. For us, though, it’s the next game and it’s against a rival. We will tap into the electricity in that stadium. We have to control what we can control. We have to focus on the game and not the show around it.
On the defensive improvements:
We’re tackling better, we’ve been very unselfish. The ball is going to the unblocked player and he’s finishing it. We’re working well collectively and we’ll have to be at our best Saturday night. We haven’t changed personnel and we certainly haven’t changed the play calls.
On the youth movement here:
There are a lot of guys we weren’t counting on counting on back in July – Darling, Kaaya, Yearby, those guys. We’re getting excellent leadership now and we’re controlling what we can each day. It’s important for us to keep that mindset all week.
On the recruiting importance of this game:
It’s 365 days a year here. It’s big here. They were the champions last year. A lot of recruits see it as an opportunity to help us get there. We have to prepare for the game but we’re recruiting the day before the game, the day of, the day after, all of it.
On how they’ve improved so much lately:
We couldn’t have improved as much as we have this year if the young guys who have stepped up didn’t or we didn’t get the leadership we’ve gotten.
On the young guys on defense:
Chad has to keep coming. He will bring energy. He’s starting on the nickel. Darrion has to keep coming on. All the nose guards are new. The Junior College guys and Courtel continue to compete. We have a lot of true sophomores like Artie, Corn Elder, Grace, those guys have really improved over the last 4-5 weeks. We have to keep pushing them along.