"We have a good-looking squad. (However) we have some questions about how some of our players will perform under pressure and as a group. Hopefully, by this weekend, we will have some players in place.
"We have seven (defensive) players that we know can line up and play. The other four we will have to count on lining up and playing well. We will play a lot of guys defensively, and they will play and, hopefully, well. (D-line newcomers) Tommy Kelly and Ronald Fields will start. All the defensive linemen that we brought in will play.
"We still have some players in areas that we are looking at. This includes special teams. We will not have Ray Ray Bivines, and that will make a difference in some of the returns.
"I think our kicking game and special teams are pretty well settled. I keep going back and forth with (punters) Jared (Cook) and Robert (Wallis). One of them punts really well in practice and the other mediocre or vice versa. Hopefully by game day, we will be able to make a decision."
[Talking about what Memphis' offense will be like this year]
"We have no idea what we will see offensively. I'm sure it will be very similar to Clemson's system. (Current Memphis head coach is a former head coach at Clemson). Their offense is a very high risk offense, The quarterback will be very involved, and they have a very athletic quarterback who will work with a one-back set or a no-back set. We have to prepare for anything."
[Talking about MSU playing against Memphis last year]
"We are playing a team that has played well against us every year. There's is no question that last year, offensively, we had some problems adjusting to some things that Memphis did. Defensively, I thought that our players played well considering the heat. We have not had that kind of heat in practice this year. I'm glad we're playing at night so that we won't have that kind of heat.
"They played several defensive fronts last year. They did slants and other things that we did not practice (against). We also had two new guys in Courtney Lee and Tommy Watson, and we weren't prepared for what they did."
[Talking about playing on Monday night instead of Saturday]
"This week is a different (practice) week. Today is not (a) Tuesday (practice day) but (like a) Sunday instead. We have a couple of extra days. Our practice schedule this week is one where you do not want to wear the players out early, so we cut back the practice time and the amount of time they are on the field."
[Talking about the game being on television]
"It's a lot of exposure because it's the only game on. Most people will turn it on because they are used to watching Monday Night Football. It's a great slot to have."
[Talking about his secondary]
"Korey Banks has a chance to be a great player. (Juco newcomer cornerback) Richard Ball has legitimate 10.2 speed in the 100 meters. We have more depth. It will show up if we get someone hurt."
[Talking about Brandon Butler transferring to Delta State]
"He wanted to play. It is very simple. His high school coach is coaching at Delta State. They contact each other all the time. We have a lot of talent at the wide receiver position. (His leaving) didn't change anything."
[Talking about Conner Stephens]
"He has all the tools to be a great, great player. He probably can jump higher than any other player on our team. When I say jumping higher, I'm talking about his jumping ability combined with his height."