JACKIE SHERRILL OCT. 2 PRESS CONFERENCE

[Premium site article. Excerpts are on the free site football skuttle-butt section.] Coach Sherrill talks about the upcoming Auburn game and this past Saturday's Florida game.

JACKIE SHERRILL QUOTES:

"A lot of times after you look at the film you realize players don't play as bad as it looked and sometimes when you win they played worse than you thought. We had some players who played hard. We did not have players who played well enough that you could say that they dominated the game. Jared Cook really played well, especially early in the game when he was backed up and had a couple of snaps he was able to control and punt the ball. Our kicking game, other than a couple of times when our gunner did not cover like he should have, played pretty well."

"We are still trying to find the identity of this football team. Sometimes a team's identity doesn't come around until the third, fourth or fifth game."

"Going back and looking at the film there were plenty of times where we had the receivers covered but they made a great throw and catch. Josh (Morgan) had a receiver covered in the corner of the end zone but they just went up and made the play and we didn't."

"Florida was in the same situation last year (that we are today) and they a much better football team today probably because of it. This is the best Florida team that I have seen and the best Florida team that we have played against. Frankly, I'm not sure that they aren't the best team in the country right now. It is going to be very difficult for anybody to beat them."

"We have some players who are still questionable, our two tackles, Derrick Thompson and (Kenric) Fairchild, are very questionable (minor knee injuries). We won't know about Dicenzo (Miller) until later in the week. We may not even know about him until gametime. If they are not back to practice by Wednesday, they won't start. Hopefully, they will be back and ready to play. Everybody else will be ready to play. Kenric got hurt early but played most of the game with it."

"We didn't catch the ball like we should have. Justin (Jenkins) made one big catch but he also didn't make some he should have. We really have to get much better at catching the football."

"We have to get Wayne back to playing like Wayne. He needs to just go ahead and make (the play)) himself."


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:

How did middle linebacker Jason Clark play during the game?
Coach Sherrill: "He made some plays but he also didn't make some plays. The reason we played Jason in the game, more so than anybody else, was because of his speed. We were playing in a game where you had to have your fastest guys out there."

Question was asked about freshman wide receivers Antonio Hargro and Ray Ray Bivines?
Coach Sherrill: "Ray Ray is getting better every day. (Florida) should have had a penalty called on them on the first play of the game. If Ray Ray had not been interfered with and had a chance to go get the ball, he may have been able to catch it. But those are judgement calls."

How did Tommy Watson play at the center position?
Coach Sherrill: "Tommy is doing really well at center. Tommy has athletic ability and is a tough player. He is a typical throw-back offensive lineman. He has made himself into a very good center."

Do you feel you match up better with Auburn?
Coach Sherrill: "Auburn's quarterback is a lot more athletic than Grossman. Jason Campbell is extremely athletic. They had the best defense in the league last year. They are really good up front. They lost their linebacker, Lincoln, who I thought was one of the better one's in the league. Up front, they have some really good players. They are very, very big and physical up front, especially their noseguard. Tommy (Watson) has his hands full with Demarco (McNeil)."

How do you think Fred Reid did during the game?
Coach Sherrill: "He did some good things but, again, you are playing a very talented team so it is difficult to judge how he did."

If your starting offensive tackles can't play, who will take their places?
Coach Sherrill: "(Red-shirt) David Stewart will be the right tackle, it will be his first game. (Junior) Carl Hutchins, played last Saturday, will be the left tackle."

Are you going to play Mario Haggan more in the middle or at the defensive end position?
Coach Sherrill: "He plays a bunch of places. We don't play a 4-3 defense where you say this is your Mike linebacker. At times we play a split where you have two insider linebackers. Sometimes we play a 33 where you have three linebackers. In that case, he is on the outside and sometimes he is on the line of scrimmage."

You play two-deep on the defensive line. Are you going to change the groups on the defensive line?
Coach Sherrill: "It depends on how the game goes. Every week you are trying to get the best combination. Every week your defensive and offensive scheme will change a little because of who you are going to play."

After looking at the film, did any of the defensive lineman play well during the game?
Coach Sherrill: "None of them played well enough to say that they dominated the game. Some of them didn't play bad either. We are going to have to have play from everybody.

"Pig (Prather) didn't play badly but he didn't make the plays you normally see Pig play. Josh (Morgan) played really well. He had to cover a lot of people in the open field and on a couple of plays, nine of ten times, that ball is not caught but the receiver just went up and got the ball."

Florida's receivers did a lot of screens. Is it legal for them to do that?
Coach Sherrill: "They did it a bunch of times. If you don't get caught (it is legal). Everybody has picks and screens. One of their touchdowns, Josh ran into one of our own. That was one of their screens."

Do picks work better against inexperienced cornerbacks like we have?
Coach Sherrill: "Sure it does."

You mentioned earlier about Wayne going back to being Wayne. Do you mean you hope to see him run more when it is there for him to run?
Coach Sherrill: "He shouldn't have to feel he has to (throw) the ball in there. He should take what is there and just go. Wayne has worked hard to correct his throwing. He has made the right choices. He has thrown to the right receivers and made the correct checks. Sometimes you really press to throw the ball in there and you throw it a little too hard. I talked to Wayne all the time about making first downs instead rather than trying to make a big play or a touchdown."

Some coaches, just to give the offense a spark, put a new quarterback in there. How do you feel about that?
Coach Sherrill: "It wasn't what Wayne did or didn't do. At the time we just felt it was the time to play Kevin (Fant). We are glad we did because down the road you might need him."

Kevin Fant was put in a difficult situation at Florida. How did he do?
Coach Sherrill: "He did well. Neither one of (the quarterbacks) graded out super. But he threw the ball well. He only threw one bad pass. That was the one that got intercepted where he was trying to throw the ball over the linebacker but he just didn't have enough on the ball. His thought pattern was correct. Of course he should have thrown the ball to another receiver, but his thought patter was right."


DT DANNIE SNYDER:

What is the attitude of this team?
Dannie Snyder: "We are all trying to come together. We know we have to be a team to win. We can't have individuals. Once we figure that out we will be alright."

What will you do differently in practice to help become a team?
Dannie Snyder: "We will be more aggressive. I think we will have more reps against the starting offensive line."

Did the defensive linemen get frustrated during the game?
Dannie Snyder: "Anybody would get frustrated after getting down 21-0 in the first quarter. But we never gave up. It was all about pride after that."

Do you believe the true character of this team will show in the Auburn game?
Dannie Snyder: "I really think it will. I really think it will."


RB DICENZO MILLER:

As one of the seniors on the team, what do you tell your teammates after a game like that?
Dicenzo Miller: "That is the worse loss I ever took while playing football. It was hard for me. I know a lot of our guys haven't had a worse loss than that. You just to tell them to keep a positive thought in your head. That is over with. We can't change the fact that we lost 52-0. But we can come back and win the game against Auburn."


DT KAHLIL NASH:

What do you learn from a loss like last Saturday's?
Kahlil Nash: "You can't take anyone lightly in the SEC. This is my first year in the SEC."

Was it intimidating going into the Swamp for the first time?
Kahlil Nash: "No, not all. The fans were right behind us but it didn't matter. After we were losing, some of the players probably got intimidated but not me. I played hard every play."

The television lady on the field said the MSU players were arguing among themselves on the bench. Was that true?
Kahlil Nash: "That wasn't true. We were just frustrated."

What will be different about this week's practices compared to previous weeks?
Kahlil Nash: "It will probably be more physical. Starters will go against starters. That is what we need. We need to go game speed."


Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at swindoll@genespage.com.


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