How is Dicenzo Miller, injury-wise?
"He is about 85% healthy at this time. He has a great future. There is no question about that. He is not a guy that's saying, 'I'm through, I'm going to the next level.' You have to give him a lot of respect because of that. He is different. He is going to give you everything that he has. Unfortunately, he got hurt early in the season. You saw a kid today who gained 131 yards. If he hadn't gotten hurt, he would have been that type back all year."
Talk about how difficult it was to bring Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen down.
"He is hard to bring down. Any other quarterback would have been brought to the ground six or seven more times than him."
Talk about the holding call near the end of the game.
"You have to give our players credit. It is very difficult, as defensive linemen, to continue to rush because you do get tired. Same thing with Dorsett at the end. He made them hold him. That was a very big play for us."
Talk about Kevin Fant.
"He has a presence in the huddle. He is a quarterback. He probably had one bad throw."
Talk about center Blake Jones.
"This was his second start. He played well. He is basically playing on one leg due to an injury. We have him, the left guard, the right tackle all playing on a bad leg. The left tackle has two bad knees."
How is Ray Ray Bivines?
"He pulled a hamstring. We won't know about him until later in the week."
[I saw Ray Ray at the basketball game. He told me his hamstring pull is in the leg opposite to the one he hurt the first time. He said it is not as badly injured as the other one was. - Gene]
Talk about the players attitude after going 2-5 the first seven games of the season.
"In college football that is going to happen. For kids to hang in there and not fold is a positive sign. The players certainly hung in there. They read the paper, they hear what is said. It does effect them. I told them Friday that I respect them because they carry the burden of all of the alumni. When you sit down with that coffee cup you want to be able to smile when you drink it. They carry a heavy burden having to make sure the alumni are happy. I told them that the alumni is not happy drinking that coffee but I also know that the players weren't very happy either."
What is the one thing that this team needs right now?
"We have to get healthy. We have four games in a little over three weeks. That is a lot."
Your kick coverage was good today?
"The two gunners, Eugene Liger and Julius Griffith did a good job of that."
Who will start at quarterback against Alabama?
"Does it really make any difference? It really doesn't. That's my answer."
Talk about playing Wayne Madkin.
"I have a lot of respect for Wayne. He has won a lot of football games for us. He took us to the SEC championship game. Wayne is going to be involved in winning the remaining games."
Some guys made some catches today. How much did that help the quarterback's confidence?
"It helped. The deep balls early, we could have thrown them better. I'm not sure if there wasn't holding on our receivers to keep us from getting down the field."
QUARTERBACK KEVIN FANT:
Talk about you playing well and the team playing so well when you were in there.
"The team gave me high energy when I came in. I respect that about them. They didn't just see me as a backup quarterback when I came in. The offensive line played fantastic the second half. The receivers were making plays. Everybody just came together. Wayne stayed behind me when he came out. He talked to me on the sideline. I appreciate that. Wayne is the starter. I was just really fortunate to be in there when everything was clicking."
Do you have confidence when you are out there that you can get things done?
"Yes, I think my confidence has been increasing lately. I have been practicing much better. The team has really been practicing much better."
How important is it to this team to have won a game after having lost five in a row?
"It is great (laugh). Everybody's spirits will be up. We are going to have a good weekend for once. Everybody will be relaxed. We will come back next week and realize that the good week of practice that we had last week meant something to this team. I think we will have another good week of practice and keep things going."
Coach Sherrill kind of asked people not to get into any kind of quarterback controversy. How do you feel about the comparisons that are inevitable at this point?
"Wayne is the starter. He is a veteran and has done good things. I don't really compare myself to Wayne. If they want to use two quarterbacks, that is fine with me. I will do whatever Coach Sherrill wants me to do. I was just fortunate to come in in the second half. The team gave me a little high energy when I came in. Everybody was playing with high intensity."
Was something said at halftime that got the team going? It almost seemed like an entirely different team out there in the second half.
"Not anything special. Coach Sherrill said somebody is going to make a play to win this game."
LINEBACKER MARIO HAGGAN:
Was this victory a momentum builder? Even though it was just a three-point victory, it was much bigger than just a three-point win wasn't it?
"It was very important to team spirit, and helping pull this team together. We know that we can win a football game. When we went out there, we started to make some plays, we started scoring. Everybody was able to pat each other on the back and say good play. In the fourth quarter, we had something to play for."
It's got to make a difference to the defense to see the offense finally putting some points on the board?
"It did. It gives us faith that we can go to a bowl game. We are now looking forward to going to Alabama and pull out a victory there. We know what the task at hand is so we are going into practice this week focused."
|Ray Ray Bivines||3||32||0||20|
|Korey Banks||6||2||8||1/1||1- -3||1||0|
|T. J. Mawhinny||1||6||7||1/2||1-5||1||0|
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.