UAB/MSU Post-Game Press Conference

Coach Croom talked about his team's loss to UAB.

Q & A

You had several scoring opportunities in the first half but couldn't cash in on them.
"We had an opportunity in the first half but had a penalty called with a motion on. We don't call the motion and it's going to be wide open for a touchdown. It was just little things like that. I'm sure it comes with time. All that I can ask is that they continue to give the effort and keep trying to learn and pay attention to the details and, hopefully, our execution will improve in the future."

If you had been able to find any semblance of a passing game what would you have been able to get done today?
"When you run the ball like that, you should be able to throw the ball whenever you want to. We had some passes opened that we didn't hit and we had some that were thrown right on the money that we didn't catch. What you saw was what you saw."

What did you improve on?
"Our overall intensity. We ran the ball better. We had some guys like Brian Anderson who I am proud of just because he showed up after they said he wouldn't play for two weeks. I'm proud of the way Jerious Norwood played. He goes out there and lays it on the line every snap. He refused to go down several times. Fred (Reid) came in and stepped up after we had regulated him to third down after he had had some bad plays. We had some guys out there injured who stepped up and fought through it and played for us."

After they went up 20-13, talk about your sequence of plays on your next possession.
"That was the series we had some guys open and we missed them. We felt like we had to throw the ball a little more because they were stacking the line to stop the run. When they put eight guys in the box, you don't get a better opportunity to throw the football. That is what you hope for. You hope that you run the ball well enough so that they have to put 8 or 9 guys on the line and leave your receivers one on one on the outside and throw whatever you want to. But we don't make the plays."

Talk about UAB's wide receivers.
"Both of those guys are good receivers. They have two excellent receivers. They are big guys who can run. If they get on top of you you have a real problem."

You seem to be more frustrated than you have been after earlier losses. Is there any particular reason for that?
"I guess I'm not supposed to talk about decisions made by people in other uniforms but, yeah, that was frustrating out there today. Our kids are fighting their guts out and every call goes against them, every single call. And things on the other side of the field are not being called. I was very disappointed in that."

Is this the most improvement you have seen from your team?
"Yes, I wanted them to approach today like it was the first game of the regular season, because it was the first time to me through seeing them in practice that they have bought into what we are trying to get done. In practice this week, to me, was the first time that they have even looked like a football team. I think that showed early in the game. The enthusiasm, the way they were pulling for each other, everybody had their oars in the water and everybody was pulling for each other. That is the first time that that has happened this season. I'm encouraged by that. I'm disappointed in the loss, but I'm proud of the way these guys fought. But we have to learn to pay attention to the details and doing the little things right all the time. Then, when it comes down to one on one we just make plays."

How big was their touchdown drive at the start of the second half?
"That was damaging. You can't let them come out and do that. We get them to go three and out, that changes everything. But they just marched the ball down the field and scored. We have to be able to stop them from running the football and make them one-dimensional. I was concerned about them throwing the ball deep on us, but my attitude was if they beat us, beat us throwing. I'm very disappointed that we can't shut down the run. Until we figure out a way to shut the running game down, we have no chance to beat anybody. If they can run the football up and down the field, then they can do anything they want to do."

What are your plans for this week since you have an open date this Saturday?
"We are going to give them some rest and then go out and work on fundamentals. We are going to work against each other, first against first. Some of our young guys are going to be given a lot more work. But a lot of it is going to be fundamentals. Friday, we are going to run them at 6 o'clock in the morning, then give them the weekend off. I want them to come back renewed, refreshed and ready for the rest of the season."

How far have you come these first 6 games?
"It is real simple. The way I look at it is there are guys playing that I didn't think would be playing. I couldn't see the blocks but Bryson Davis had to have blocked well. He had to the way we were running the football up in there. If you told me that Bryson Davis would be starting for us today because he earned it, if you had told me that in the spring I would have said no way. Brian Anderson started at left guard. After the Vanderbilt game, I was told that Brian Anderson wouldn't be ready for two weeks. When we found out that the ankle was not broken, I said he will be there because that is the kind of kid he has developed into. He is not a great player, but every fiber of his body is put into it every day. When I see kids continue to do that, I know we are going in the right direction. They are establishing a sound foundation for this program to be built on. That is character and a winning attitude. I am pleased with that. Those that aren't, I'm not going to worry about them, because this is part of the plan and part of the process. I asked my players to maximize their best, to play their best. I think that most of our players are strating to do that."

How well did you think that Titus Brown played?
"Titus is still learning. He is not the greatest athlete in the world, but he has a big heart and will go out there and fight them tooth and nail for 60 minutes. That is why he is playing. I want fighters in this program and he is a fighter."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by (, the source for Mississippi State sports on TheInsiders sports network. You can contact him by email at

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