Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill talked to the media Tuesday afternoon."> Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill talked to the media Tuesday afternoon.">

Jackie Sherrill Tuesday Afternoon Press Conference

<img src="http://www.genespage.com/images/coaches/football/sherrill.jpg" align="left" width="121" height="160"> Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill talked to the media Tuesday afternoon.

Coach Sherrill opening comments.

Practice yesterday
"We couldn't go outside yesterday (due to the wet fields)."

Playing Kentucky
"We have to be prepared for a lot of different things. One is certainly the quarterback (Jared Lorenzen) scrambling because of his big plays are when he scrambles. He is very, very difficult to bring down. He will not take a sack. He will throw it anywhere he can to try and move the ball down the field.

"What has helped them are two things. Their running back has been a very big plus and their receivers have been outstanding. They are running the football and doing things that they have not done at Kentucky in a long time. They are throwing the ball down the field more. When Hal (Mumme) was there they threw it east and west and very quick and very short.

"They have been very, very good in the kicking game and defensively they have played very well.

"The games they have played, according to Guy (Morriss), they may have just ran out of gas. In all the games they have played, they have been ahead or even at halftime and have not being able to hang on due to running out of gas."

"All of our players should be back and ready to play. (Holder) Joey Judge was operated on (Monday) so he will be out."

Remaining schedule
"We have five games in 26 days. We are going to have to be very, very cautious what we do in practice and very cautious on how much time we spend on the practice field. We will probably spend a lot more time in meeting rooms and getting ready to play than we will actually on the field."

Q & A with Coach Sherrill

What is Kevin Fant's status?
"We are going to do an MRI (Tuesday) to see why it hasn't jumped all the way back to 100%. After we get the (x-ray) back, we can either go like we have or push him a lot harder. He practiced (Monday). He is not running 100%, but there are a lot of things he can do very well. But as far as going full speed straight ahead; that is something that he can't do right now."

Are you surprised how well Michael Gholar has progressed?
"No, because he is a terrific athlete. The intangibles that Michael has completely separates him from a player that has a lot of ability. He is going to go 100% on every play. Everyday in practice, he goes 100%. He also learns on the run. The mistakes that he makes he won't make again. If he had been here for four years, he would certainly be a very high draft choice."

Talk a little about Korey Banks' play this year.
"He has improved in a lot of areas. What he is giving us on punt returns is great. I'm confident that Korey will be able to break some long ones or even score on a punt return. He also gives us an advantage when we are playing punt and safe - when we are keeping the defense on the field - you have the advantage of having him as the deep safety."

Talk about how important it is for Nick Turner to continue to be in school and at practice.
"It is easy for the young man to go elsewhere. The toughest thing is for the young man to come to practice everyday and look the other players in the eye.

"I'm not really going to dwell on that. There are a lot of things that I can't control that they are in the process of doing. As soon as that process is over, we will have the opportunity to go forward. I told the players before the Memphis game that if certain things happened, he would be suspended and if certain things happened, he would have to be dismissed. But that is between the players and myself, not outside people."

Will MSU have a chance to go to a bowl if they are 6-6?
"If we are 6 and 6 we will. Because (the SEC) has two teams that are not bowl-eligible, if you are 6 and 6, you will have a chance to go (to a bowl)."

A few weeks ago you mentioned that the team would become more physical in practice, but have you also become more vocal and tough in practice as well?
"I'm not any different than I was 50 years ago. I'm probably coaching a little more, but I'm the same guy. The coaches probably wish I wasn't (laugh), but that's ok."

How much have the last two wins helped this team?
"Anytime you win today, regardless of who you play, is a big deal."

Talk about Darius Tubbs and Carl Hutchins, both of whom are 5th year seniors.
"They are playing well. I am happy for Darius Tubbs and Carl Hutchins because those guys have been here for five years and now they are contributing and helping this football team win."

Talk about how Dontae Walker has done in practice.
"He practices hard. Dontae is one of the best practice players that we have. Dontae has the respect of the other players because he does practice hard."

Have you had a year where you had a slow start and turned it around? If so, what year did you do that?
"Oh yeah, in 1984 at Texas A&M. We turned it completely around and beat the two teams (TCU and Texas) at the end of the year that (eventually) won the conference. We had some young players that grew up and a couple of older players that weren't going to let the team lose that helped turn it around. We won the conference the next three years."

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

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