Select Coach Sylvester Croom PostGame Quotes

Opening Statement: "I wish Southeastern the best. It's been a tough week for them, and I thought they were a class team, they played hard throughout the course of the ball game."

"We did some good things tonight. I thought offensively we did some things we wanted to do. We had certain guys it was obvious they played well; Brandon McRae still making some plays, I thought Anthony Dixon ran hard, Christian Ducre definitely picked up his game tonight. I'll look at the film to see how the offensive line blocked.

"We executed some things better. We were moving the ball pretty much from the start the way we would have liked to, but we missed some key situations where we had errors.

"The thing that really concerns me now about the offense is we had fumbles in the first two games. And a couple of penalties. That still bothers me because that has not been characteristic. All I know is we'll keep working hard because going into conference play you can't give the other team opportunities.

"I thought our defense got better and started to resemble last year's defense more. We ran to the ball very well, I thought our tackling was improved—I'm talking more about the first unit. But again the thing that concerns me is there are too many balls on the ground we're not coming up with. A lot of it is hey, we've got to hustle and have 11 guys there. We make a statement all the time, 11 Dogs on a bone; we've got to have 11 guys there so we can get that ball when it's loose. We had a tip and an overthrow, last year we came up with those balls all the time. Those are the things that concern me.

"But I thought our effort was good. And I told our team in the dressing room, a lot of the questions I had about our team got answered this week in practice. I had questions about our leadership, about our discipline, about really the character of our team. But it showed up we've got some discipline, even though we're making mistakes there no finger-pointing or players turning on other players, no players turning on coaches after our loss last week. And this week provided a great opportunity for that. But the criticism we received, it was a great opportunity to fold up tent. So some leadership stepped up this week. Now I know how to deal with this team some. We can get better and move forward from here.

"We got a chance to play a lot of young guys. Some stepped up and some didn't as well as I would have expected them to. But I'll look at the film more closely before I comment any more on that.

Did you benefit from a one-quarterback plan? "It benefited from one quarterback playing well."

On using tight ends more this week: "I had some questions last week about not throwing to the tight end. We call plays to the tight end; the defense dictates where the ball goes. You can't just say hey, throw the ball to the tight end. Ever since I've been playing backyard football you throw the ball to the guy who's open. Regardless of who you call it to, you throw to the man who is open. That makes more sense to me than trying to force it to a guy."

"It's amazing, the one that went to Marcus (Green), that ball was called to Co-Eric (Riley). But the coverage rolled to Co-Eric and we were able to throw the ball to Marcus. That's what I want Wes (Carroll) to do, take what the defense gives us. Last week he forced some throws and they went the wrong way."

"We prepared all week for a 3-4 defense because that's all we'd seen them play. Did you see a 3-4 defense? I didn't see one! So you have to know what the plays are and understand. That's why we do the same things over and over again. I'm almost to the point of not scouting the other team and looking at the film because it's a waste of time. We get ready all week for a 3-4 defense and worry how we're going to identify that secondary, stay up all night. We could have been home sleeping! They line up in a four-down defense, you've got to be kidding me! Not any time this year or last year did they line up in a four-down defense."

"So I'm not worrying about what other teams do. We've just got to do what we do and get better at what we do."

On Austin Wilbanks' contributions: "That's another guy that stepped up, because Marcus missed a lot of practice this week. You saw, he was injured. And if he'd been healthy when he caught the ball that would have been a touchdown, easy. He was hurt last week and played most of the game. I hope we have him next week."

"But Wilbanks has been in our program, we've had a lot of walk-ons have success because once you get out there we don't care how you got there. If you're a player you're going to have a chance to play. He's stepped up and is making a valuable contribution to our team. He really stepped up in practice, we had a scrimmage the other day and I think he caught five or six balls, every opportunity he had to make a play this week he made it. He had an opportunity to make a play in the game and he did that."

On State going mostly with a three-man defensive front: "We used last year a lot, we call it our ‘cat' package where we have three down-linemen, three linebackers, and a couple of extra defensive backs. We used a lot of different variations, had four linebackers or three. It's something we wanted to move more to this year because of K.J. Wright and Dominic Douglas, they can give us that pressure outside. I think our ends are getting better but right now Dominic and K.J. are our best pass rushers so we go to that. Our safeties and linebackers allow us to do that, and it was a good scheme."

On Wesley Carroll's play: "I was pleased. And even there he missed a couple of reads. He got sacked on one of our option series, he hands the ball off and the guy is in the end zone, hits his hand on the goal post."

Is he surprised by Brandon McRae's early play: "No, I thought he was going to give this to us last year. Brandon is a very athletic guy, it's just maturing. The ability you could see that when he first got here, a big guy who can run as fast as he can run."

What it meant to have Derek Pegues back on the field: "It's like having a Mercedes, and they take the keys from you. When they give them back to you it feels pretty good to drive it."

How did his presence help coverage: "I wouldn't throw at him either! I definitely slept better this week because he was back. He's our best football, the best football player on the team. I don't hesitate saying that."

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