Q: And you were starting over a pretty good player? "I was like whoa, Coach, what you talking about?!"
"I know we're young but hey, we played ball. You've got to get after it."
Q: Both quarterbacks got the ball to receivers in positions to both catch it and get more yards? "Tyler and Chris are excellent players, excellent quarterbacks, they both can run, they both can pass. But they always seem to find you at the right time. And they're young, both of them are young! So I think we're going to be pretty good."
Q: Where State has settled for just a few receivers, it looks like there are many more guys to go-to this year? "Yes sir, we don't have Anthony Dixon in the backfield this year so I think Coach was kind of depending on us this year, to get the ball and show everybody we can pass instead of just giving it to a running back every play."
Q: You beat Memphis' coverage, but you know Auburn is another matter? "So we've got to come to play with Auburn. They had a real good season last year and this year are going to have a better season, but we're trying to come out with a victory this year. So they're going to work hard and we're going to try to out-work them. And I think we are going to out-work them."
QUARTERBACK CHRIS RELF:
Q: Did you expect the offense to perform this well the first game? "Yes, we worked hard, we were in the film room, trying to do everything right. We just came out and executed. We did what we expected."
Q: Coach Mullen said after the interception you told him ‘don't worry about it'? "Yes, sir, I told him we were going to score the next drive. I had that confidence in me."
Q: What did you see on the first touchdown? "I saw the safety was playing quarters-coverage and saw Leon, I just hit him in a hole shot."
Q: Did you enjoy a game where you didn't have to rush a lot? "Oh, it doesn't matter to me, I just want to go play and win."
Q: Do you think you and Tyler have a good rotation going? "Coach wanted Tyler to play a lot tonight, he felt I had more experience. It was fun watching him, I think he threw the ball very well."
Q: How does this build your confidence going into Auburn? "We had the same feeling before going into the game. We have high expectations of this team, because we've worked so hard. We just expect to win."
DEFENSIVE END PERNELL McPHEE:
Q: "When we ran blitzes it was pretty fundamental. But our steps, we showed different things like we were coming one way and were going the other way. So we knew what we were doing. I think the guys were really hungry, Coach put it in their heads this is what we've been working for, so they were really hungry tonight."
Q: Did you feel as if you were taking advantage of new quarterbacks? "No doubt, we knew the quarterbacks were young an inexperienced so we said we were going to go get after them."
Q: Were you angry that you didn't get the shutout? "I'm really angry! I'm like they got too many yards, I felt they weren't supposed to score."
Q: What made the defense so strong on third downs? "Blitzes, messing up young quarterback's head. And the noise from the crowd, too."
"We said when we were in the locker room that this is behind us, we expected to win, now let's get it focused for Auburn."
QUARTERBACK TYLER RUSSELL:
Q: What did this game do for your confidence? "It just boosts my confidence a lot. This is what I wanted to do, this game, coming in and do really well. I knew I had to come out here and make a couple of plays. It helps my confidence a lot."
"You can't go into a game just thinking you're going to blow-out somebody, so we came in like it was Auburn or Alabama, we came ready to play."
Q: Talk about the 91-yard drive and the confidence it gave? "I just got the ball into playmakers' hands. That's really what makes my job easy. I don't think I got hit but one time and that was when I fumbled the ball. As a group we did really good."
Q: Do you practice dropping the snap, picking up the bounce and completing a pass? "Nah, that wasn't planned at all! I knew I was going to get on trouble if I didn't try to make a play with it, so I just tried to make a play."
Q: On the first touchdown to Heavens did you want the throw back at first? "I couldn't see, I just heard all the fans screaming and saw when he came up with the ball. But I did see when I let the ball go that it went right through the safety's hands, I'm glad I got that one off with!"
Q: When did Coach say you were going to play the rest of the way? "It really wasn't anything planned, it was Chris or me and that's how we did it."
Q: What did Coach Mullen say to you after the game? "He just said ‘good job' to everybody, he didn't single me out or anything like that. The offensive line did a great job, the running backs did a great job, the defense did a real good job. And that's what prepared us as an offense, the defense going through fall camp."
"This game is over with. Now we have to prepare for Auburn."
MIDDLE LINEBACKER CHRIS WHITE:
Q: Well, you almost scored the shutout? "Yes, almost did. I was mad when they scored, real mad!"
Q: What made the defense so effective overall? "Really just being physical and going at them, going at them. We played pretty well with the defenses we were in.
Q: The defense blitzed a few times, showed an odd-front a couple of series, but kept it basic most of the game? "We really didn't have much an idea what Memphis was going to do. So we just worried about ourselves."
Q: How much fun was it watching the offense put up points all game? "It was awesome, I loved it! Whenever a game starts I'm always looking at the offense like ‘please score, please score'. And they were definitely scoring tonight and I was loving it!"
Q: Both sides of the ball used a lot of young guys and they were playmakers? "Definitely. Brandon Heavens and Chad Bumphis are both balling-out and I loved seeing that. This was kind of Brandon's first start tonight and he definitely did good. And Vick Ballard played really well."
TAILBACK ROB ELLIOTT:
Q: All three tailbacks were able to get on the field and make plays tonight? "The rotation was real good. We know that we're not going to be taking lumps on a lot of plays, we're going to be rotating so whenever we're in we want to go out there and execute our jobs to 100%."
Q: How much better physically did you feel tonight than any time last year? "I mean I felt real good, knowing I was going to go out there and play. I just felt good."
WIDE RECEIVER CHAD BUMPHIS:
Q: What was working between you and the quarterbacks? "Everything! Just the work we put in in the offseason showed up tonight."
Q: Did it bother you at all not to start? "Not at all. Y'all saw how good Brandon is and as long as we're putting up numbers like that it doesn't matter who starts, as long as we come away with a win. It really doesn't matter! We've got a good receiver corps and all the receivers and quarterbacks have a good connection. So as long as we're putting up points and having good numbers it doesn't bother me at all!"
Q: Did Tyler's play tonight surprise you? "Not at all Tyler is my roommate so we've been talking about his for a while. It's actually like a visualization. We just talk about things we think will happen and talk about coverages and what we've got on certain plays. Just everything, actually. Q: Do you sense that confidence in him? "Oh, yes, he's a totally different person than he was last year." Q: How were you so open downfield on both touchdowns? "I really want to give credit to Coach (Manny) Diaz (defensive coordinator), because after going against them in practice any defense that we see on the field is so much easier. Because they are so confusing that when we get out there we can read the coverages and what we've got to run. And Memphis played some kind of weird coverage where they left the middle of the field open, so it was pretty easy actually."
Q: So were those called patterns or read-and-adjust plays? "I was adjusting to the coverage, just sight-adjustment on the routes."
Q: Will it be hard to keep spreading the ball against defenses like Auburn? "I don't think it will be too much harder. It won't let them be able to zero in on one receiver, they'll have to guard multiple receivers. I think it will actually help us get open more in one-on-one coverages."
WIDE RECEIVER LEON BERRY:
Q: Talk about your touchdown play? "I kind of knew it was going to be open, the safety was kind of biting on everything so we just did a little fake and bubble and I ran it in."
Q: With some help from Arceto Clark at the goal line? "I loved that block, I gave him credit for it. Without him blocking like that I probably don't score." "Tyler did good tonight. He threw the ball very well and all our receivers caught the ball."
Q: Was that the spread working at its best? "It was at the best tonight. I mean, we all caught the ball, I think most of us had catches and Chad and Brandon had 100 yards. So it pretty much worked real good tonight."
"Coach just said come out and play at a championship level and that's what we did the second half. The first half was kind of slow but the second half we played at a championship level."
SAFETY CHARLES MITCHELL:
Q: The defense held Memphis to 2-of-15 on third downs, and lots of those were short third downs? "Like I said, the defense played pretty well. Coach Diaz dialed it up, I think we executed all our calls and didn't have too many missed assignments. Everybody seemed prepared and we played like we were."
Q: And you did it without showing too many blitzes or new coverages? "Everybody played their technique and their assignments and we didn't have to run too much. Everybody just did their job tonight. We showed a good bit, and every week the gameplan is going to change so you never know what you're gong to see."