Middle Tennessee State quotes

See what Middle Tennessee coach Andy McCollum and his players have to say about their season and their upcoming game against Missouri.

Coach Andy McCollum

On Missouri:

I'll tell you what jumps out, and I've seen it on film this week, defensively, they play hard. When you talk about teams playing hard, they play hard. They play with great effort. That really stands out when you watch them. On offense, their offensive line is big. They have a physical offensive line. Their quarterback is a Heisman Trophy candidate. He'll be the third really good quarterback we've seen in a row for our defense. They've got receivers that can make plays and they have backs that run well. They'll spread the field and do some things offensively. We've got to pick it up and get better from where we were a week ago, starting up front. They're a good football team. They've done great things in three years. They're 3-0 and #23 in the country, so we know the challenge ahead of us. We know it's another tough trip, even though it's another great opportunity for us. We're going to practice and we're going to go in there believing in ourselves.

On playing BCS teams:

I want them to, number one, understand that we don't have much room for error against these teams. Just because I'm mad, doesn't mean that I don't like them. These kids are doing some things that a lot of programs [would find] tough. But, that's why we came to Middle Tennessee - for these challenges. And we also know that, on the right day, we can overcome them. We know that, when we have a 12-play drive going and we're about to score, we can't have a holding penalty. That's where we have to keep growing and overcoming with our mentality. This team is a good football team. I still believe that. We're going to go to Missouri and play the #23 team in America and see what we can get done there. It's not a matter of liking them or not liking them. With this team, after you go on these trips and you play with great effort and you play your tails off and you don't win, it starts hurting you. At the same time, we've got to look at whom we played, where we played, and how we played. What we can control is what we do. That's what we have to do. I woke up Sunday morning. We made it back from the trip. We're going to pull it together. I think when you get in these situations, there are some individuals that need to step it up to another level. We have some guys that, as a team, need to keep growing closer together when you go through these things. The things we went through last year should help us learn. We made tough road trips last year. These two years have been the toughest on us as far as those things are concerned. But, we can't look at it and say we're bad. We've got to look at it and say that we're going to be better because of it. At the same time, you have to be realistic and say, we just played a team that has played its best game. Just once, you hope that you go into one of these environments and have the other team not [play up to their potential]. I don't know what we've done to make these other teams mad at us so they play their best game against us. I haven't figured that one out, either. If Clemson plays the way they did in the previous two weeks, then we feel like we have a chance to go in there and win the football game. All we can control is what we do and how we play. We can have stupid penalties. We had some stupid penalties that hurt us. We had a couple of stupid ones that we can control, and we have to do a better job of that. We've got to learn to overcome penalties, because that's going to happen to us on the road.

On Brad Smith:

When they put Heisman next to your name, that's pretty special. He can run, he can throw, he can do a lot of things. We've got to be disciplined and we have to be relentless with effort. We've played good quarterbacks, and this is the third one. [Whitehurst] is pretty good, too. This is our third great quarterback [in a row]. He brings a little different dimension because he can throw and run well. They have good running backs, they have a big line, and they have a center that I recruited out of high school, A.J. Ricker, who I recruited before I came here. I know what kind of person he is and I know how big he is. This is another great challenge for us. We're going to get ready. This is our next one. That page is turned from last week. We got beat by a good Clemson team, that's about as simple as it is. It wasn't that we were a bad team that day, they were good that day. We've got to grow from that, learn from our mistakes, and see what we can do better.

On Missouri's defense:

The thing that impresses me the most is that they play hard. They are running to the football - everybody. That's where you get started on defense. I like the way they play defense. They bring people; they're a big zone blitz team. They're going to bring five a lot. That's what got my attention more than anything. As a group they really run to the football and play really hard.

Running back Don Calloway

On Missouri's defense:

"I haven't seen any film yet, but you would think they have a pretty good defense because they haven't given up very many points. We just need a good game plan and we don't need to shoot ourselves in the foot with penalties."

On playing Georgia, Clemson and Missouri in a row:

"Last year when we started off against Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky, a lot of guys got hurt and that really hurt our team. I think right now it's helping us because the young guys are getting more playing time. So when we get to conference games and someone gets hurt, those young guys can step in and play."

Linebacker Randy Arnold

"We just have to look at the good things and take away the negatives. We like the challenges [of playing teams like Georgia and Clemson]. It makes us better as a team. We just hope it carries over to the conference games."

On Brad Smith

"He is very mobile and a good athlete. He will do things on his own if he doesn't see what he wants and he does what he needs to go to be successful. We have to keep him in the pocket and make him throw the ball. It's very important that we stay disciplined and stick to our assignments. We have to give our defensive backs a chance to break on the ball."

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