Larry Fedora's Southern Miss Press Conference

Southern Methodist University will close out its 08 season at home Saturday against Southern Mississippi in the finale for both teams. The Eagles are one game away from being Bowl eligible, the Mustangs are trying to win its first conference game of the year. Go inside Larry Fedora's press conference transcript from Monday to see what the first year coach had to say about the game.

Opening statement:

"We had a great open week, we got some good practices in, and we gave some young guys some work. We did some fundamental work and we got some guys a little more healthy, everybody is not where we would like them to be but we are making some progress."

On if Eddie Willingham will play against SMU:

"I have not made a decision yet."

On when he chose Austin Davis to be the starting quarterback:

"We obviously made a decision at the end of two-a-days when we thought he was ahead of the others. Even though we didn't say anything to anyone, it was not a day before the game decision. They were still getting equal reps at that time, we were still trying to make a final decision, but we were getting a feel that he was doing a good job of making decisions with the ball in his hands and taking care of the football and that was the biggest thing. We felt at that time of the year that we needed someone who would put us in a position of not losing the game, more than someone who had to make great plays all the time."

"He has probably exceeded what I was expecting going into the season, but then my expectations went up as I was able to see what he could handle. It wasn't until the fourth or fifth game, we started getting a feel for what he could handle, getting a little bit more here and a little bit more there. Again, I'm not saying he has arrived, because he hasn't, he still has a long way to go. But he has put us in a position where we have a chance to become bowl eligible if we take care of business this week."

On if winning the past three games is an inspiration:

"That is something that we can always talk about when things weren't good - what we did to get where we are. We spent a lot of time focusing on what it took to get where we are right now, what you did to get here, and remain focused on those things. Hopefully that is what will take us the rest of the way."

On the potential of a five-game winning streak:

"It would obviously be huge. There was a point there where everybody had written us off, but these guys kept fighting and they fought back. They have gotten themselves in a position now, where if we win on Saturday, we will achieve one of our goals. If we don't, all of those things will have been for nothing. If we take care of our business here, and get into a bowl game, who knows what will happen. Obviously, we want to ride that momentum into the off-season to get better, so we will be better next year, and you have to feel like it will help you in recruiting."

On if there is a bowl bid waiting if they win against SMU:

"It hasn't been explained to me that way. To be honest with you, it's not something I am talking to the team about and we haven't talked about it as a staff. Our focus is totally on SMU, that's all we have to worry about, that's all we can control. If we don't take care of our business then it's not going to matter. So our focus is SMU, nothing else."

On if anything has been done differently in the past three games:

"We are making those breaks and making plays. In those same scenarios earlier in the year, we were sitting there watching and not making a play, waiting for someone else to do it. Now we have guys stepping up, and when that opportunity comes up, we make the play, and earlier we weren't. Maybe that has to do with some of the inexperience we had, and now the guys are getting experienced and they are just going out and playing. They have some confidence. The game of football is a very emotional game and probably ninety percent of it is between the ears, you get your mind right and you feed off of each other. One guy makes a play, then another guy makes a play, and all of a sudden your whole team is making plays. When it's the other way, the other team makes a play and all of a sudden they make another play, then it's like they can't make a play. So hopefully we have learned from experience, we know what it takes, and the guys are stepping up and doing it."

On being ranked near the top of the country in number of snaps taken on offense:

"Going into this next game, if we have over eighty snaps, which we want to do, then I think we will be right back up there at the top."

"The more plays we get, the more opportunities we have to score. If you don't have a lot of plays then that means the defense will be on the field. The more plays you run offensively, the more chances you have to score, the more chances you have for big plays."

On Ryan McKee:

"I think Austin Davis has 821 snaps and Ryan McKee has 821 snaps on this season. I can't say enough about a guy (McKee) who day-in and day-out is rock solid and consistent. You don't have to worry about what he is going to do, how he is going play, he is going to be there, no matter what happens he is going to be there and he is going to be solid for you. That is huge, to play as many plays as he has, and to play the caliber ball he has played this year, has been outstanding."

On the offensive line:

"On the offensive line, there are six guys that have played basically the whole season. They have done a tremendous job of that. They are in shape, those 300-pounders that are playing every snap, not coming out, not taking a break; it says a lot about what they have inside of them."


"Offensively, they are throwing it every down. They have a quarterback who is a freshman, and he is doing a good job this season. Any time they spread you out like they do, and throw it every down, you obviously have to tackle well in space. You saw that Saturday night, that's what OU did - they tackled and there were no yards after the catch. Guys caught the ball and got tackled. That's what it's all about. They spread you out, hoping you don't make that tackle, and if you don't, then they have opportunity for a big play. We will have to do a great job at tackling. They don't run the ball very much, or they haven't in the past. They are averaging 44 or 45 yards a game, so they are going to do it in the air. Defensively, they are a four-man front the majority of the time. They are going to bring pretty much standard blitzes and are more of a bend and don't break type of deal, rather than coming to get you all of the time. We have to take care of our business. We can't turn the football over. We have to have a good tempo. We want to make sure we have over 80 plays and we have to tackle in open space. We have to do all of those things to be successful."

On if run-and-shoot was an inspiration that lead to the spread:

"The run-and-shoot was probably the first one out there when they started. Him (June Jones) and Mouse Davis, they were throwing it all over the place. So you would have to say that was probably one of the early types of spread. I can remember the guys at the University of Houston, when (John) Jenkins was there, they were slinging it everywhere, every down. From the other side, that scares you. Anytime you put the ball in there, if a guy slips, or doesn't make the play he should, they could have a big play. They could do it at anytime."

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