MTSU Insider: Rick Stockstill

Middle Tennessee Head Coach Rick Stockstill talks about this week’s game vs UTSA.

MTSU Head Coach Rick Stockstill’s Excerpts from Monday’s Press Conference

Opening Statement
"Coming off a really good win last week. I'm proud of our effort in getting that win on the road. Like I've said many times, it's hard to win games. It's hard to win conference games. It's doubly hard to win on the road. I'm really proud of our team. We have a really good UTSA team coming in here this weekend. They are 4-4. I think the thing that stands out to me is that they are an extremely fast team and athletic team like they were last year. I thought they were really explosive last year, but I think they are faster and more explosive this year. They are really good on defense. They are second in the conference in scoring defense. I think they are only giving up 26 points a game, and then they are about third, fourth or fifth in total defense. Offensively, they are doing a great job with ball control. They run the ball and then they will hit you with explosive plays like you saw them do against Southern Miss. They put up over 50 points and had a lot of explosive plays in the game. We've got to do a good job from that standpoint of keeping the ball in front of us. They are right behind us in turnover margin. We have done a really good job. We have only turned the ball over eight times this year, and I think they are right behind us at nine. They are doing a good job of protecting the ball. They are very sound in the kicking game. Their kickoff coverage and punt teams are right up there at the top of the conference. This is a really good football team coming in. They had a tough, close loss earlier in the season against Arizona State. They had a five overtime loss a few weeks ago to UTEP. This team could very well have a few more wins under their belt. They are really well coaches. They play extremely fast. They play extremely tough and physical. We have to do a great job this week. It's going to be another four-quarter game that we have to get ready to play."

On UTSA's new coaching staff and schemes…
"They have a new staff. Frank Wilson has done a nice job. Coach (Frank) Scelfo is their new offensive coordinator. I've known him for a long time. They do a great job of running their offense. They'll get in big sets and try to hammer the run at you. They'll spread you out and still run the ball. They'll get in big sets and max protect to try to get deep shots. They have great skill players. How is it different from last year? We played them at the end of the year and they were a really depleted team from an injury standpoint last year. Schematically, it is different. It's not vastly different, but it is a little bit different from last year. They have good coaches, and they do a good job of running their schemes.

On forcing turnovers against FIU…
"To me, turnovers, you can do everything right. We practice turnovers a ton. We emphasize it a ton every day. Our defense tries to get them and sometimes the ball bounces your way and you get them. Other times you make a play and you get it. When that opportunity comes, you can't be a hand clapper like I say. You drop an interception and clap your hands. You almost get a fumble you can't be sitting there clapping your hands, 'man, I almost made it.' You have to make a play when your opportunity comes. We did a good job of that last week with the turnovers we had. We had an opportunity to get another one and we didn't. When your opportunity comes in any facet of the game, when you get an opportunity you have to make a play."

On red zone defense…
"I think FIU is three-out-of-three last week in the red zone. Our defense has done really well in the red zone. We spend a lot of time on it. It's a critical area of the field. When the field reduces the windows get tighter. It's about execution and playing your responsibility and not doing something out of character that you're not supposed to do out of the scheme of the defense. Our defense plays hard and competes. We do a lot of good things. When you get down there, that's when execution and doing your job and doing what you are coached to do in that critical situation is paramount. You have to make a play when you get down there. You don't get points for getting down there, you have to cross that white line. That's the mentality of our defense, do not give them anything and make them snap it one more time."

On becoming bowl eligible…
"It's elating. I'm extremely happy and proud for these players. We've been bowl eligible eight out of my 11 years. That's hard to do, especially with the people we play out of conference. I'm really proud of what we have done. I'm proud for our seniors, these guys that have been here four or five years. They can leave here and say 'I was bowl eligible every year I was in college.' To me, that's a tremendous accomplishment for those guys. I'm really happy for them. I'm really proud of them. I talked to them about it yesterday. One of our goals was going to a bowl game. You cannot go to a bowl game unless you get bowl eligible. We got bowl eligible. We won't talk about it anymore. Now it UTSA this week. I'm proud of our team for being able to accomplish that."

On having one of the best offenses in school history this season…
"Statistically, last year was our best offense. I think this year is our most balanced offense. If we continue working to improve and make plays, this could go down as the best offense in this school's history. I'Tavius and Brent are really good players. The offensive line has done a great job. Ty Lee, Dennis Andrews, Pat Smith and some of the other guys who have been contributing are having good years too. We have good players on this team. Let's finish out the year and see how it unfolds."


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