SEC Coaches Preview Weekend

Woody Widenhofer, Vanderbilt: "Right now we are reeling from the South Carolina game. I thought we were going to play a good and tough game. We went down 14-0 and were able to battle back, then we blew the opportunity we had to win, which I felt moved us a step back."

Widenhofer continued: "It was very disappointing because if you stay close you can usually have a chance to win. I know Duke has got to believe this is an opportunity for them to get a win so I'm looking forward to see how this team rebounds from this loss."

Phillip Fulmer, Tennessee: "We're excited to play a very fine South Carolina football team. Obviously it's a huge game regarding the SEC East standings. They are a very fine and well coached football team that we expect to have a heck of a football game with."

"This is one of the bigger weekends that I can recall as far as the standpoint of so many big games being played on the same weekend. I think as a coach, and you have to prepare your team as well as in every aspect, including stadium noise. We manage our team as the conference directs us and the referees have not called a foul on our crowd, or any crowd in the Southeastern Conference, so I don't expect any this weekend."

Nick Saban, LSU: "Dominating the third quarter last week was certainly a point of emphasis for us last week against Mississippi State. We felt we needed to do some things differently at halftime, so there was a special emphasis that we need to play an entire 60 minutes and I was glad to see it come around. Eli (Manning) is as good as any quarterback in this league. As the season's gone along, he's become more poised. He's smart, a good decision maker and accurate throwing the football. I think the Ole Miss coaching staff does a good job of utilizing Eli's talents."

Guy Morriss, Kentucky: "This open date came at a good time for us because we are pretty beat up right now. Hopefully, this time off will give us time to get healthy again. We played a close game against Georgia but we just couldn't find a way to get it done. I think that we are headed in a positive direction as a team. There's been some philosophical changes that, as a coaching staff, we felt needed to be corrected and I think our kids have adapted well. Our biggest problems defensively has been injuries, so we do have a little bit of a drop off when we put our back-ups in there, so we do have a problem on that side of the ball and that's something we need to address in recruiting."

Steve Spurrier, Florida: "We were off last week and we are now at pretty much at full speed and we are looking forward to playing the Bulldogs this year. Playing after a loss is usually a lot more fun when you win your game before the bye week, so it hasn't been much fun around here. Both Florida and Georgia have a chance of winning the East Division, so it is a crucial game for each team and should be a good one as usual when these two teams get together. We know what we need to do to win games and that's what we've been focusing on. I haven't watched a lot of Georgia's offense, but they are certainly playing well. Georgia throws well, runs well, plays good defense and are strong on special teams. They are just a good overall team and it should be a great football game."

Lou Holtz, South Carolina: "We've only had two practices this week, one in pads and one in shorts, and they've been pretty sharp. I am opposed to coaches that take their fans out of the game and I want to have the opportunity to call our signals the same way as the opposing team. I am all for crowd noise, especially in college football, but I just didn't feel we didn't have a chance to call our signals against Arkansas. I'm not going to use any excuses for our loss to Arkansas, but we missed some assignments and couldn't hear some play calls. This is a big weekend for the East teams. Normally you would expect to have three good teams in the East. We've been able to sneak in there, but I'm not sure we belong there. I don't think we have the poise or experience to be there, but anything can happen. I'm just worried about us playing the type of football we are capable of playing."

Mark Richt, Georgia: "I think the difference playing Florida as a head coach versus an assistant coach at Florida State is if we win we have a chance to get where we want to go. It will be new for me to play in Jacksonville Stadium with a true 50/50 split. Our defense certainly has to step up because we cannot win a scoring contest with Florida. The kids are confident that David Greene is not going to fade and confident he will sling the ball in there when called upon."

Dennis Franchione, Alabama: "I think the open week comes at a good time for us physically and mentally. This gives us an opportunity to re-evaluate some things and get our legs back underneath us as we go into the last week of the season. I think our guys are learning the level of leadership it takes to become successful. Leadership is a factor in any close game and it is always great to have someone on your team who just won't let you lose, but those kind of leaders are rare and very special when they are on your team.

Jackie Sherrill, Mississippi State: "We gave the players off on Monday and they'll get Friday off as well. We have a lot of players that this comes at the right time because they need to get healthy. We need to start putting points on the board and Kevin (Fant) didn't do that plus he had a couple of turnovers, so we'll start Wayne (Madkin) but we'll use Kevin some. I'm worried that some of the players on this team are not with us mentally, but those players are not playing. You get a lot of people saying a lot of different things right now. We were predicted near the top of the conference, but this is something which a lot of teams have gone through and we are certainly not the first or the last. The biggest thing I can tell our kids is the most important thing is to stay together as a team. We played with enough effort in the first half against LSU to win that game. It is our job as a coaching staff to put the team in the position to win by picking the right plays, but it is the players job to execute those plays on the field."

Houston Nutt, Arkansas: "We needed the additional week to get our guys back on the field and needed the extra week to prepare for a very tough Auburn team. The thing that coaches love so much is watching how much your team improves. Our offense has come a long way from that first night in August. If you continue to play without turning the ball over you can always have a chance to win."

David Cutcliffe, Ole Miss: "No question this is our biggest challenge to date and possibly the biggest challenge we'll face all season. Eli has been outstanding thus far. He's been tough, and resilient mentally and physically and there's not much more you can ask from one player than what we've asked from him. Eli enjoys his teammates and enjoys the game of football which makes him more resilient when it comes to dealing with those pressures."

Tommy Tuberville, Auburn: "We are preparing for our last four games which are all conference games --- three of those are on the road -- so we will have our work cut out for us. We are a better football team than what we were at the beginning of the year. Our game against Arkansas is very important. They are a team that has probably improved more than any team in the conference and we have to play them in Fayetteville which is a very tough place to win a game." Top Stories