Nov. 14, 2000
ABOUT THE TEAM'S EFFORT IN THE SOUTHERN MISS GAME: "It's a lot easier on me today, because I can look back and see how they played and the enthusiasm and the effort they played with. We played really well, we just happened to play a team that also played really well. We needed to catch them a little off, maybe."
ON THE OVERTIME LOSS TO SOUTHERN MISS: "It was a killer. It really hurt us all. It was a tough locker room, and I hope that, as we're speaking here today, we're finally going to get over it. But it was really tough to take."
WHAT WILL LAST WEEK'S GAME DO FOR THE SOUTHERN MISS-UAB RIVALRY?: "Well, I think that for somebody in the stands that is a new fan and really enjoyed that game -- that's really all we as a football team can control -- to play well and be a fun team to watch. And then maybe they'll come back. I don't think there's any doubt that this will be a great rivalry. It got set as a rivalry Saturday, and we're so close, we recruit against each other, we're going to have some great rivalries. And I think that's what will bring the fans. As Southern Miss, Memphis and Louisville grow, those will be big rivalries and every time they come here we will have a nice crowd."
ON TRYING TO BOUNCE BACK FROM THE SOUTHERN MISS LOSS IN A TOUGH GAME AT ARMY: "They're 1-1 at home in our league. They threw an interception in the end zone with 20 seconds to go against Memphis and it was run back 100 yards for a touchdown, so they've won one conference game (vs. Tulane) and had a great opportunity to win the other. We're going to have to play very well to win. Army has gone into the fourth quarter with everybody in a close game, they've been put away in a lot of fourth quarters. So again, we had better play well. We've got to get ourselves up. We lost a lot Saturday night in that game (vs. Southern Miss). Sometimes, with 18, 19, 20-year-old guys, that's hard to recover from. But we've got to find a way to get up and go play hard again."
ON THE ARMY TEAM: "This is a team that has been in a lot of tough, close games. They've had to make the transition from the wishbone -- `true' wishbone -- to a pass-oriented offense. We saw them against Cincinnati early in the season and they really battled and had a chance to win. They lost close games to Houston and Memphis, and they pulled one out against Tulane. It's senior day for them Saturday, it will be emotional, and there's no doubt that they will be tough to deal with."
ON THE SUCCESSFUL RETURN TO ACTION OF WILLIE QUINNIE: "I didn't really (expect to get such a performance -- six receptions for 88 yards). He practiced a little during the week, we thought maybe we would just put him in maybe a play or two here or there, and he finally looked like he could run again. For some reason he didn't get sore once he was out there. What has happened before is that he would go a series or two and then all of a sudden his leg would get sore. This time it didn't happen. I anxious to see how he is today when we practice. It was a pleasant surprise -- and it really was a surprise, because we had absolutely no idea that he would play that much or that well. I think it shows people what we would have had there all season -- he's a playmaker. He's a speed guy. Southern Miss had to take a cornerback out of the game that couldn't cover him and put another one in. They just couldn't stay with him over there in their `man' coverage. So we've missed that all year long. He's the fastest player I've ever coached and that's why I was sick when he got hurt in the first game of the year (sprained knee vs. Chattanooga, Sep. 7)."
ON THE PLAY OF QUARTERBACK JEFF AARON: "He's got a great future for us. He's really getting his feet on the ground. He's passed for nearly 1,000 yards in just five games (as a starter), which is great, but that tells you what he's capable of doing. And that's with a bunch of kids (esp. receivers) that have been hurt that he's having to play with. It's somebody different every week. I think he's got a great future, I think we're on our way on offense."
ABOUT THE 2000 TEAM'S ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND THE FUTURE:
"I'm really excited about what we've accomplished. I'll be disappointed if we don't win this last game -- I think we all will. This senior class is set up for next year (2001). I think we will be if not the favorite, one of the favorites (in Conference USA) going into next season, with so many players back. This year's senior class has been a really good one, but out of the 21 seniors, only five are starters. That tells you what a great group it's been. They're good leaders, they're team players, they've done everything we've asked them to do. Their egos have not gotten in the way. It's a great group."