Sept. 25, 2006
Head Coach Frank Solich
On Bowling Green:
"When you turn the film on, you see an aggressive football team. You see it on both sides of the ball, and that always gives you an opportunity to win. They've got some good players. They've got some skill players that can make big plays on you. When you look at their offensive line, it's comparable to some of the best offensive lines we've faced so far. I think they've got a good combination of things. Sometimes things don't click for a number of reasons. You can't give up six turnovers like they did in this last ball game and expect to be in it. That's a little rough, but that's not typical of them. You can have that kind of game every now and again and find yourself losing a game you could have been in had you done a little better job taking care of the ball. Kent State is obviously a much-improved football team and really moving in the right direction. How that all worked there, I don't know. In any case, Bowling Green is a good football team. I think they have the capability of winning every time they step on the field. I'm sure they'll come in here with a lot of confidence."
On last year's Bowling Green game:
"They gave us opportunities last year. We got some early turnovers, but were not able to take advantage of them. We weren't able to keep pace with them scoring last year so they'll come in with a great deal of confidence."
On the Bowling Green offense without last year's starting quarterback Omar Jacobs:
"They've played three different quarterbacks this year. I think their original starter (Antony Turner) has missed two games. Where he's at health-wise, I don't know. They've had two other guys playing. The true freshman (Tyler Sheehan) is a good thrower. The other quarterback (Freddie Barnes) is an excellent runner. They have an offense they can utilize the skill of the quarterback they need to utilize, a running quarterback or a throwing quarterback. It doesn't seem to matter which one lines up. They have the ability to run an offense against you. If you can settle in on one quarterback, generally that's the best thing for a football team, and most coaches would agree with that. Several things have happened. That injury has caused them to be where they're at, but both can beat you."
On the similarities between Missouri's offense and Bowling Green:
"There are some similarities in what they do compared to Missouri. That probably helps us out some, but it also helps them out some as to how we might throw some fronts up against that."
On playing at home after three weeks on the road:
"It'll be good to be back at home for several reasons. It will be good to get in front of our fans again and start to play some games in our stadium. Certainly, traveling three games in a row is difficult for any football team, and we just happened to travel against three pretty good football teams if you look at the collection of wins that those three teams have gathered over the course of the season so far. That was not easy on this football team. And the traveling itself can cause a toll on you. There are a lot of reasons to feel good about coming back home. We just want to make sure we line up at home and play really well."
On the team's attitude after three tough road games:
"The encouraging thing is we've played hard every football game that we've played this year. We've played for four quarters. I like a lot of things about our football team. We need to learn how to put it all together to where we can win against the kind of competition we've faced on the road this year. We've won one. The two that we lost, we lost by a final score that isn't what we're after, but there were just a few things along the way that could've changed that and made those two games into a game. There are things to work at, but I'm not discouraged one bit by what this football team has been about. In fact, I'm extremely encouraged and looking forward to the rest of the season to see how this thing plays out."
On playing the next two at home:
"Both MAC schools will be extremely challenging. Western Michigan is playing extremely well. Certainly, Bowling Green, they're program is such that they plan on playing well, and will play well this year. We feel good about what we've done in some areas, not so good in other areas. We need to get some things corrected, but I think we'll be able to do that."
On the importance of Saturday's game:
"It's maybe as big of a football game that we've played since this staff has been here. It gives us a chance to show that we're a winning football team. It gives us a chance to show that we're making progress against one of the top teams in the MAC. It gets us halfway home to being bowl eligible. If you get this one done, you've got a winning season up to this point. It doesn't get any bigger than this one. This is huge for us. It's also huge for Bowling Green. They're an excellent program, and they plan on getting things done in this conference yet."
On what they learned from this last road trip:
"(Laughing) Don't take road trips. Try to get your schedule such that you're playing a lot of games at home. That's what a good share of the teams in a lot of conferences around the country do. If you start to look at the Big 12, the Big Ten and those conferences, and look at the teams they're playing in the non-conference, they're not as challenging a lot of times as the teams on the MAC non-conference schedule. A lot of those games are played on the road. That puts you behind the eight ball right away, but it gives you an opportunity to play excellent programs in front of excellent crowds. It shows you how you respond to it and can certainly help develop your football team in that manner. I think we have grown from that experience on the road."
On both Rutgers and Missouri cracking the top 25 polls this week:
"They deserve to be ranked. We felt they were very, very good football teams going in, and we feel that way coming out of those games. They're excellent football teams this year. They've both played well enough. They're both undefeated. I think from the defensive standpoint, if I'm not mistaken, they're both in the top 10 (in total defense). It's not just your average defensive teams that we've been going against. We've shown some flashes of being able to do some things well against some of the best defense being played in the country. Now, we just have to show that we can get it done consistently enough against those styles of defenses."
On the Bobcats' kicking game:
"We left points on the field in the kicking game. If anyone can count well, they can count the number of points we left on the field. It's hurt us two weeks in a row. We had that field goal blocked the previous week against Rutgers. We need to get some things corrected there because we have the potential to win the special teams game against everybody that we line up against. I'm convinced of that still. We need to certainly improve on that area."
On the Bobcats' defense:
"Defensively, we've been playing pretty well, but we can play better. We can control games a little bit more from the defensive side of it, and we need to make sure that that starts happening as we get into MAC play."
On the Bobcats' turnover ratio:
"The one thing I'm disappointed in is the turnovers. We've given up more turnovers than we've gotten, and generally that doesn't lead to success. We have got to change that around. The rest of the statistics aren't out of whack, but that one we have to lead. We have to get to the point where we're getting more turnovers than we're giving up. If we do that then we'll put ourselves into position to win. Then, as an offense, we have to learn, once we do take over with good field position because of a turnover, to put points on the board. We've not done that at the rate you need to do it."
On whether they'll be any special teams changes this week:
"None with our kicker. Matt does it all for us. The first field goal that was blocked (against Rutgers) was because of an outside rush between our tight end and wing. I think we've got that taken care of. The extra point and field goal blocks that occurred this past week were from low kicks. That's something that Matt doesn't do. He's been great at getting the ball up. That's been one of the best things he's done. He's got a strong leg. What caused him to all of the sudden to have two low kicks, I don't know. We'll get back to continuing to work it hard, but there's no major changes that have to be made other than just doing things technique-wise the way we're capable of doing them."
On whether the recent offensive struggles are a result of the opponents or the team's execution:
"There's some execution things that we're not pleased with. We're going to have to get a lot better to have a winning football team this year. Blitzes and movement have been hurting us. There's things you can do to take advantage of that, and we have put ourselves in position to do it, but we have not executed well enough to do it. Our practice will be built around that this week in terms of really picking up things and executing well against the kind of movement we need to execute against to have a chance at some big plays."
On keeping Missouri running back Tony Temple below 100 yards:
"He may not have reached his average, but they were still able to spread us out wide enough and get some creases in there and make some big plays in the running game. It wasn't just something that fell apart for us. Missouri, as well as being an excellent running team, their quarterback threw the ball well against us. They had a good combination of things going against us. We controlled a lot of big plays except for a couple of busts. That didn't get out of whack where they had awful long runs and awful long runs. They did have some deep throws, but they executed those well and we didn't defend them well. I'm okay with a lot of the things we're doing on the defensive side of it. It's not a deal where we allowed them to drive 80 yards every time they got the football. Last year was a little discouraging. We had a ton of big plays (against us). We're getting about as many big plays as the opponent gets, but the idea is to get more. Last year was way out of whack with us getting way too few and the opponent getting way too many. We've made some big strides defensively along those lines. We still need to get better."
On the team's progress:
"I'm fairly well pleased with the direction it's going. The attitude is great. We've stepped on the field every time this year with the belief that we're going to win. We've won two of the four. That's not what we're after, but we haven't wavered from our belief in what kind of football team we have."
Senior Defensive Lineman Shane Yates:
On getting to play at home for the first time since Sept.2
"It's always a challenge to go on the road and play well. We've done that somewhat. It's always a challenge, especially when you play three road games in a row. It takes a toll on you being in a hotel room, always being in a new environment. It's going to be really nice to get to play at home again. It's always an advantage to have your home stands, your home crowd and be in an environment that you're comfortable with and you're used to. It's a good feeling."
On the importance of the game:
"Every week is the biggest week, but with this one in particular, we have a chance to come back and be 2-0 in the MAC. It most definitely is the biggest game for us. It's a chance to really get some momentum in the MAC and come off two losses to really prove we're a good team."
On whether there's any added significance given Bowling Green's recent history in the series:
"They've had some excellent teams in the past, and they have a good team this year. They've been an outstanding performer, and we have an opportunity to beat a good Bowling Green team."
Senior Offensive Lineman J.J. Knabb
On playing at home this week:
"It's going to be nice. I think we had six hours on Friday that we spent traveling that we're not going to have to worry about traveling. Taking on another team from the MAC is exciting and getting out of the bulk of our non-conference schedule and into the meat of our schedule. The game really has a lot more importance on the end of the season."
On not having to face a top-10 defense this week:
"We've pretty much killed ourselves the last two weeks with execution errors. We've had chances, and we just didn't take advantage of them."
On facing Bowling Green for the first time since being injured against them last season:
"This week, at least for the three interior linemen, is going to be another special week because last year against Bowling Green all of us went down with ankle or knee injuries. It's the same week as last year. It's exciting to have us all back. We're just looking at like this time we can go out and really show that we're a good offensive line."
On what the offense has to do Saturday:
"We've had a lot of success this year passing compared to previous years, but we need to establish the run. That was our strength last year, and we need to continue on that. We need to say, `Hey, we're going to run the ball. We don't care what you throw at us because that's what we're about.' We need to get our yardage up the middle and then use that to spread them out with the pass."