Nov. 20, 2006
On whether the team will have a different approach with the division championship already clinched:
"We keep moving forward with the approach that we've taken all year long. I don't think I could stand up in front of them (the players) and tell them that we're going to hold off a little bit, or not play everybody or take any kind of a different approach than what we've been taking. It's obvious that this is an important game for both teams. Miami is coming off a win against Bowling Green. We lost to Bowling Green. They want to finish the season off right, as we do. There is a rivalry between the two schools. We have not upheld our end of the rivalry. It ought be an excellent game against two teams that will play very, very hard. We need everybody that is physically able to play, to play. We are a little beat up from this game so hopefully, as the week goes on, we can get everybody back."
On the injury status of the Bobcat players:
"It's a status that I'm not going to really talk about. I don't do that very often, but I think coming into the final game of the regular season, having it being a short week for us, I think it's best that we don't address injuries at this point. It's against what I've normally been doing, but I think it makes sense."
On what this game means to the seniors:
"We don't try to build too much into any one particular game. We don't want to make much of the fact that it hasn't been a game we have been successful in because this year is a different year. When you get on a little bit of a winning streak you want to keep it going and keep the momentum moving forward. In order to do that, we've got to practice well and we have to play well. The seniors definitely want to finish this out right. They want to continue to play their best football. I think they're smart enough to know that unless we do all the right things and prepare to play well, that it's not going to get done. We need to prepare well and hopefully play well."
On playing the day after Thanksgiving:
"There's no problem with that. It's really no big deal to us. Because of the way the TV market is anymore and trying to build in schedules for all games, and certainly the MAC with its contract with ESPN getting placed on TV whenever you can brings games about almost any day of the week now. You understand that and you work with it knowing that the benefits can outweigh the negatives. Certainly, if we get a chance to be on ESPN in any manner, that's probably a plus for us."
"They're a very good offensive football team. They've got weapons. Certainly you look at their receivers and Ryne (Robinson) has been an outstanding receiver for them, as well as a punt returner for them. They've got dangerous weapons that can make big plays against you. Their quarterback is doing an excellent job in terms of getting the ball where it needs to get. He's a very accurate thrower. I think they've got a very good passing attack. They'll hit you on some short ones, but set you up deep and try to take advantage of you that way. We're going to have to play really good defense, both against the run and against the pass, in order to get it done. Special teams will be a battle. They blocked a punt against us last year. They returned a punt against us last year. If you have anything like that happen again, you've got yourself a major uphill battle. We need to be on top of things special-teams wise and be able to get field position and possibly score some points."
On committing three turnovers against Akron:
"It's not been something that's been ridiculous for us, although this last game was certainly way too many balls on the ground, and we seemed to lose every ball that was on the ground. The turnover battle ended up being a non-issue in terms of they gave up three and we gave up three. There were other factors. If we'd have given up three and they' d have given up zero or one turnovers, it would've been a nailbiter down at the end. If you look at the fact that five of their drives were kept alive by penalties, you combine that with the other team, if they had an edge on turnovers, it would have been really difficult to win the football game. I've used the phrase `a fine line' before, but it is there."
On Miami playing so many close games:
"It's really a combination of things, but there are those games, and sometimes those years, where the ball just doesn't seem to bounce your way and that can change at any given moment. The thing I think they're doing a great job of is, despite the fact it's not the kind of year that they're used to and not the kind of year that they want, they are battling through that. They're playing good football. They're playing physical football and playing for four quarters. Usually when that happens, things start to turn around and start to balance out a little bit. I'm sure they're planning on playing very good football. They'll be all set for it."
On playing so many road games:
"I don't know how many games now we've played on the road. It seems like we've played forever. We're in the MAC championship and that'll be on the road against a team that's right there in Michigan. If we get to a bowl, that'll be on the road. That will be quite a situation for us, but our club has handled it well and overcome some things to make it work."
On Kalvin McRae's importance to the game plan this week:
"It would probably be reasonable to say that regardless of Austen's health that we're going to try to utilize Kalvin. We would like to be a balanced football team. If the opportunity arises and we're protecting well and throwing it well and catching it well, that would lead us to be willing to throw more passes, but with the idea that you have to keep coming back to Kalvin and sometimes building Kalvin into the passing game as a receiver. He's very big in our thinking and has responded every time we've thrown the ball his way. It's obvious he's going to be big in our thinking for this game."
On McRae's fumbles versus Akron:
"He has been (dependable), so it was kind of an oddity to have him put the ball on the ground, but it can happen and it can happen to the best of backs. One thing the good backs don't let happen is for that to continue. I think it shows that we have a great deal of confidence in Kalvin because there are times when a guy puts the ball on the ground and coaches will yank that player. If he puts it on the ground twice, they may put him on the bench for awhile. That's not Kalvin's style, letting the ball loose. We knew he'd work his way through that. He's a confident player. It was just something that happened and we're beyond that know. I don't think we have any cause to worry about that continuing."
His assessment of the team's play on the road:
"They've played as we expected. They've prepared to play road games as we've expected, and they've traveled the way we wanted them to travel. They've done all they could in terms of getting themselves in position to win road games. Even the games that we did lose, the game to Rutgers, they really played hard and there were a lot of good things that they did in that ball game. The same thing at Missouri, although that one exploded a little bit more on us than what we would've liked, but I've been real pleased with the way they've approached away games and how focused they've been in traveling and on the road. It's been great. That's what you need to have to be a successful football team. Certainly, in the MAC you need to be able to travel well."
On how the team has turned around its fortunes so quickly:
"I look at the success of a season by how our players prepare to play and how they actually play the game. If you prepare well, and if you play it up to your ability and it doesn't get done, then there's probably not much more you could've done. Maximizing your abilities in preparation and on game day are critical to our thinking. That's what we've been all about in preparing our team. If you have the talent to get to a conference championship and play in a bowl game, then you want to get there. If your talent level doesn't match up to the teams you're playing, if you've just got a rash of injuries that are going to be able to keep you from having your best players on the field, then you just want to make sure that no matter what happens to you, you're playing your best ball. When that happens, most of the time, you're going to have a chance. Reaching your potential is critical. Last year, there were times we did and times we didn't. When we didn't, we were really disappointed with it. This year, we haven't really had that kind of disappointment. There may have been a game or so that for whatever reason the spark wasn't there, but not many. Certainly, they've prepared well for every game."
On instant replay in college football:
"I think it's good for college football because as you go through it and you see decisions upheld or changed, you want an accurate call and sometimes those calls go against you. It's the best thing for the sport and the best thing for everybody when those calls are accurate, or if they're not, they get corrected. I think it's good for college football. In the past, if you look at guys that are diving into the endzone and the ball has broken the plane, it was almost always a touchdown. Now, they're checking to see if the knee was down so you have a lot of those that are brought back and placed on the one-yard line or half-yard line. It makes you think, well goodness, how many times did a guy not score and was given a score back in the old days? I think it's good. I think it's the right thing to get anything that's not accurate or correct, to get it corrected even it takes a little more time."