Southern Miss Head Coach Larry Fedora WEEKLY PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
Monday, September 14, 2009
Opening Statements: "After looking at the film, we were pleased to get our first conference win. We're not totally excited about the overall way we played as a team, but there were definitely some really bright spots in the game."
On the defense against UCF: "I think our defense played really well. I think they ended up giving up around 15 yards total in the second half. They put is in great position on two different occasions with short fields to get the ball in (the end zone). They got it in once themselves. I was pleased with how they played especially our defensive line. We gave up a few big balls in the secondary but nothing that really hurt us in the long run."
On the special teams units against UCF: "The kickoff team was doing a great job, but we missed about four tackles on the last return and gave up a big return, which can't happen. On the punt returners, obviously anybody can see that you can't muff three punts and fumble another. It wasn't the effort from the guys up front; we just didn't handle the ball on the back end. On field goals, we still missed a chip shot that should have been made. We've got to continue to work on that. In our return game, we didn't get much going there."
On the offense against UCF: "There were a lot of times where we didn't finish drives off in the red zone. We need to do that. We did not play a good game offensively and you have to give Central Florida some credit. They are a good defensive team. We did not play the way we should or expect to play."
On punt returners: "I don't know (if there will be a change in returners). We've already used three guys back there this year (Andre Watson, Freddie Parham, and Tracey Lampley). When you get in that spot and you miss one, if you're not careful your confidence will get shaken and the next one is that much harder. I think that's what happened with Freddie the other night. He was trying so hard not to mess up that he continued to tighten up and mess up. I've got confidence in Freddie, but what we'll do there, I don't know. We'll make that decision at the end of the week. They caught a lot last night (at practice), all three of them, and will catch a lot of them (throughout the week). Andre is as solid as they come and we put him back there and it slipped through his hands. So we'll see. I have confidence in all those guys."
On playing an opponent from the ACC: "I don't know how much our guys look at [conference affiliation]. We spend so much time talking about ourselves and what we can control. We talk about that it doesn't matter who we play or when we play or where we play or what the weather is or all those things. We really try to concentrate on ourselves and what we have to do. We know that they will be a good football team. It's just an opportunity for us to play the game we love."
On Virginia's start on their season: "They had a lot of staff changes over this past year. They went to a total new philosophy on offense from what they were. I'm not sure how well the personnel fits with what they are trying to do. I know it's the same defense they've been playing and they have always been a good defensive unit. They are big and pretty consistent on what they do. They are not a penetrating defensive line as much as a two-gap style where they are going to hold you up to see what's going on before throwing you off to make the play. There aren't a whole lot of running seams in there after looking at the film. One thing I know is that they have started out rough before and then bounced back to win four or five in a row. I don't doubt that (Virginia Head Coach Al Groh) will have them ready to play on Saturday."
On wide receiver DeAndre Brown: "I thought he did real well. Obviously he's still not in the shape he needs to be. He was sore all last night at practice. The game was the first time where he really got extensive work. We wanted to play him about 25 snaps and he ended up getting 44 snaps which was probably too many, to be honest. But, he made some catches and we didn't connect with him on some deep balls that we should have but that's because of the timing that we don't have down yet. That's something that has to be worked out between the quarterbacks and receivers. I thought he played aggressive. I was really pleased with his mentality out there on the football field. He was physical in everything he did. I don't think he was worried at all about any situation with his leg. I think he's over that part of it and knows it's healed and is ready to play football."
On true freshman punter Peter Boehme: "I am really pleased with him. He's a true freshman and we haven't punted in a situation to really stretch the field yet. We've asked him to hang the ball up there and try to pin them inside the 20-yard line, and he's done it six out of seven times. That's pretty good. Obviously, his average isn't going to be what people want to see but he's helping his football team. He could've pounded them all out of the back of the end zone if he wanted to but it wouldn't have helped this football team."
On tight end Leroy Banks: "He lines up in the same places that (former tight end) Shawn (Nelson) did last year. It's just what we do with tight ends in this offense. Shawn had a bunch of catches from different spots out there and we'll do the same with (the current tight ends). Leroy is very athletic; he has great speed, and good hands. I was disappointed in his dropped catch but he'll be fine."
On quarterback Austin Davis: "[Agreeing with a reporter's statement] Yes, he's really good. But beyond that, (the media) has gotten to know what kind of kid he is, what kind of person he is. He's what you're looking for in a quarterback. He's a student of the game. Both on and off the field he does the thing it takes to be successful, not only as a football play but as a person and he's a leader. He cares about his teammates. They are more important to him than he is. All of the characteristics you are looking for, Austin has them."
On realizing the talent level of Davis: "I was impressed with him in the first spring. He threw two picks during the whole thing and those were in the last practice after we played the spring game. When we came back and had that one practice on Monday, he threw two picks and that was the first time he had thrown a pick. I knew we had a few pieces of the puzzle and if he would take care of the football that we had a chance. That's what he showed me."
On overall health of the team: "We're pretty healthy. We have a few guys that are a little banged up but other than that, we're in pretty good shape. From what I've been told, those guys will be fine so we're in good shape."