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Miss. State Game: Assistant Coach Quotes



University of Alabama Football
Mississippi State Game Week Press Conference
October 31, 2006

Dave Rader, Offensive Coordinator

On Mississippi State defense

“I have always thought that they have good personnel. I think they were ranked pretty high last year. Their defensive linemen are pretty good. We respect their balance and in the three years we have been here we have not been caught off-guard by the talent they have.”

On Marlon Davis

“Marlon came along nicely. He had a couple of nice plays throughout the game. He was warranting more playing time anyway. He is a quiet guy so sometimes you don’t know what he is thinking because he doesn’t say a lot. He played well and did a lot of good things. Our team needed to see that.”

On progression of wide receivers

“You saw Nikita’s (Stover) first two drops of camp. He has had sticky glue hands and for whatever reason he either lost his focus or concentration because he always catches the ball. That is why we are so confident throwing to him. His progress has been steady since a few days in to practice. Will’s (Oakley) body has not allowed him to progress because he has been hurt. Once his body came together and he was healthy he showed he could catch the ball and moved up the depth chart. His route-running has become better which has made him a more effective receiver. Earlier in the year he made a couple of catches when the ball came to him and he gained confidence.”

Joe Kines, Defensive Coordinator

On Mississippi State

You can almost draw a line in their season. After their starting quarterback came back they are almost an entirely different team. You have to give a lot of credit to him. He is throwing the ball well and has a strong arm. He has made a couple of throws from all the way across the field. He is playing well and the wide receivers are really doing a good job. Burks is tall and has a lot of range. He is having some good plays lately. Since the quarterback has been back they are averaging 33 points per game so they are a whole different animal. They have done a good job in the last three weeks.”

More on Mississippi State

“They still run the powers and the smoke draw. They are still running the same things they have been running but the difference is the quarterback is throwing the ball well and they are catching the ball.”

On MSU injuries to runningbacks affecting play calling

“I am sure they have other running backs so I wouldn’t think they would abandon the run completely. They will do what they have to do. When you have a hot quarterback you don’t cool him off. I imagine they would throw it a pretty good bit.”

On defense forcing turnovers

“I think playing hard in the biggest producer of turnovers. Our guys have really done a good job with that this year. We haven’t gotten many sacks but we have pressured the quarterback a lot of different ways. We can get good pressure on the quarterback and he throws the ball but it is incomplete. It is the pressure that is important. We have a couple of guys in the secondary that are having a good year. They have worked hard and the harder you work the luckier you get.”

Dave Ungerer, Special Teams Coordinator

On Javier Arenas

“He is still learning on the job. He is learning every week when different circumstances come up. The thing about this kid which has been a very positive thing is he has been very sure-handed. I think that is a great start.”

On Arenas’ decision-making on punts

“I think that is one of the things he has learned a little more. He has been a little bit too courageous not using the fair catch. One example is last week he signaled to our return team to get out of the way, the ball bounced a couple of times and he picked it up to try and run with it. He didn’t have any protection and you are going to get hit by four or five guys so there is a chance for a fumble. That is a learning experience and even though he had a good day he learned something from it. He is a great kid and works extremely hard.”

On blocking punts

“If you go back and look at our history we have been an aggressive block team. I know sometimes another school gets a reputation for doing it but in the time we have been there I think we have blocked 12 balls, including field goals, extra points and punts. We call at least one or two a game and it is hit or miss. We have been a pretty impressive block team and it makes other teams change what they are doing in protection.”