Nov. 10, 2008
“Just to wrap up the last game, it was a tough, physical game. It was like two heavyweights going toe-to-toe for 15 rounds. It was very physical and two very, very good teams. I think the one thing I would say about our team is the resiliency that they showed to keep coming back. We didn’t play extremely well in the first half. We made some mistakes. We had some turnovers. We got behind in the game, but we played better in the second half and showed a lot of resiliency at the end of the game to overcome a lot of adversity. As I always say, if you have a great victory, you usually do have quite a bit of adversity to overcome and that’s what makes it that kind of victory.
“We had some outstanding performances in the game. Antoine Caldwell did a really good job. Drew Davis did an outstanding job against some really good players up front. Julio Jones was very, very productive and was also (SEC) freshman of the week again, in terms of not only his catches, but his attitude and effort and running after the catch. Defensively, Rashad Johnson is the Walter Camp National Player of the Week, but Rolando McClain had a good game and Brandon Deaderick also had a very good game from a point-production standpoint. John Parker (Wilson) is also a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Award, which I think is great for him and being one of the top senior quarterbacks. Special teams-wise, P.J. (Fitzgerald) did a good job punting the ball and really changed the field position in the game and helped us tremendously and Ali Sharrief did a really good job of playing on teams.
“We have two guys that have injury situations and probably won’t practice for a day or two and probably will be day-to-day and will be questionable for this game. Roy Upchurch continues to have problems that we need to evaluate and we will keep you updated when we find something out about what his injury circumstance really is. It’s not something that it totally football-related. Earl Alexander hurt his shoulder in the game and you just never know when you dislocate your shoulder how much damage you do. Sometimes, you pop it back in and continue to play. We need to do an MRI on Earl. He’s probably going to need to quiet down for a little while and see how he responds.
“Mississippi State is a very good, physical team. They are probably two points away from being the second-place team in our division. They have two one-point losses to some pretty good teams in the SEC. They play tremendous football on defense. They’ve got a lot of experience. They’ve got a lot of starters back. They are rated in the Top 20 in the country in lot of those areas. They are very well coached. Sylvester (Croom) has done a good job. They’ve got a lot of discipline. They play hard. They’ve got a lot of toughness. They are a physical team. They try to run the ball at you on offense and have shown balance this year in their ability to throw it. Their defense is number one in pass defense in our league. They’ve done a really good job in the kicking game. Tyson Lee has given them something offensively, in terms of him being athletic and moving around and making plays in the passing game. He’s done a really job for them as well. We haven’t beaten these guys for a while. We haven’t scored a touchdown on them for a while and certainly didn’t play very well against them last year. We certainly have a lot of respect for how they have played against us and how we need to play and improve as a team, so we can play well against them.”
On what you remember when you saw Julio Jones for the first time:
“I’ve seen a lot of guys. I’m having a hard time remembering. He’s big. He’s physical. He is a very good player. He’s outstanding. I think his resiliency, in terms of his maturity as a competitor and being able to play with consistency and the kind of competitor he is and how hard he plays in the game. I think those are tremendously positive characteristics for him that you never know when you get a talented guy if they really have those things. He played that way in high school and he was that kind of player in high school. He has certainly carried that over to here. He is a very good player and he is playing as well as any receiver that we have, or maybe better. I think he is one of the top players in our league at his position. I think he’s is going to continue to improve and develop as a college football player.”
On Terrence Cody’s performance and where is he in relation to earlier this season:
“Cody played O.K in the game. I think that maybe his initial quickness, his mobility, was maybe not 100 percent of what it was. I don’t think it’s due to the injury. I think a little bit of it was conditioning. I think a little bit of it is just getting back into playing. I think he’ll continue to improve and get better and better as he gets more reps in practice. Ever though he practiced last week, we didn’t practice him much when we went good on good. I think the speed of the game is a little different and when you’re playing against the scout team, even though our scout teams do a fantastic job for us in helping us prepare. When you get in there against the good guys, everything is a little bit quicker. This week, he’ll be able to do that and I think that will enhance his development of being able to come back and improve and probably be a little more confident in himself as well.”
On the identity of a Sylvester Croom team:
“They are a tough, physical team that plays hard and is well-disciplined. They are going to try and have balance on offense. It’s a pro-style offense, but you better be able to stop the run. They have a very good back, really two of them. They have a big offensive line. They believe in running the football to win, so you better be able to stop that. Right now, they are playing really, really good on defense. They’ve got good players. They play well together and they are well-coached. That’s kind of what I expect to see. That’s what I’ve seen. That’s what we saw last year and that’s what we expect to see this year.”