MT FB Press Conference before CUSA Championship Game

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Hear from MTSU football coach Rick Stockstill and players about their win over UAB Saturday and the upcoming CUSA Championship Game with the Blazers this Saturday.






Head Coach Rick Stockstill
Opening Statement:
"It's a tremendous accomplishment for our team to be here. I'm so happy for our team and our players. Like I said after the game, they work extremely hard not just this year, but throughout their careers and I'm so happy to see them have the opportunity to play in this championship game."

On the differences between last week's game and this week:
"We'll make adjustments to what we did and I'm sure they will as well. This late in the year, you're not going to wholesale change your offense or defense, you are who you are. We'll study what we did well and study what we didn't have success with and make the appropriate changes just like they will."

On playing the same team in back-to-back weeks:
"It's the first time for me, I've never been a part of a team where we finished the regular season with an opponent and then played them the next week in a bowl or championship setting. It's unique for us, I know several years ago LA Tech played WKU in the sixth game of the year and then they ended up playing in the championship game. This is the first time that I know of that teams have ever played back-to-back. This isn't a bad thing, it's a unique thing, but maybe the people who make the schedules can make sure that going forward, east and west teams aren't playing on the last regular season date."

On what he wants to replicate from last Saturday's game:
"The first thing we have to do defensively is stop the run. We did a good job with that, put pressure on the quarterback, and didn't give up big plays. If you do that and make them go the long way, you've got a chance to be successful. It always starts on defense and we played well defensively. We also did some good things in the passing game, but didn't have much success running the ball. Their guys up front did a good job and it was tough sledding for us in the running game."

On how much he enjoyed the win versus preparing for next week:
"This is sad to say as a coach, and even though I enjoy every win, it's almost more of a relief when you win. You're happy you won, you shake the other coach's hand, and by the time you get off the field, your mind is focused on what's next. I was extremely happy for our players and while I enjoyed it, there's not a whole lot of time to sit back and beat your chest about something when you know you got another game six days away."

On the advantages of playing at home:
"We're pretty good at home, we've won 29 of our last 36 home games. Our guys take pride in playing at home. It's hard to win football games on the road."

On having the conference championship at home:
"It's great because we only had five home games this year. You look at that and how difficult our schedule was. When you play three SEC teams and only have five home games, it's a tremendous accomplishment to now be playing for the conference championship. In past championship games, the other schools haven't had great attendances. We've got a chance to change that and I hope our community comes out. There's not another college game in state, nobody else is playing. There's no reason we can't have a bunch of people in the stadium. It helps us sell the program to recruits and the bowl people, and it also helps the players when people show up."

On if winning last Saturday provides confidence for this game:
"I think we were a confident team going in (to the last game). After 13 of these press conferences, but I've been saying how much I believe in this team and how much this team believes in each other. We've done a lot of things to where we should be a confident team. We've proved ourselves throughout the course of the year. I don't think winning that game changes our perspective on this game. This team is a confident team."

On what a conference title would mean to the program:
"That's what you play for. It's hard to win championships. You can think about teams that you would consider near the top of the college football world, and it's been 10 to 15 years since they've won a conference championship. As a coach, you see players that are sacrificing so much throughout their career and how hard they work and how much they give the program every day. You would like to see them rewarded for their hard work."

Redshirt Senior Quarterback Brent Stockstill
On what he expects to see from the UAB defense this week:
"They're a really good defense and at this point in the year, you are who you are. Their scheme and personality aren't going to change. I'm sure they'll throw some new stuff at us and make some adjustments, but we will too."

On what did not go right on Saturday:
"There's always something to work on and some plays you wish you would've done different. We had some penalties that took some touchdowns off the board, but we just went back to work yesterday like we always do."

On playing this game at home:
"It means a lot to us. Even though we got some help from Marshall, we feel like we earned this one with this win. It really helps with the routine and how we get ready for our game this weekend. We take pride in playing at home and it should be a great turnout, I don't know why it wouldn't be. Our defense really got the crowd involved early in the game last time. It'll be special and we'll be excited."

On if winning last Saturday provides confidence for this game:
"I think any time you win, it builds confidence and momentum. It's a new week and we'll come into this one hungry. There's confidence, but there's also great leadership and maturity. We know we have to reset and get ready to go again this week."

On what a conference title would mean to the program:
"It's everything we work for, every team in the country works for this. It was our goal in January and it's what we worked for all offseason. To know that going into this Saturday, we're one of maybe 20 teams still playing. It's rewarding to know that we're just one game away from accomplishing our goals."

Redshirt Senior Linebacker Darius Harris
On what he expects to see from the UAB offense this week:
"We expect some changes, of course. They might add a twist or a wrinkle to some things we saw last week. We have to go into this week ready for anything though because we know we're going to get their best shot."

On how the defense excelled at getting to the quarterback last week:
"We had a great game plan and the schemes and we executed it well."

On how his team plans to rebound after such a big win:
"That was last week. We're past all of that. It's a new week, a new game, and we're focused on this one. I don't think anyone is comfortable or complacent because we still have a goal this week."

On the difference in energy this week:
"Playing a conference championship at home gives us so much momentum. We're ready to do something that's never been done before, so we have a lot of energy to accomplish our goal."

On what a conference title would mean to the program:
"It would be huge for this program because it would be our first C-USA title. It would mean so much going forward."

On if winning last Saturday provides confidence for this game:
"We did good things, so there's a lot we can take from that game. There's also some things that we didn't do well, so we can clean that up."

On what it's like playing the same team back-to-back:
"There's some good and some bad. We get to see the same team so it's easier to game plan, but we also know that they're going to change some things, so it goes both ways."

Read more from:
Brent Stockstill, football, Middle Tennessee State University, MTSU, Murfreesboro news, Murfreesboro sports, Rick Stockstill
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