Nov. 5, 2013
Holliday Press Conference Audio
Game Notes vs. UAB
"Captains for this week offensively will be quarterback Rakeem Cato and offensive lineman Clint Van Horn. On defense we have two guys that have never been captains in defensive lineman Brandon Sparrow and linebacker Jermaine Holmes. Sparrow played his best game to date against Southern Miss and Holmes has been playing great all year. Those are two new additions to the defensive captains and that is a good thing. When a new name pops up, that means the leadership on your football team is continuing to grow. That has been a good thing for our defense. We have UAB coming here and we're expecting a very physical game. Middle Tennessee had to line up a late game field goal to beat them just last week. The first 29 plays of that game for UAB were all rushing plays. I believe they had 59 rushes and just nine passes that entire game. They have two great running backs in Darrin Reaves and Jordan Howard who are as good as we will see all year. They also have an outstanding receiver in Jamarcus Nelson who may be the fastest player in our league. He's number one and you better know where he is because he is dangerous. He runs by LSU and he runs by all of them. We have our work cut out for us. They're a good football team and you have to give their coaching staff a lot of credit. Those guys are playing extremely hard and I know we'll take their best shot here on Saturday. We have to make sure we're prepared for them."
On facing a team that heavily favors running the ball:
"They (UAB) made a choice in that game last week to be a very physical team and they did that. It came down to the wire and they had a shot to win the game against a very good team, but they didn't quite get it done. I'm sure they'll come in here with the same mindset against us."
On the physicality UAB brought during last year's game against the Herd:
"They were especially physical in that second half. We had an opportunity to get them stopped and we didn't do it. Our kids have to respect this football team because what they did to us a year ago and because they have the ability to come in here and beat us if we do not take care of business in our preparation."
On being able to prepare for UAB's rushing attack from in-game experience playing against them:
"Howard is a true freshman. He's a great player. Of course we did go up against Reaves a year ago and they understand that he is a good player. They know these kids and they know that they are good players. I'm sure it will help us to an extent, but our players need to understand that this team is a very physical team coming in here. We have to be prepared for that."
On the physicality of true freshman running back Jordan Howard:
"He's a big, physical guy. If you watch him on film, he's not only a in-between the tackles runner, but he can break it off and get it on the perimeter. He's good there too. They have two tailbacks that they feed the ball to a lot and they are very talented players. Howard is from Alabama and is a good, young freshman."
On UAB looking like Tulsa of last year with lining up and just running it at you:
"It's like any game you play...if you can't stop the run then you will have major problems. It's going to be one of those games that if we can't stop the run then it's going to be a long afternoon. Our guys will work hard all week at getting that done."
On the possibility of overcompensating to stop the run and giving Jamarcus Nelson opportunities for a deep ball:
"That's what happens. He did it against Middle Tennessee. He had one shot and they threw it down the field to him for a touchdown I believe. If Nelson is on the field then you better know where because he ran right by LSU and they have some pretty good corners. He has great speed and if you don't know where he is then he will beat you or find some way to beat you during that game."
On the importance taking away the running attack by jumping out early on UAB:
"That is kind of what UTSA did at their place when they played UAB. I think it is critical in any game to start fast and this will be no different. Hopefully we can get out of the gates here like we did a week ago."
On the busy month playing five games in 27 days:
"There was a spell where we had three games in about 30 days and it felt like we didn't get into a rhythm sometimes. It's not a problem now. We're in that period with five games in 27 days and this is game two of that. We can't focus on anything other than what is happening on Saturday. If we look beyond UAB and what is happening here on Saturday then we will have problems. We have to make sure that we are focused on one thing and that is becoming a better football team this week. We have to be prepared come Saturday."
On the two UAB quarterbacks Jonathan Perry and Austin Brown:
"They went with Perry last week. I think he is a guy that can beat you a little more with his feet. I believe it was a called pass on a two point conversion and Perry took it in himself to tie the game. He is able to get on the perimeter at times. I thought both of them threw the ball well, but it seems like they think Perry can run it a little better and get out of trouble. I also think they made that choice because he is a senior, but the sophomore Brown played all of last year. I'm sure we'll probably see them both, but it would be my guess that they think Perry can beat you with his feet better than Brown can."
On the defensive line being very unhappy with the performance at Middle Tennessee and wanting to change:
"If they weren't disappointed with the way they played at MT then we have problems. They played a lot better this past week, but it's going to be even more critical and a bigger challenge this week. We told them on Sunday to go put their big boy pants on because it is going to be a physical, get after them type of game. If that offensive line is able to physically get after our defensive line then it's going to be a long afternoon. They'd better be ready and had better come out and play like they did against Southern Miss."
On the great location of UAB to get talented players even with Alabama and Auburn being close by:
"It seems like every team we play has a pretty solid recruiting base all around them. UAB is no different. They're located in Birmingham and there are a lot of players in Alabama. They're going to have athletes. Those two tailbacks and their receiver Nelson could play for anybody. If you do your research and work hard at it, I think there are enough players out there that you can find 15-to-18 talented guys. UAB has done a nice job at recruiting and an example of that is the true freshman that is playing for them right now. He could play for a lot of BCS schools. He's 228-pounds; he's 6-foot-1 and can run. They did a nice job at finding him. They have done a great job at recruiting."
On the players remembering last year's game against UAB:
"You have to respect that team coming in here. They physically beat us last year. Our kids understand that and our preparation today, tomorrow and Thursday is going to determine who wins that game. Hopefully that is motivation for our guys to make sure that we have a great practice today because today is going to be a physical practice and our most physical of the week. I'm hoping when our kids run on the field for practice today that they remember how physically beaten they were by this team last year. Hopefully that happens."
On improvements or changes to this Herd team compared to last year's team:
"I think we are a lot more mature this year. I think we are an older football team with a lot more leadership and these guys respect that UAB team because of what they did to us a year ago. They better. I know I do and they'll get that message from me and the entire coaching staff. I do think our football team is more mature and definitely features better leadership. The week of practice that we have will ultimately determine the outcome of that game on Saturday. We have to start today and make sure it is a good one."
On setting their goals and achieving them so far:
"There's no doubt that becoming bowl-eligible was one of our goals, but it's just one of them. The ultimate goal is to go win a championship. The only way to get to that goal is to go get this next one which will be number six. We have to focus on ourselves this week and becoming a better football team. We have to go out and play like crazy on Saturday and see what happens. There is no doubt that is important.
On the overall improvement of tackling for this team from last year:
"Very few games this year have we had double digit missed tackles. Even last Saturday we were in the six-seven range. That didn't happen a lot last year in any game. They missed a lot of tackles last year. Our coaches are doing a tremendous job of establishing fundamentals and techniques. Anytime you have better athletes running around out there you will see better tackling. There is no doubt that has helped us because we have better players and they are getting coached really hard."
On UAB running back Reaves make you miss style of running the ball:
"He is a physical guy that will run through you. You're not going to arm tackle this guy. He's going to run through arm tackles and Howard is the same way. Howard is actually a little bigger than and just as physical as Reeves. It will be important that we wrap up and tackle these guys. We've done a pretty good job of that all year and it's going to be critical that we continue that on Saturday."