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Mark Snyder's Weekly Press Conference Transcript

Nov. 10, 2009

11-10-09 Mark Snyder Press Conference

Opening Statement: It was a great time to have an off week. We had some guys rest up a bit and tried to get rid of some digs, bumps and bruises. We had a great practice on Sunday night. We look forward to the next couple of days as we get ready for a really good Southern Miss team. They have weapons but we match up very well. These are two very evenly matched football teams.

You look at them on offense. We all know about Damion Fletcher. He has been here for a couple of years and we know what he can do. No. 11 (Tory Harrison) their backup, I know Coach Fedora really likes him. They have DeAndre Brown out wide. He is their big guy, their flash guy, their speed guy. Baptiste is their guy that has been Mr. Steady in the past couple of years we have played them. It has been a really good match up. Last year our guys were excited to go down there and get a win. Two years ago up here it came down to a 4th-and-10 play, but they escaped with a kicking a field goal for the win.

Defensively, they are always physical and fast. Eddie Hicks leads the secondary. They have very good linebackers and Anthony Gray is upfront. On special teams they are very dangerous. They have run back kickoff returns and punt returns. They are a very good team. They have been through trials and tribulations, similar to us. Little bit similar with the loss to the University of Louisville, and last weekend the loss to Houston. So it should be an exciting football game.

We are happy to be at home. We have two of our final three games at home. It is now a three game season. It's hard to not look at what everyone else has out in front of them, but we feel comfortable with where we are at. We are excited to have these guys come to town, Larry Fedora has done a really good job and it should be a good football game.

On a refreshed team: I don't know what their health issue is, but its not as well documented as ours is. It is good to get healthy. We had some guys on the defensive side of the ball that were dinged up. Mario Harvey, Ashton Hall, DeQuan Bembry, Albert McClellan, those guys were dinged up a little bit, and obviously our offensive line. But we have all those guys back at practice today, healthy, refreshed, and ready to have a great day.



On Southern Miss high-powered offense: Coach Fedora has brought a little bit of the Oklahoma State influence with him to Hattiesburg. But the thing that everyone has over looked is the fact that they still have that toughness left over from the Bower era. They are running the ball extremely well. They are very balanced on offense, and they have the ability to score a lot of points. I think he is doing a really good job.

On the USM defense: They play very well. They are very athletic and physical. They ran into a buzzsaw at Houston who has a very good quarterback and was able to exploit them a little bit.

On the running backs matchup: You have two of the better running backs in our league going at it on Saturday. They have two very different styles of running. Damion Fletcher is more of a spin runner, leaping guys, probably a little better out of the back field. So there is a little difference but they are both very good backs.

Question: Is there extra motivation for Darius to do well?: You would have to ask Darius that question. He is a competitor. He comes out to play every week and wants the ball in his hands every play if you give it to him.

On controlling Fletcher in last year's game: I think the score dictated what Damion did last year. We have to make sure that is the case again.

On how Southern Miss has adjusted to the QB: I think they have adjusted well. Martevious played lights out against Houston. He played a perfect game. Hopefully he got that out of his system because he played extremely well. You are talking to a defensive guy who has to try and stop him, but he is the kind of guy you want in that type of system.

On Young's ability to improvise at the QB position: Any time you have a quarterback that can improvise it drives you crazy. You have to live with some of those, but you have to have a plan in place to make sure he doesn't do it to much. We have had some success doing that this year.

On the mental health of the team: I think they are doing really well. We knew exactly where we were at after the East Carolina game as a program talent wise. We felt like we have a chance to run the table. The lesson learned last week was to play 60 minutes, not 58. And it is a valuable lesson to learn. Our guys are great. I think they are fine, just fine.

On Ashton Hall's special team play at UCF: That was something we saw in an NFL game a while back where the other team is lining up for a long field goal and you put someone under the field goal posts. We felt like we had an opportunity to block a field goal and if not we would have him back there if the ball was short to try to bust one. I thought it was a great special team's move by our coaches. It worked out tremendously well. We ended up scoring points. But to answer your question, yes, Ashton did come up to me and say "Do you see what I can do?" I said "If you had stayed with your blockers you would have scored a touchdown." Sunday at practice he reminded me of it again.

On the USM special teams: They have been very dangerous with their return teams. We have to make sure we are smart with what we do with the football. We can't be greedy. We have to take advantage of some of the things they do. There might be an advantage in there for us where we can make some hay.

On Craig Ratanamorn being a semi-finalist for the Lou Groza award: Do we have to talk about that though?! (knocks on the table) I am teasing a little bit. The good thing is Craig doesn't even know what the Lou Groza award is since he is only in his second year of kicking. I had to teach him a little bit about it before he came up to talk with you guys. If you saw other players hovering around him it's because they were trying to help him out a little bit. He doesn't know a lot about the Mackey, the Doak Walker or the Groza, but de does know a little about the Heisman and what it is. We will just keep it right there because he is doing a great job. He is focused. He is stroking the ball well. Even when he mis-kicks the ball, the ball he knocked out of the end zone at UCF was supposed to be a squib kick. We were concerned with their return team, so we wanted a hard squib down the middle. He hit it right in the sweet spot and hit it out of the end zone. When he came to the sideline we were laughing. I said, "Craig, do we need to call squib every time? If you can do that we will squib every time." But he is doing a tremendous job, and we don't want to get into his head too much, just continue to knock the ball through the uprights and continue to do great things on kickoffs. He is doing some things on kickoffs that a lot of kickers in the country cannot do because of his soccer background. We have been able to do a lot of things with that kick and it helps keep the kickoff coverage out of harms way.

When asked about the mood around the team: We have been stuck in that cave over there in the Shewey Building working as a staff and a team. We have had spirited and great practices all week. Everyone is in a great mood, so I really can't answer that question because we have been buried. The day we had off was all college football in the basement, in the other cave.

On the Joan E. Edwards Stadium being a tough place to play: There is no question that this is a hard place to play. We were fortunate to go down there last year when it was a little bit rainy and the crowd was down a little bit, and we came out with a win. It is hard to win at the Rock, everybody knows that. That was a big win for us from a confidence stand point. But this is a hard place to play too. No matter what the crowd size is, this place is really loud. This is another look-look team. They like to change plays at the line-of-scrimmage. It seems like anytime a team is down by the end zone with students is when it really gets loud and teams tend to struggle. It would be nice to have that 20-to-20, especially with these look-looks teams, but it has sure helped us in a couple of our home games.