Nov. 11, 2013
Press Conference Audio (Courtesy: @HerdCotton)
"Captains this week on offense are offensive lineman Chris Jasperse and quarterback Rakeem Cato. On defense, our captains will be defensive tackle James Rouse and cornerback Monterius Lovett. They all been captains multiple times and I'm looking forward to hearing those guys talk to the team later on. It's a quick turnaround. We had to get working right away. We have a lot of work to do from now to Thursday. We have some catching up to do to get this team ready to go play. Tulsa is a team that won in Conference USA last year and they have a lot of players that can still play. They are a very capable team and we have to make sure that we are very well prepared."
On Tulsa being a top C-USA team since Marshall joined C-USA:
"I guarantee that we will take their best shot just like we take everyone's best shot. That is just the way it is. Head coach Bill Blankenship does a tremendous job with them and they have great character kids. They have good players and I guarantee that on Thursday night they will play their heart out. They always do and that won't be any different on Thursday."
On what Tulsa (2-7, 1-4 C-USA) has shown on tape:
"They have their same quarterback back from a year ago in Cody Green (did not play last week). They have two running backs in Trey Watts and Ja'Terian Douglas. Watts may be the best player in our league. He's a great punt returner and kick returner. We all saw what he did against us here last year on a kickoff return. He touched the ball 31-times last week against East Carolina. He is also one of their leading receivers along with being their leading rusher. He's a tremendous player and can hurt you in the kicking game. He can also do damage to you on offense. That offense isn't a whole lot different than they were a year ago."
On Tulsa's injuries:
"I don't know that they have more injuries than we have or any other team has. They have Watts and all these other players still out there. They have a couple of new faces, but so do we. We have 12-to-14 new faces on defense and where they are located allows them to always have good players. There are a whole lot of players in Oklahoma and Texas. They have a beautiful place to recruit to and have really good players on that football team. When I turn that film on I don't see much of a different team than what I saw a year ago. Most of the players are back from the team that won the conference championship."
On Marshall's ability to force turnovers:
"Whenever we take care of the football we have a pretty good shot at winning the game. That's in any case. Anytime you take care of the ball and don't turn it over you have a shot at winning most games you play. That has been the case with us this year. We have been creating more turnovers and hopefully are taking care of the ball more offensively. The combination of both of those things helps tremendously."
On Marshall's defense creating turnovers on the road:
"We have to go play hard. You have to show up ready to play and play hard. That is what our defense has done and we have to make sure we do that this Thursday night."
On Thursday's game being the first time that Marshall will play a road game on November 14 since the plane crash:
"We met last night at six o'clock and discussed that. They found out the same time the media found out what we were going to do as for honoring the 1970 football team on Thursday night. Our kids understand the history and what it is all about. We'll remind them again on Wednesday when we get a little closer to game day. Our kids have always been at every memorial service and they understand from the moment they walk on campus what happened in 1970. They understand how important this football program is to the community, fan base and school because of what happened in 1970. They don't need to be reminded, but they will be."
On Marshall's players being amped up to play on national television to honor the 1970 team:
"The players won't be at the memorial service, but they will be there in spirit. We'll have it streamed into the hotel so they can have an opportunity to see it. What a better way to honor that team than on national television this Thursday night. That is a pretty special opportunity for this football team to be able to honor that (1970) team. I think it's a great opportunity for them and our program to be able to share with the rest of the country what this program is all about."
On getting ready for quick stretch of games without much time in between:
"There's no doubt that it is more condensed. It is more condensed for Tulsa too. If they had an open week and we didn't, it would be a little different, but we both played. Tulsa got back late. We have to travel. We just have to do the best we can to get everything covered. We'll come back tomorrow and it'll be an abbreviated Wednesday practice. It will be more of a Thursday practice to get prepared and make sure our kids have everything covered. We don't play until 6:30 Thursday night which will give us time to prepare at the hotel as well. Our kids have done a great job with preparation. It will be critical that the coaches and players do a great job from now until 6:30 Thursday night. I know that they will."
On players describing the quick turnaround as similar to cramming for finals in class:
"I think it is. Also, we are in our tenth game of the year. We've played and practiced now for a long time. If you're pretty good on offense, then you don't change a whole lot. You will continue to do what you do well. Defensively, you aren't going to add a whole lot of different defenses. You just do what you do and get better at it. They may be a few wrinkles because of what they (Tulsa) may do offensively or how they line up on defense. Primarily, we've seen what they will give us on defense and the same thing on offense. You will see most of the zone reads and some of the things we've seen all along from Tulsa. It's not like it's all new. We will continue to work and get better at what we've been doing."
On Marshall's players feeling good and on a roll:
"We talked a few weeks ago about playing our best football in November and I think we are playing our best football right now. There isn't a lot of waiting around now. We are just teeing it up and going again. I think we have 18-to-19 days and three games. There has to be some urgency there and there is. I like this team. I've said all along that I like this team. I like the way they've prepared and the way they've handled themselves. They understand that they have to go play well Thursday night."
On Marshall's stable of running backs:
"Running backs coach Thomas Brown has done a tremendous job with them. He's done great coaching them with the proper steps and timing. The offense line has done a great job and the three running backs of Essray Taliaferro, Kevin Grooms and Steward Butler are pretty good. They have a good feel of what we are trying to do as far as the running game is concerned. They've done a nice job."
On the importance of playing a UAB team last week whose offensive approach is similar to Tulsa:
"I think it helps you. They do some of the same plays. They will run the power, some with leads. They'll run some of the same things that we've seen all week. The UAB game was a very physical game. From their offense and our defensive standpoint, I know it will be a physical game on Thursday night. It will help us. Same type of game to a certain extent."
On Marshall's run defense:
"We have to do a better job at stopping the run. That's where it all starts. Our players and coaches are working extremely hard to make sure that is done."
On Tulsa linebacker Shawn Jackson:
"He's a big guy. I think he's 255 pounds. He's athletic and makes a lot of plays. He has played a lot of football for them and is one of their better players on a really good team year ago. He's back and doing the same thing. Our players understand and know him from a year ago. We know he is a good player and really athletic. He can play in space and he looks bigger than 255 pounds at this point. He can run and play in space very well for a guy as big as he is."
On Tulsa being battle-tested their last three games playing the likes of Tulane, UTSA and East Carolina:
"That Tulsa team won the conference championship a year ago. I believe they beat Iowa State in the bowl game last year. I think Iowa State beat Tulsa earlier in the year that season. Tulsa turned around and beat them in the bowl game. They won 12-to-13 games a year ago and beat Central Florida in the C-USA championship game. They're a good football team. I know they'll play with a lot of confidence and they will be coached up really well. They are only one year removed from winning 12 or 13 games. They are also in an area where they can recruit a lot of really talented players. We're going to get their best shot and I expect them to play extremely hard. I know they will. Our guys have to be ready to go play."