Nov. 15, 2011
As you know we have a short week. We have to put that last one behind us quickly. We’ve moved on to Memphis and, in our world, this is Thursday. We’ll have a Thursday preparation day, then we’ll get on the plane tomorrow and go play Saturday. This week is more about us making sure we are prepared and making sure we’re ready to go. At this point we’ve done a nice job at doing that.
On A.J. Graham’s status:
We’ll see. He will dress. We won’t know if he’ll be in the game or not until we get out there. He has not practiced at this point.
On Rakeem Cato’s proven ability:
Probably two of our biggest wins have come with Cato at the helm. We went on the road and beat Louisville and beat Southern Miss here at home. He’ll go in there, play and do a good job. I have no worries about that. He’ll be fine. If he has to play, he’ll be fine.
On Marshall making this week about them:
Well, we have a short week, so it has to be a lot about us. You get concerned coming off of last game and having three days to go play again. The most important thing for us is that the kids feel really good about themselves and that they are as fresh as they can possibly be when we get there on Thursday night. Our guys have done a nice job at doing that. Sunday, for us, was more of a walk-through because you don’t get a day off. We came back yesterday and that was a combination of Tuesday and Wednesday. This will be strictly a Thursday. Tomorrow will be strictly a Friday. We will have extra time at the hotel on Thursday because we don’t play until seven o’clock their time.
The strength of their defense is the defensive line. They have a kid named Poe there that will be playing on Sunday someday. That’s the strength of their defense and offensively they have some good skill guys that can go and run. They had the opportunity to beat UAB and didn’t put it away at the end. UAB came back to score at the end to beat them. We have to go in there and play well.
On the importance of starting quickly:
It’s no secret that when we get out of the gates and start fast, we play pretty well. We play really well at times. At Louisville, we took it down the field, scored and we played well. Here at home, we’ve done the same thing. We’ve talked all week about starting fast. Rip (Defensive Coordinator Chris Rippon) has talked about that on defense a lot, but it affects the offense too. I think it’s important Thursday night that we come out and get off the blocks because when we do, we play really well.
On the difficulties of the short week:
I think the hardest part is just making sure your team is physically and mentally ready to go. It is a short week, so you don’t get that bounce back. You don’t get that Sunday and Monday off. Every game that we have on Memphis is already done. They’re broken down and are already in the computers. All that stuff is already in the works. Having the week off we made sure everything was set for our short week coming up. I think the preparation for us is not near as important as those kids.
On contributing factors of not starting fast:
I think a lot of it is just doing it. Tulsa has some kids that can make some plays and Houston has kids that can make some plays. That being said we have to do a better job at stopping them. We didn’t do that in the games we let get away from us. We have to put our kids in positions to make plays.
On Marshall’s sense of urgency:
We can sit here and sugarcoat it all we want, but they know what is at stake. We’re not going to focus on anything other than Thursday night. They’re not stupid, they understand what is at stake and understand that if they don’t win, then it’s hard to get to six. The only thing we need to be concerned with right now is going and beating Memphis. We go beyond that and we won’t be successful on Thursday night. We are focusing strictly on Memphis and strictly on playing well Thursday night.
On the growth of Rakeem Cato:
I think he has grown in the way he carries himself and they way he handles himself with the players. All the good things that quarterbacks do he understood and knows he has to do that or he won’t play. I think he’s learned that and he has done a great job this week at practice. He has done a good job ever since the UCF game, but A.J. went in there and just didn’t give it up. It’s Cato’s turn again and we’ll see how he responds. I think he’ll do well.
On Cato playing against Tulsa:
He didn’t play his best, but neither did a lot of other guys. Sometimes when you become the backup, you have to prepare all the time like you are the starter. When your number is called, you have to be able to go in there, make plays and get the job done. He did some good things, but at times there were some things that he didn’t do well. He had help though, because there were a lot of things that weren’t done well in that game.
On Cato learning from Graham’s play:
I think so. They are two different kids. Cato understands that he has to go in and be a great leader, take charge of that team and do what we want him to do. I think he is also glad it’s his opportunity to go in and play again.