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Meet the Press: Northwestern State

Sept. 22, 2009

Press Conference

Head Coach Art Briles

Opening statement:
“I’d like to start off by saying how proud we are that our program can represent the American Football Coaches Association and the Coach to Cure MD (Muscular Dystrophy). To clean up the UConn game, we have to learn, live and move on. Sometimes it’s easier to learn and give lessons. It’s disheartening and frustrating of course, but on the flipside of that, they’re a good football team. They played well enough to win and took care of the football; we didn’t take care of business or play well enough to win that day.”

On the players bouncing back from a loss:
“I don’t know if we forget about it, but they are a lot more resilient than older people. That’s what I enjoy so much about being around young people; they’re always full of energy and hope and dreams and goals. Their perception of reality is always smaller because they haven’t been through as much. I don’t think they’ve forgotten it, but we want to learn from it and become a better team from it.”

On the loss to UConn hurting more than others:
“They all hurt a bunch, but I do think our expectations are certainly higher than what they might have been a year ago at this time. We have to live up to the hype and we didn’t fulfill on that, but we’ll be judged by what happens throughout the season not on one Saturday in September.”

On Northwestern State:
“They had a tough opener at Houston. They had some turnovers that really hurt them in the second week and the game against North Dakota last week was a battle till the end. They are getting better on both sides of the ball. They’re improving and they’ll be tough, we know we have our hands full.”

On playing a team that isn’t in the BCS:
“There’s a benefit to playing everyone in my opinion. Regardless of who is out there you have to be ready. We have to understand the mentality of the opponent coming into the game. From our coaches’ standpoint and our team’s standpoint, we faltered a little bit in previous weeks. There are good football players everywhere; what you have to do is take care of the football when you have advantages and this week we have to get our crowd involved and take advantage of those opportunities.”

On trying to “ease the pain” from last week’s loss:
“It’s not necessarily about easing the pain; what we’re trying to do is improve as a team. We are trying to grow and understand situations that we get involved in from a players’ standpoint and a coaches’ standpoint. Pain has memory so that’s with us but we have to grow as a team and find our determination, execution and drive.”

Senior Linebacker Joe Pawelek

On team’s attitude towards last week’s loss to UConn:
“We were able to learn from this past weekend and we did a good job of that. Coming in Sunday and watching film and seeing as a defense where we need to get better. We need to leave the game in the past but also take the stuff that we need to keep getting better at. Hopefully we can look back and see that week two of the season was a learning point for us.”

On changes that need to be made to the defense:
“It’s a whole bunch of little things. It starts up front and comes back to the linebackers and all the way back to the secondary. UConn was doing a lot of full blocks and giving our defensive line fits and messed us up all the way down the line. I think playing with the basics of our defense will help us out.”

On Northwestern State and what to expect this weekend:
“From Northwestern State, I have watched its previous game against North Dakota State. They really tried to establish their o-line early, which is great for our defense. We will be working throughout this week and we need to work and come out and have a great week of practice and be ready to go Saturday.”

On seniors leading the team:
“As seniors, we have a big part when it comes down to it. Coaches are going to give us schemes and plans and as players we have to execute them. Whether it is in the locker room or on or off the field, we have to step up and help them do that.”

Senior Center J.D. Walton

On being 1-1:
“We were expecting to be 2-0, but UConn came out and schemed for us real well and executed and they got the better of us on Saturday. We got to come out this week ready and focused again and come out and be 1-0 this week.”

On what the UConn loss taught the team:
“It was definitely eye-opening. We came in thinking we were just going to roll through them and keep on moving with our goals that we had set. We were a little over confident, a little too cocky walking into the game thinking we were just going to get it. We definitely learned from our mistakes and we are never going to start acting like that again. The seniors are going to be on top of stuff.”

On the role of the seniors to keep everyone grounded:
“That is one of our big roles and we kind of let that slip up. There was too much talking about other things than the football game on Saturday. We’ll take it and make sure that stuff never happens again.”

On Northwestern State:
“A couple of us came in yesterday and watched some film on them on our day off. Today we are going to start breaking down defenses and looking at what they have personnel wise and what they do on defense and all there schemes. We will be ready to go and focused and we will be excited about the game this weekend. We got to be worried about every team, because there are times they will sneak up on people.”

Junior Safety Byron Landor

On moving forward:
“I mean (the UConn loss) was a learning experience. I think it was an experience that we needed as a team to see that everything that we need, everything we want or everything that we want to achieve, we have to work to get. Just being there, it’s kind of one of those experiences that you learn a lot from it because we knew going into the UConn game, we knew for two weeks that they were going to run the ball. They said it. They did everything that they could to tell us that they were going to run it and that is exactly what they did. I think that it opened our eyes to see that we have to be prepared - mentally, physically, emotionally prepared – to play against teams, especially when they say they are going to do something we have to be prepared to expect what they are going to do.”

On not overlooking future games:
“I think that from here on out after going through workout Sunday after the game and watching the film and working out this morning, I see that it’s a different light in a lot of players eyes. I think that after the Wake Forest game, we were kind of walking around like maybe we accomplished something and I think we accomplished a something just to prove that Baylor is not the old Baylor but the complete goal we haven’t accomplished and I think that a lot of us expected UConn just to lay off and they didn’t. And I think, like I said, it’s a learning experience.”

On bouncing back this week:
“Conference is coming and we know that. We know teams are going to be ready for us. You know, teams heard the hype or whatever you call it so we just have to take it one day at a time and one game at a time. No more bye weeks, so every week we have to participate, play, play well and learn our teams. Learn what we need to learn and learn from this game because like I said in three weeks we will be in conference.”

On the locker room atmosphere:
“I think a lot of guys learned a lot from themselves, not only as a team. After a loss like that, especially a home game with 40,000 people, you kind of look at yourself in the mirror and say ‘did I do everything I could to win or did I make any mistakes or did I cost the game?’ and I think that that is a good learning experience for everybody. I mean not only do you just look at your locker mate or the person that is next to you but you kind of look at yourself in the mirror and say ‘did I do I could to help the team win?’”



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