Head soccer coach George Van Linder addressed the media Tuesday.
Aug. 31, 2004
HEAD FOOTBALL COACH GUY MORRISS
On the opener
"I think our kids are to the point where they're really tired of banging on each other, basically, and you know just repping the same plays over and over. It's time to go and tee it up against an opponent and kind of find out where we are and how far we've come or haven't come and answer some questions about this football team." On concerns about Saturday's game
"The biggest question in my mind is probably as soon as the first bad thing happens to us, how are we going to react. That will tell us a lot about our team and where we are mentally and those kind of things. I think we're a better football team, but until you get tested under the light, by the fire you don't know." On the quarterback issue
"I think what it comes down to basically is arm-strength, both of the candidates are good as far as intangibles go, with things you like to see in your quarterback on the field as well as off the field. I think both of them have a good understanding of what Coach (Brent) Pease is trying to get done with our offense. I think Dane (King) just gives us a little more arm-strength and we can push the ball up the field a little bit further. He probably throws the deep ball a little bit further probably throws the deep ball a little bit better, and I think it was important to us that our quarterback possess those kind of abilities, because otherwise we're going to be sitting there staring at eleven people in the box, if we can't push the ball up the field. That in my mind was the biggest reason we decided to go with Dane."
"They are gonna be an improved football team, they've got quite a few starters back, I think offensively they've got eight people that started for them last year coming back, and ten on defense that are back. Their kickers are intact so they are, I guess, what you call kind of a veteran team...in their mind with (QB Darrell) Hackney back in the lineup they're gonna be a pretty good football team and they are. We're gonna have to go over to Birmingham and get after it pretty good. I'm sure they'll test us...They base out of a four-man front, they've got good personnel, they've got good defensive ends, got an all conference defensive lineman I believe, and, you know, they're a quality defense... The key for us is...can we go over there and execute our offense. If we can do that, we'll be fine. We've got to be an opportunistic team this Saturday. I just got through watching our game from an offensive side of the ball ... We had a lot of opportunities to make plays last year and we didn't do a very good job of that. We weren't consistent enough. We had some drops, we missed some pickups, put the ball on the ground. You know, we can't do those kinds of things against this defense." On the receivers
"We've got enough weapons in that bunch to move the football. We can throw and catch. I think that Dominique Zeigler is a guy kind of poised to become a big play receiver in this conference. He's got a lot of ability. Marcus Roberts is a very good receiver as well. He's kind of the glue that holds that group together. John Martin can catch the ball, He's a steady guy... Trent Shelton is gonna be a good playmaker for us. I guess the jury's still out on Shaun Rochon to this point because we haven't seen him play an actual game but I think we've got a good, adequate receiver corps." On winning the first game of the season
"It's very important really. I was thinking about our game with UAB last year and on that second drive had we gone ahead and stuck in the end zone we'd have gone up by 14 and it might have changed the whole complexion of the game and then you gotta think, well, how much did it take out of us when we went to North Texas and on down the line. It's always great to win the first one. We need to win this one because it's the only one we play this week, so, it's paramount, I think it's crucial that we win this first game...It'd be a good learning experience for us if we could go over there, travel well, stay focused and come out with a win. I guess... it's something we haven't done around here in a long time. Open up on the road and beat them."
HEAD VOLLEYBALL COACH JIM BARNES
"On preseason practice "Things are looking up, the last week and a half we've had a team to practice with, so that's a good thing. We started off with injuries and we got those players back, all but one. So we've had a solid week and a half of practices, pulling the team together and I think as much as you can in a week and a half we've really got this team playing collectively, rather than individually which has been a big chore for us since we've gotten here. A lot of young players with good talent, but definitely played the game individually and didn't understand how to play the game and to win at our level, and so we've really taken a lot of steps there." On starting regular-season play
"We had a great scrimmage on Saturday, at the Ferrell center, so it was just a good introduction for the players to get in the Ferrell center and get some competition going, and now we're geared up for the real stuff, it all gets started this Wednesday up at UTA, and we're really looking forward to just getting up there and playing and seeing what our team is really about. There is a lot of challenges `cause we've changed quite a few players from positions so they are running new positions and it's just a whole new team, new system, and I like the way it's coming together. If it continues to come together like it is we'll be very dangerous, and if we can get consistent just like every team tries to do, we can win a lot of games. But we just have to come together, and we definitely have to stay healthy."
HEAD SOCCER COACH GEORGE VAN LINDER
On Notre Dame loss
"Our intent when we went to Notre Dame was really to get our team some experience to play against some tough teams, and it was. Notre Dame had more all-americans on their team, and more high profile players than any of the non-conference teams we're gonna see the rest of this season combined. So that was our intent to give them that experience and give them some opportunities. After the game I used the old saying "careful what you wish for" and that's kind of what we thought about. But we were pleased with the way a lot of our players played." On Rice
"We're looking forward to that game, they have played Houston already, they beat Houston 1-0, we beat Houston 6-1, in an exhibition game. I think we're a little concerned with our players just that they don't start reading those scores and come in too confident, but I think after the experience we just had at Notre Dame really confidence is something we probably need a little bit of anyways. So we look forward to this game and getting an opportunity to get ourselves back on the right track, the winning track, and I think we can do that tonight with Rice."