Oct. 13, 2007
Memphis Head Coach Tommy West
It was tremendously disappointing to lose the game. I was disappointed in how we played offensively; we go 11 straight series without points, nine punts, a turnover and then went out on downs. We didn't do what we said we had to do to win the game. We knew we'd have to run the ball. We were not able to do that. We threw the ball very poorly and just played really bad offensively. Defensively, I thought we fought our hearts out on defense and gave ourselves a chance to win. Really if we just don't turn it over down there and give the short field, we gave ourselves a chance to win defensively. Our kicking game hasn't improved. I haven't done a very good job at improving our football team. I've got to find a way to get us there.
You haven't run the ball well all year. Do you know why?
They played us equal numbers in the box again just like Marshall and we weren't able to run the ball. Again, I think (T.J.) Pitts gave us something running the ball at times; he ran with some toughness at times. Right now he is our only back really that's giving us anything we need offensively. I've said all the time in this kind of offense if you can't run the ball it can get ugly, and then tonight we couldn't run it or throw it. We threw the ball really poorly. That was my responsibility. I'm not pointing the finger at anybody but me. That was about as poor of an offensive performance that we've had since I've been here. That's my responsibility.
Was there any thought of putting Martin (Hankins) in?
Middle Tennessee Head Coach Rick Stockstill
I didn't think at that point in time. It had become a blitz game, which Will (Hudgens) should be the guy for that. But when it becomes a blitz game you've got to sit in there and take the shot and deliver the ball. At that point in time, I didn't think it was that kind of game to have a wounded quarterback. I think he could have played, but he still was hurt. It wasn't like he was a 100 percent. To be honest, I kept thinking Will would get a rhythm and get it going, but he didn't.
You turned the ball over four times and they did once, but you guys scored on the one. Can you comment on that?
I thought we did a poor job at protecting the ball. I thought Dwight (Dasher) made some careless decisions with the ball. I told our team at halftime and really after the game that we won the game despite not playing what I think was our best. We did some good things. We did some better things, but we didn't protect the ball well enough, and then we fumbled that punt. We did some careless things with the football that we were fortunate to win the game. Our defense played really well. The good thing about it is our turnovers were on the negative side of the field where they had to go a long way. They stopped drives, but at least they weren't on our end of the field.
You're playing against a friend in Tommy West and there is a lot of connections between the two schools. What does this win mean to you?
It's a good win for our program. It's a good win against Conference USA. It's a good win for our team because we've been in some close games this year. We haven't been able to pull it out, so it's a good win for our program. And again, if Tommy would have won the game I'm sure he'd say the same thing. I'm happy for our players. I'm happy for our team and our school. When you play friends it's kind of anticlimactic a little bit, but I'm very happy for our players.
How does the outlook change with you now playing conference games from here on out?
When you get to the halfway point of the season, every game is important. This game was a very important game for us. Now we finish up in the conference. Hopefully, this will give us a little momentum and a little confidence. We played pretty good last week against a good Virginia team and played pretty good here tonight against a good Memphis team, but we didn't play our best. If we can put a full game together, I think we have a chance to have a nice run here at the end.