Coach Tommy West Press Luncheon Quotes - September 22, 2008
Sept. 22, 2008
Tommy West Press Luncheon Quotes
About Nicholls State Game
"We went into the Nicholls State game and wanted our team to out-rush Nicholls and win the turnover battle. We also wanted to dominate the special teams. We thought that if we were able to do those three things than we would win the game and that would improve our team. One of the areas where we needed to improve was running the ball. We were able to do that. We ran the ball more than fifty times in the game. It is unusual for us to run the ball that much, but that is where we felt that we needed to get better. We felt that we had a better chance to win the game if we were able to run the ball effectively. I was pleased with the way we were able to control the ball with the running game. We didn't put any balls on the ground and we didn't have any turnovers, so we did what we needed to do there. We gave up a big play in special teams which made it look like we wouldn't win the special teams battle. But we came back and forced two fumbles on kickoffs and we were able to get a score off one of the fumbles. We came out of the game and accomplished what we set out to do coming into the game. I thought our defense played well the whole night. We gave up three points in the game. Not knowing what to really expect from Nicholls, I thought that Tim (Walton) did a really nice job and so did our players. Our players adapted well during the game."
On Arkansas State quarterback Corey Leonard
"This is a game that our guys understand is important. Two years ago we gave up the Hail Mary pass at the end of the game and lost. Last year we gave up a 31-6 lead at the half and lost the game. We had two games where we had chances to win the game, but we didn't win them. They have had a good team. Their quarterback makes it all work for their offense. I think he is a really good player. He is a lot like Chase Clement at Rice. He can beat you with his legs. He was basically the reason for the comeback in the second half of our game last year. He is fast and can run. He has a little bit more arm strength than Clement. He is an outstanding quarterback. He can beat you running the ball and he can beat you throwing the ball."
On Arkansas State running game
"Reggie Arnold is the guy that is playing a lot for them. He has been very productive for them. Both backs are good players. When I look at their offense, the guy pulling the trigger makes a lot of plays for them. Even the plays that he doesn't make for them, the defense still has to account for the quarterback. What we have talked about in the spread offense, being productive and having a quarterback that can run it and throw it, boy he gives them that. He runs it really well and can throw it, as well. When you can add the quarterback to the running game out of the spread offense that is really what helped them come back last year. He ran the ball 22 times in the game last year. When that quarterback can run it, you can run a one back offense like a two back offense, you have to defend all of the wide receivers. But now they can have two backs in the backfield with their quarterback and if the defense is playing the pass then the quarterback can hurt you with his legs."
"The key is that you have to play fast against Arkansas State defensively. Whatever you do, you have to play fast. We can't let the quarterback beat us running the ball. The key for us defensively is to control the quarterback running the ball. I don't think you can prevent him from running, but we need to control him. We want to try to get him in third down situations that are passing downs instead of downs where he has the choice of whether to run or pass."
Arkansas State Defense
"They are kind of like the defenses we have already played against. They are a very aggressive defense. They aren't afraid to blitz you and come get you. I think that this is the best Arkansas State team that we have played. They seem to be better running the ball and better against the run than they have in the past. Defensively, I have been very impressed that nobody has been able to run the ball on them. Texas A&M was unable to get the run going on ASU, Southern wasn't able to run. I don't believe anyone has rushed for over four yards a carry on them. They have done a really good job controlling other team's running games. If we can have some success running the ball then it should open up some passing lanes for us. We have to be able to run the ball some. It always seems to be the key for us to get the running game going and that is why we worked on it so much in the Nicholls State game."
On the Memphis-Arkansas State series
"I like the series against Arkansas State. They have been good games. I don't like giving up the Hail Mary and giving up a 31-6 lead, but I think it has been a good series overall."