Nov. 26, 2007
Memphis Head Coach Tommy West
Weekly Press Luncheon Quotes
"I'm really excited about our football team. I'm excited about the way that they finished the season. That's what we had talked about from the start and at mid-year, was that you have to finish what you start. Finish the play. Finish the series. Finish the half, finish the game. Finish the season. I'm really pleased with the way that we finished. I think we got some great leadership from some of our seniors, especially those who our team voted for as captains. We knew this was going to be a dangerous game. I knew SMU was a very talented team. Everybody saw that, that saw the game. They were a team that wanted to get a win in their last game and then I worried a little bit about our team because we had already qualified for a bowl. It was almost like a relief for us once you get to six. So basically you have to go play just because you want to play and I thought our guys did a good job of that and a good job of preparing. I thought our assistant coaches did a good job."
Question: Could you assess your offense, defense and special teams for the season?
"I think offensively, we've had a really good year. I was not pleased in the first half of the season with our production in the running game, but overall offensively, this might have been our most productive offensive team since we've been here. We had the one bad game offensively. I thought our run game could have been a little better, but our run game got better at the end. It really helped us. Defensively, I was not pleased. Still, we've got to get a lot better--in both areas as far as run defense and pass defense. We've just got to be better than where we are right now. In some games we've played ok defensively. In the game before--against UAB--we played really well. The kicking game, which was really bad early, got a lot better as the year went on. We didn't do as well in the last game as I wanted to and that hurt our field position."
Question: Is part of your motivation for wanting to go to the New Orleans Bowl to get another shot at a Sun Belt team?
"Ya'll care more about that than I do. That must be popular because it's in every article that I read--that we've lost to two Sun Belt teams. I prefer to think more about that we won seven and that we won more games in our league than we've ever won. That dominates my thoughts. That we won the first overtime game in the history of the school, and that we are going back four out of five years that's what I think about. There are a lot of positives that dominate my thoughts right now more so many more than the negatives. Just so everybody understands - I haven't forgotten that we lost those games ok. So whoever we play--and we don't know who we are going to play--I mean both of those teams (Troy & Florida Atlantic) are outstanding teams so we'll have our work cut out for us. But when you get in post-season play, you're going to play a good team. I consider us that because you don't just get seven wins for showing up."
Question: The New Orleans Bowl presents a unique situation for Tiger fans because it is played Friday night and the men's basketball team plays Georgetown on Saturday at 11 am. What kind of plea can you make to the fans to have them come out and support your team?
"As far as our game, I can speak for that. Bowl games are hard. I would expect and anticipate that we'll have a great crowd. I don't think we've gotten to a point where we take bowl games for granted. And we have a really good reputation right now as being a team that travels really well. And if you ever want to be big time that's what you have to do. You can't say it's more convenient to do this or do that. I think what we are all aspiring to be is the best that we can make this program. It will be important that we take a good crowd and I'm sure that we will. We can do both."