Oct. 12, 2009
"We had a tough loss in Louisville. I felt like the team played hard and well enough to win, but it came down to a matter of a couple plays. Louisville made those plays and we didn't. It was a tough loss for us, also with what was going on during the week with our football team. We bounced back and started preparing for Memphis last night. We'll game plan today and have some good practices this week and get ready to play back in The Rock."
On Peter Wilkes:
"First of all, it was a very unique situation with Peter. In the summer, Peter and his dad came down for orientation, and Peter's dad had a heart attack and passed away here in Hattiesburg. We weren't sure that Peter was going to continue to come to school here but he decided that was the best thing, and it was a dream that he had and his dad had for him. He came and was obviously living out his dream. He was just a great kid, had a great attitude. He didn't win the punting job but he didn't blink an eye. He went to the scout team and continued to work. He also got involved on the scout team and was running routes against the defense as a receiver. They were hitting him and I asked him `Do you like that?' and he says `Yeah, coach. I really do. I like this. It keeps me going.' He liked being involved and he had a super attitude about the whole situation."
"In talking with the specialists, the biggest thing for him was just suiting up for a game and being on that sideline, which sometimes I think we take for granted just how important that is to a kid. He was going home for fall break to meet up with his brothers and sisters and they were picking out a headstone for his father's grave. That was the plan. The accident happened that night and that's where we are today."
On the feelings of the team in regards to Wilkes:
"It's been a difficult time. It's difficult any time you lose a teammate. Just like on any team though, you have some guys who are going to know him very well and some guys who aren't going to know him well, especially when it's a teammate who has only been with you for a month and a half or two months. A lot of that depends on positions and how involved guys get. Some guys were devastated by it and others handled it a little better. It's just something we'll have to work though - it's part of the grieving process."
On players' involvement in the memorial services:
"I don't know who all went up there this weekend [to be with the Wilkes family] because we were in Louisville. I don't really know that situation. I do know that the family has requested that a few of the guys come up to be pallbearers so we're going to try to make that work out for them."
On Memphis' running game:
"I don't think there is any doubt that they are going to get [Memphis running back Curtis] Steele the ball. They are going to get the ball in his hands any way they can. He's their player. He's the guy who makes plays for them. I think he had 270 on the ground against UTEP. They do a lot of different things with him, and they had success doing that against us last year. I'm sure they're planning on doing it again."
On a chip-on-the-shoulder attitude against Memphis:
"We should have a chip on our shoulder, regardless of who we play. We've had three games now where we have come up short so I would imagine (the players) have a chip on their shoulder about whoever they play. Whether it's Memphis or not, it's our next football game and we need to get back in that win column."
On Damion Fletcher missing snaps late in the Louisville game:
"I don't know that there was anything wrong with him. Tory Harrison was in there and was producing. We always talk about whoever is hot and playing well is going to be the guy on the field. At that time, Tory was really running hard and having a lot of success, so we weren't going to take him out to put someone else in."
On the possibility of a shared job at running back:
"It's kind of been that way since we got here. We haven't been in a game where Damion carried every ball as it is and probably won't. We're used to playing two guys and sometimes three. Again, it goes back to whoever is producing is going to get the football. The guy that is making plays is the guy that's going to be on the field."
On the performance of quarterback Martevious Young in his first start of the year:
"I thought Martevious played really well. He played well enough for us to win a football game. He didn't turn the ball over; he took care of it and made some nice throws. Looking at the film, there were probably three things we would have liked him to do a little differently. He played well, though, in his first start and on the road."
On offensive line play against Louisville:
"I thought they did a nice job. I think they got to Martevious one time and we think that that defensive line is pretty good. The Scott kid, No. 93, is going to make a lot of people realize that he is a good defensive tackle and makes a lot of plays. For example, we threw the ball out to DeAndre (Brown) and he made the corner miss and went down 30 or 40 yards down to the five-yardline. No. 93 is the one who made the tackle and he had gotten cut on the play. He got cut on the line of scrimmage and went down and got up and ran the play down. He's that type of player. I thought our offensive line took the game over in the fourth quarter and that's why we were able to run the ball successfully."