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Football Press Conference Highlights

Football Press Conference Highlights

Monday Press Conference HighlightsNov. 17, 2008

Arkansas Head Coach Bobby Petrino On the bye week“Well, I thought it was a good week for us. We practiced hard on Wednesday and Thursday. We had some physical practices and worked hard on our run defense and running the ball. We gave them Friday and Saturday off and came back last night and had a good meeting. Then went out and practiced for an hour and twenty minutes. I liked their attitude and the way they were working. They were very positive and worked hard, so we have our day off today and then we’ll get back tomorrow and continue to work on our game plan for Mississippi State. Quarterback wise Casey [Dick] practiced some last night. We’re going to have to wait and see how he reacts to everything and see how the week of practice goes. Whether he’ll be the starter or Nathan [Dick] will be the starter we certainly feel confident with either one of them starting. Michael [Smith] practiced last night and looked very quick and fast. His legs are back and feeling good. He was in a neck roll and there will be some alterations to that. It’s getting a little bulky for him and bothering him a little bit, but he felt real good. That was good to see. We’ll be as healthy as we’ve been all year. Barring the week of practice, Adrian Davis was out there last night and did everything. Grant Cook went through everything, DeMario Ambrose did the individual part of practice. We anticipate an increase in that on Tuesday and plan for him to be ready to play on Saturday. We should have most of our guys back and ready to play.”

On starting quarterback“It’s kind of a combination [based on health and performance]. We want to make sure that Casey’s back healthy, but we did like the way Nathan played when he came in. It wasn’t Casey’s best game of the year against South Carolina. He made some mistakes prior to getting hit in the head. Also, you want to make sure Mississippi State has to prepare for both of them.”

On D.J. Williams“He’s had a very good year for us. He’s been our go-to guy and he’s the guy who has had the big plays and a lot of third down conversions. When D.J. is full speed healthy he can run routes with anybody. He has great hands and the thing he’s shown throughout the year is his ability to run after the catch. He can break tackles and make big plays. He really helps us and has had a terrific year. He’s been a guy that we rely on and when he’s in the game almost all the time.”

On Mississippi State“We watched [their last] game live and went through the video this morning and broke it down in the computer. They have a very good defense and they’re very similar in some of the things they do to South Carolina. They go back and forth between a four-man front and three-man front. They’ll pressure you and they try and get an extra guy down in the box to stop the run, whether that’s seven guys or eight guys, depending on what personnel you have in the game. They’re very sound so we have to make sure that we execute and do a good job. As far as the defense goes, the biggest concern that we have is their ability to run the ball. You add option to the package and their quarterback can do two things; he can throw the ball deep and scramble around. We have a challenge to make sure we can keep him in the pocket and defend the deep pass.”

Defensive Tackle Malcolm Sheppard“I know as a defensive line everyone’s going to step their game up. I feel that it’s up to us to win this game. Mississippi State loves to run the ball and if we can stop the run we have the best chance of winning. We definitely need to win these last two to get to a bowl. It’s just like coach said a while back, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to go to a bowl game, but it gives us the best chance.”

On playing South Carolina“It was a welcome challenge, but it caught us off guard a little bit. I think we can do better against the run. All of us were disappointed in the way we handled that at the end. I know that as a defensive front we can be better against the run than we were at South Carolina.”

On Adrian Davis back in the line up“It’s going to help our secondary and help our young corners because he’s definitely a great pass rusher. Just to get the quarterback a little scared in the pocket, that’ll help us out a lot.”

On the week off“Me personally I don’t think it was beneficial at all. I didn’t need it. I just like playing football week after week and having that challenge and you can rest when the off season comes. It’s definitely beneficial for the younger players. They get to come out and play with each other and it helped them compete with each other and just gave them some time to get some reps because the don’t play as much during the season.”

On playing to be bowl eligible“I’ve played here two years and I’ve played in two bowl games. I couldn’t imagine not playing in one this year. Hopefully it doesn’t stop this year. Nobody wants to be sitting at home around Christmas and watching everyone else play. It’s definitely motivation for us to get to a bowl game.”

Wide Receiver Lucas MillerSouth Carolina Game“I am definitely getting into a grove, getting over this concussion stuff, trying to get the kinks out. Obviously the quarterbacks have done a great job of giving us receivers the ball and letting us do what we are here to do.”

On Nathan Dick“I think playing in the game gave him a little bit of confidence. In practice he is now reading things a little better, a little quicker and understanding the offense a little more with the game time experience that he has gained.”

On Casey Dick“I think Casey came out yesterday with a mind set that he is getting his mind back into it. He came out and threw the ball extremely well. That was one of the things Carlton Salters discussed at the first of practice when we were just throwing routes, how much harder and more accurate he was throwing the ball during routes.”

On his Injury“It took a couple of games, a couple weeks of practice. I sat out the entire week, probably two weeks of practice. Our trainer didn’t feel like I was all there and Coach Petrino was taking the most precaution with it. He didn’t want to play me unless I was fully ready to go. I understood that and I respected that and so it took me a couple of games to get back in the grove of things when I was performing when the quarterbacks got back to trusting me. Like you said everyone is different, it just took me a couple of weeks to get over that.”

Center Jonathon Luigs“The open week came at a good time with the injuries we had on the offensive side of the ball and the defensive side of the ball as well. Casey [Dick] took a big hit in the last game and he was able to recover, Michael Smith the same way. We’ve got Grant Cook and Adrian Davis back too. It was just good to have that week off to get players back.”

On Michael Smith“[Michael Smith] was running around real well. I think he got his legs back; it really gave him a chance for a breather. Hopefully he will be able to come out this weekend and have a good performance.”

On Nathan Dick“I think [Nathan Dick] showed where he is at this past game. He was to come in there and stand in the pocket and take some hits and make the throws. Obviously he is going to be inexperienced compared to Casey [Dick] but at the same time his upside is high.”

On the Next Two Games“These two games are crucial, especially for our seniors to go out on a high note and really extend our season. I don’t think we are ready to be done playing football in two weeks. Hopefully there is going to be a pep in our step when we go to the practice field and really just try and get this first one and then go from there. We’ve got our hands full. It’s going to be tough traveling down there, I mean they’ve got a good football team and going in that type of environment is going to be tough.”

On DJ Williams being a semifinalist for the Mackey Award“He creates some mismatches, you wouldn’t think a tight end and a linebacker would be a mismatch, but he is has that speed and he has the ability, not necessarily to make people miss, but fighting off tackles. His double digit catches the past few weeks has sparked the offense and helped us get things going. It’s an honor for him to be on that list.”

Sports Category : Football