Postgame Comments From MSU Players

Publisher-Gene's Page
Posted Sep 5, 2004


Mississippi State football players-Will Prosser, Darren Williams, Omarr Conner, Rico Bennett, Clarence McDougal- talked to the media about their 28-7 home victory over the Tulane Green Wave Saturday night.


Wide Receiver Will Prosser

Talk about your play tonight.
"I think I did alright. I made some mental errors here and there. Overall, I think as a team we played pretty solid. We have to continue to get better from week to week. But I think we played pretty good tonight."

The offense seemed to get ignited due to Darren Williams' interception.
"Coach Croom talked about the first five minutes of the second half really being the key to the game. Darren got that pick and we were able to put it in. We credited him for that touchdown. It was his."

It's early for a report card but how about giving us an early season West Coach offense summary.
"We still have things to work on. I think we did average tonight. We could have done better in some areas. We were in better condition that I thought we would be. We finished plays well."

Talk about Tulane's defense.
"I think they knew that we were going to try and run the football early and they brought their safety down a lot. I think that helped them kind of shut us down in the beginning."


Safety Darren Williams

How important was it to get your first win under your belt so early in the season?
"This win was very important. I know our confidence will go up now. We know we can do it. We believe that we can win, now. We know that we can stick together four quarters and finish every snap, every series, every game."

What does this game mean to you personally from a historical perspective due to it being Coach Croom's first game?
"Man, it feels good playing for the first black coach in the SEC. We would have felt very disappointed if we hadn't won this game for him."

Your interception seemed to have ignited the offense in the second half.
"At halftime, the defense said that we have to make a big play to give the offense field position. They were driving the ball but they couldn't put it in. The coaches called a great play, the defensive line came off the ball really well, the linebackers dropped back and I just broke on the ball and got a pick and put them in great field position."

Talk about the attitude of this team.
"There is more team unity with this team. There is a bond. Everybody is comfortable playing the positions they are playing. Everybody is happy."

Last year the defense gave up a lot of points. Do you feel you showed signs of having the type defense MSU had prior to the last three years?
"This is the beginning of a new era. We believe in each other."

The team committed so few penalties. Is that part of Coach Croom's discipline rubbing off on your guys during the game itself?
"Yes, it is Coach Croom's discipline. He always stresses no pre-snap penalties. We don't need penalties. We can't give up yards. We aren't good enough to give up yards. We didn't give up any yards and we came out on top."

Although you guys played good defense, are there improvements you feel that you can make?
"We still need to make some more adjustments. We were so happy that we didn't get hurt on a couple of busted assignments."


Linebacker Clarence McDougal

Talk about your interception that ended their scoring threat late in the first half.
"Our backs were against the wall then. Last year, we would have probably gave up a touchdown or something. Coach called a blitz. I had a tight end man to man. I saw him lob it up so I went and got it. I think it was a big stand for the defense and set the tone."

The defense played well tonight.
"We wanted to step it up because last year we gave up a lot of points. It was a great show by the defense. (Defensive coordinator) Coach Ellis Johnson gave us some good coaching. And we wanted to win it for Coach Croom."

In the past, MSU usually had a lot of penalties. Tonight, you only had three. Do you feel you are playing more discipline ball now?
"There is a lot more discipline. Coach Croom came in and set the tone. We wanted to be more discipline and play smart football."


Linebacker Rico Bennett

Was this game a game where you got back to playing fun football?
"Yeah, it got back to like it was in the old day, real exciting, man. It's hard to explain. I haven't felt anything like it since I've been here."

One of you threw ice on Coach Croom near the end of the game. Was that planned or a spur of the moment type thing?
"It was a spur of the moment thing. I didn't even get a chance to see who did it. I believe it was Chris McNeil."

What did Coach Croom tell you guys at halftime?
"He said he wanted us to come out and set the tone for the second half and make plays. He wanted us to let them know that we weren't tired and come at them harder and harder as the game went on."

Could you tell if you wore them down as the second half went on?
"About the middle of the third quarter they started showing fatigue. You could tell it in their eyes, man, they were giving up."

What did you think about Omarr Conner's play during the game?
"He showed up, man. He surprised a lot of people. I was very impressed with his performance."

What were you thinking as you were going into the fourth quarter ahead of Tulane?
"In the past, we were down in the fourth quarter. This game we were ahead and everybody kept going. Coach Croom has preached, finish, finish, finish all the time. We stuck to it and came out on top."

It seemed like there was no one person who made plays on the defensive side of the ball. There were a lot of guys making plays.
"You have to run to the ball to make plays. All eleven guys have to go to the ball."

What happened on the play where you recovered what you thought was a fumble and ran it in for a touchdown?
"I thought he fumbled the ball, but they said it was an incomplete pass. Everyday we practice on scooping and scoring. So, I just did what we did in practice and scooped and scored. It felt good scoring, but it didn't feel good when they called it back."

When the touchdown was denied was there a letdown among the players?
"No, Coach always says we have to have amnesia because things aren't going to go our way all the time. We have to forget about it and get ready for the next play."


Quarterback Omarr Conner

Talk about the team's play tonight.
"This is a new era, a new beginning. We wanted everybody to know that we are going to play hard all four periods."

What was the significance of winning for Coach Croom?
"It was a very good win since he was the first black coach in the SEC. This is a new beginning."

At halftime, did Coach Croom tell you guys something about winning the first five minutes of the second half?
"The first five minutes was how we were going to tell them how we were going to play the rest of the half."

Coach said you got a little tired out there. Did you ask out or did he pull you out?
"I wasn't tired. I had gotten hit in my stomach but I didn't want to tell them because I wanted to stay in there for my teammates. Coach thought I was struggling so he pulled me out. I thank him for that because it allowed me to get my second wind and come back out and make plays."


Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on TheInsiders.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.



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