Post-game Comments From MSU Players

Publisher-Gene's Page
Posted Oct 30, 2004


Mississippi State football players - Willie Evans, Clarence McDougal, Quinton Culberson, Brian Anderson - talked to the media about their 22-7 victory over the Kentucky Wildcats, their second straight SEC victory.


Defensive End Willie Evans

Why do you think you guys are playing better defensively?
"I think the biggest thing is our great effort running to the ball. Today, we made some mistakes on some blocks, but the team made up for it by running to the ball."

Why did you improve against the option play today?
"I think we were trying to overplay early in the year. Now, we are playing our positions better."


Linebacker Clarence McDougal

Last week, it was the offense that won the game, this week, it was the defense.
"Coach (Croom) was getting on us all week to stay focus and try to get two big wins in the SEC. Today, the D was flying around and there weren't that many missed tackles."

What was the difference in the defense?
"We were making tackles. The first of the year, we weren't making tackles."

What was the defense trying to do against Kentucky?
"When we knew Boyd was going to play, we wanted to stop the option first. When the other guy got in, he was more of a thrower than a runner, so we needed to play sound defense and not make too many mistakes. We made a few cover mistakes, but not a lot."

With two SEC wins in a row, how much has the confidence level on the team improved?
"Our confidence is high. Coach Croom is getting us right. We just have to keep fighting."

The NCAA ruling doesn't seemed to have affected the players at all despite knowing that you won't be playing in a bowl game this year.
"We knew they were going to give us (some penalties). Coach (Croom) told us to not worry about it and finish the season out strong. We are playing for pride right now."


Linebacker Quinton Culberson

How important was it to jump on Kentucky early, defensively?
"It was important for us (to play well against them) the whole game because we really didn't put up any points on offense. (The offense) worked hard and, as the game went on, wore them down and scored some points."

Talk about the safety that Titus Brown had near the end of the game.
"I'm not sure if the safety that Titus got was called because Coach (Croom) got on him on the sidelines after he did it, but it was a great play and helped us win."

After you scored off the interception, how did it feel to score in college?
"It felt good to get back in the endzone. I haven't scored since I was a senior in high school. I'm going to tell Coach to play me a little at receiver this coming week."

Once you caught your interception, what did you think?
"I said to myself I'm just going to run. I wanted to dive in (the endzone), but I knew when I got on the sidelines Coach Croom would have got on me. So, I didn't. I just did a little high step and pointed the ball at them a little bit."

Coach Croom called you the sparkplug of the defense after moving you from position to position.
"He's moved me three or four positions. I've told myself that I'm going to go 110%. (Linebacker) might be my home from here on out."

Do you sense that next week's game against Alabama is special for Coach Croom since it's his alma mater?
"Yes, I think it is going to be very personal with Coach Croom. We are going to take it out on Alabama."

That's big words.
"Yeah, it's big words, but I'm speaking like that because I'm excited about this win. We have our confidence up after winning two SEC games in a row."

How important is it to have all the momentum going your way after the way it has been the past few years?
"All the guys are happy to have this momentum going and we are going to continue it by playing our hearts out."

What is the difference between this team and the one that lost to Maine early in the season?
"We never gave up but we gave up big plays here and there. But we never gave up on each other. We continued trying to do the right things and hoped by mid-season that we would start winning some games."

How much did Coach Croom figure in that improvement?
"He said that we were going to be a physical team and that's how we came out against Florida. We were real physical against them and came out this week (against Kentucky) and were real physical."

How has the move to linebacker been for you?
"The move of the two freshmen and me to linebacker has helped the team a great deal. We've won two games with young linebackers in there.

"As for me, it's fine but there is a lot of hitting. I love contact but I'm not used to this much contact. I'm sore right now. I'm going to get used to it and get a little stronger."

You are such a hard hitter, why is contact something that you have to get used to?
"I love to hit but the linemen are on me more than they would be if I was a corner or a safety. Fighting off linemen and making the tackle is a big adjustment to me and is real hard to do."

Would you still like to play some corner?
"I still think I could play corner but they moved me (to linebacker) to make plays for the team and that is what I did."

Do you feel you need to get bigger?
"I weigh 220 to 222 and I'm happy with that weight. I just want to get a little stronger."


Offensive Guard Brian Anderson

For the third straight week, you guys ran the ball well.
"We ran the ball pretty good, but we missed Chris (McNeil) today. You have to give a lot of credit to the backs, Jerious (Norwood) and Fred (Reid)." (McNeil was injured in the first half and missed the entire second half and part of the first half.-Gene)

What has been the difference in Jerious the past three weeks compared to the early part of the season?
"The last few weeks he has really been running well. He is running like a man possessed. I also think the offensive line has been playing better, although we slipped up a little today. It seemed like we would run a couple of good plays and mess up."

How has this team improved since the LSU game?
"Even though you saw the scoreboard against Vanderbilt and UAB, I think, since the LSU game, we have started coming together and believing more in Coach Croom's gameplan."

You aren't the strongest offensive lineman, but you are starting and doing well. How do you offset your lack of strength in a game?
"I'm not going to brag on myself, but I think I try real hard. Being in the middle, I have a lot of help from the center and sometimes the tackle."

A few times you looked like MSU offensive tackle David Stewart out there because, like David, you didn't stop blocking your man until the whistle blew. Are you trying to develop that trait?
"One thing my dad told me when I got here was to watch number 60 (David Stewart) and try to play like him. I guess everybody tries to emulate Country."

You are from Alabama. Is the upcoming game against Alabama a big game for you?
"I want this game bad. I want it bad."

Did Alabama recruit you?
"They sent me a few letters, but I never really got recruited by them."

Were you and your parents Alabama fans prior to you signing with Mississippi State?
"We were real big fans. But my folks want us to beat them just as bad as I do. I'm sure they pull for them against other teams, but they are not big-time Alabama fans anymore."

How long did it take your parents to convert from being Alabama fans to Mississippi State fans?
"As soon as I told them I was going here."


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



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