“It’s A Play Here Or There We've Got To Make”
Johnthan Banks in the endzone after his 2nd int
Johnthan Banks in the endzone after his 2nd int
Editor-Dawgs' Bite
Posted Oct 25, 2009


“I’m really, really proud of our guys and the way they battled and way they fought. Our defense gave a heck of an effort against obviously as everyone knows a really talented team, the number-one team in the country. Our defense battled and did a great job in the end zone. We turned the ball over, give Florida credit their defense did a great job keeping us off-balance and creating turnovers.”

“I thought our kids battled. I thought we had a chance right until the end, I guess our guy was off-sides on the kickoff. I guess. I don’t know, we’ll look at it tomorrow. I warned them that their guys were offsides once or twice, but we didn’t get it. You just hope for some consistency there. So that was a little disappointing to give us that last chance. That last fight at the end after that, they returned the ball back to midfield which was pretty tough for us to make any last-minute comeback. But give them credit, they did a heck of a job.

“You can’t turn the ball over, we threw three interceptions, you can’t do that and win a football game. But we’ll get a lot better. I was really proud of our kids, what they did, how they fought, how they battled. I want to thank all the fans that set the attendance record, our student body and the atmosphere they created tonight is a solid foundation for the future of Mississippi State. You know what, our fans, our student body, and Mississippi State Bulldogs everywhere know this team is going to have a real bright future and they’re going to be a major, major part of it if we can keep going and having crowds like today. It was amazing.”

Q: What made your defense effective stopping Florida in the red zone? “I tell you, they just buckled-down when they got down there and made plays. They made plays. Obviously Johnathan Banks, two interception returns for touchdowns, the one at the end of the half just an amazing play by him. We tried to mix up pressure and then not-pressure to keep them off-balance. We gave up yards between the 20s but when we got down there the guys really buckled in and that’s where they made the plays. And that’s what you need to do to win close, big-time ball games.”

Q: Talk about the things Florida’s defense to stop the run? “They did a really good job of that. You look at their team, they’ve got a ton of talent on the defensive side of the ball. Charlie (Strong) is a tremendous football coach and had their guys ready to play. They did a great job and kept us from getting in rhythm, especially in the first half. When you don’t get in a rhythm that way it can throw you off for the whole night, so they did a really good job early on. After our first drive of the first half we really didn’t do anything else the first half. So we need to get some things fixed, we need to clean some things up, we had some silly penalties and kept putting ourselves in bad situations. There are probably going to be some mistakes we made up front. But we’ll get that stuff fixed.”

Q: The fourth game at home you had a chance in the fourth quarter, what can you point to that is holding you back? “Well, every one of those teams we played was ranked in the top-15! There’s a little bit of that, the quality of teams we continue to play, give those teams an awful lot of credit! They’ve come in here in a tough atmosphere and they find ways to win. You know what, it’s a play here or there that we’ve got to make. As we keep developing, as we keep growing… Tyson is going to keep developing for us. It’s tough for him, a third offense in three years and coming in to a new situation that we put a lot on. Your quarterback is going to have to make plays for you to win close games in the fourth quarter, and Tyson is still developing in that way.”

Q: Talk about the fake punt? “Well, it wasn’t like we were churning up and down the field on offense. And it was a key point in the game, I thought we needed a play. And they’d been coming after us on the punt team, I thought we’d get it. And it looked like we had it; when I looked at the replay Robert (Elliot) just stumbled, and David Nelson, a heck of a football player for them, was right there when he stumbled to make the tackle.”

Q: You had a long drive in the first half, then some short drives, but come out the second half and go on a long drive. Was that from the plays scripted? “We script every drive. They’re the top defense in the league and one of the top defenses in the nation. Give Charlie (Strong) a lot of credit for making adjustments and getting us stopped. They did a nice job, they contained Anthony Dixon and took us out of what we wanted to do which is run Anthony Dixon and control the tempo of the game. When they took us out of that a little bit, that’s not our strong point having to come from behind and throw the ball everywhere right now. our strong point is running the ball with our three senior running backs. In the future when a lot of our guys will develop the pass game is going to come along a lot more, but they did a nice job of taking Anthony out of the game.”

Q: What did Coach Meyer say to you after the game? “He said we were doing a heck of a job of building a solid program here; I wished them the best the rest of the way. He actually asked me about the fake punt, he said he kept looking, waiting for me to give away that we were going to run it. I guess I must have had a pretty good poker face going, he didn’t think it was going to come and all of a sudden it surprised him.”

Q: Talk about Banks a little more and his nose for the ball? “Johnathan is a guy that did everything at his high school; he was a receiver, running back, quarterback, point guard on the basketball team, did the whole deal. He’s a football player. We kind of evaluate all the freshmen when they come in and we thought he could be a heck of a wide receiver; we just thought we needed that athleticism on the defensive side of the ball right now. Our plan is around playing great defense so we put him there. And that’s two consecutive games with two interceptions, he’s really growing and developing. I’m going to watch the film and see him make a lot of good tackles as well tomorrow.”

Q: Do you use a Florida as a measuring-stick kind of game? “Well, no different than the last three home games we’ve had. All three of those teams are ranked pretty high. To use those measuring sticks, we’re right outside the top-15, we’re not quite there yet. We’re close, we can get in the fourth quarter with them, we just have to learn how to finish these games off.”

Q: What situations were you trying to put Tim Tebow in to force throws? “Tim’s a great quarterback. Both the interceptions came off tipped balls, that’s just guys making plays. It’s not a situation where we put Tim. The first interception we brought pressure and he had to throw quick, the ball got tipped and Johnathan was right there and stepped in to make a play. The second one, I’m not sure, was it Pernell McPhee that got pressure on him and hit him right as he threw and popped the ball up. We had a couple of balls popped-up too and you can see the result. When that ball gets popped up in the middle of the field, as an offensive coach usually there’s not a lot of good things going to happen when that ball’s floating around the middle of the field! I don’t know that it was anything we did specifically, I think it was our guys making great plays on those interceptions.”



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