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September 30, 2008

Larry Fedora's Weekly Press Conference

Opening Statement: "We had a good week of practice last week. We got some guys healed and back with us, Blake Spiers and Ivory Bradshaw. It is nice to have those guys back with us. We have been busying planning for UTEP. UTEP had a good game this week. Central Florida came to their place and they scored 58 points on them. They will be hungry when they come here. It will be a good game and we will have to get after them to be successful."

On UTEP scoring 58 points in C-USA Opener Versus UCF:
"There is nothing surprising in college football anymore. Anything can happen on any Saturday and there is no doubt about it. Probably no one expected it, but they have the talent to do it. They have people that can make plays. They turned over a couple and the defense scored twice. So next thing you know they rolled it up. I didn't spend much time looking at Central Florida, but I saw UTEP did really well.

On Health of Team:
"We really are in good shape right now. We are getting back to close to 100 percent."

On possible changes in the ground game after Marshall:
"No, we have spent a lot of time working on it (during the off-week) but that's all. There is nothing, scheme-wise, that needs to be changed. We just need to do a better job of executing and understanding. We are not going to beat our heads against the wall."

On the Equality of Teams with Anything Can Happen Each Week:
"It is definitely because you can have 85 scholarships, there is no doubt that players are going to a lot of different schools. There is parity in college football now. Plus they are still 18, 19, 20 year old kids and you never know when they walk out on that field if they are 100 percent ready to go. You never know what the mentality of the team will be. That's the toughest part about it. I think there is definitely parity in college football right now, and I think it will continue. You saw it last year and you are seeing it this year, and I think you will see it each and every year. I bet more than 50 percent of the schools have 85 on scholarship.

On Team Mentality Since the Marshall Game:
"It is pretty much out of their mind now. The coaches have done a good job of getting that game over with. It's a bitter taste in your mouth, but that's a good thing because it's a motivating factor. They can get out of bed, get after it, and practice hard. So they can get that bitter taste out of their mouth. They have handled it well. They were very disappointed, but they have practiced hard and I think that's a good thing."

On Whether There Was Live Action During Practice Last Week:
"We did. There were only a couple of periods in the practices that we were against scouts. Most of the time we were going offense against defense, ones-on-ones, and getting after it pretty good."

On Was There Focus on Anything Special During the Off Week:
"Not really, we focused on the things that we have been doing every week, because there is so much room for improvement on the little things. So we didn't really have time to expand because we have to get better in what we are doing. When we get better in what we are doing, then we can expand in different areas."

On Anthony Gray:
"The last two games have been his best two games. I mean you like to think that he will get better each week, get better against UTEP and as the season goes along to just get better and better. But, yes, he has improved since the season started. He had a few plays last year, but he is just ahead of everybody else this year."

On the Southern Miss Defensive Line:
"We are going to continue to try to keep it fresh, although there is not a big difference between the 10 of them. We are going to continue to play them, roll them, keep them fresh and continue to play them hard."

On Ivory Bradshaw who is Trying to Come Back from Two Straight Knee Injuries:
"It depends on how far away he is mentally. He can definitely help us in the nickel position, because we have nickel on the field quite a bit. I saw a few of his plays in the spring (before he got hurt), but that was it. It has been a long time since Ivory has been on the field playing football, it's been pretty tough on him injury-wise."

On the Southern Miss Football Team Moving Forward:
"It is wide open. We can not lose sight of what our goals are and continue to take care of ourselves. That is the whole emphasis right now, to worry about Southern Miss and make sure we are playing better, and taking care of the little details. Then we will look up and see what happens in the end. There is no reason to focus on anything other than ourselves right now."

On Having Five or Six Plays a Game Helping to Determine the Outcome:
"When you win a game, you still look at your mistakes; every game is a game of inches. It is very close either way, unless it is just a blowout. Five or six plays the other way would have been a nice win. But you never know when those five or six plays are coming, so you have to prepare every play. The little bitty details are the differences in the game."

On UTEP Quarterback Trevor Vittatoe:
"He is getting better. He probably had his best game this past week. He gets better and better each week. That is the same with any young quarterback. Most guys are going to grow and mature play-to-play. When one of those plays happens like that in practice, the light goes on and the next time it happens that way in the game, they are successful. They make a mistake in practice, or in an early game, they don't make that mistake again. It is a growing process and he has gotten better as the season goes on. He has talent and is going to be a good football player."

On Setbacks for New Freshmen, Especially Quarterback Austin Davis:
"Not for Austin (Davis). I believe Austin has gotten a little better each week. Knock on wood, but I don't think he has had a game where he went back the other way. He is doing a good job right now, preparing himself, continuing to learn from the mistakes made and getting a little bit better each week."

On the Golden Eagle Scout Team During an Off Week:
"Those guys went to their position and worked with their position coach and ran through all the drills. They may even got a little work in team (portion of practice). We know we are redshirting them, but we try to get as much work in as we can so they can keep developing their skills as we go."

On Games Coming Down to Turnovers:
"The games I watched Saturday, it hinged on that for every team. I heard one game and the commentator said the head coach doesn't allow turnovers, and then they had three and got beat. I don't know anybody that allows turnovers, but it is part of the game. You try to keep them to a minimum and that is the key. If you can do that, then you will be successful. But there is no doubt it will be that way with this football team also. If we take care of the football, then we will have a chance in every game we play. If we don't, then obviously your chances become slim."

On UTEP Coach Mike Price:
"I have never coached against him. He is a heck of a football coach, though. He has been successful everywhere he has been.
"Obviously he knows how to move the football around. He has been very competitive everywhere he has been. He has done a tremendous job there at UTEP."


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