News, Notes And Quotes From WSSU's Weekly Football Press Conference (9/29/04)

Sept. 29, 2004

News, Notes And Quotes From WSSU's Weekly Football Press Conference

Fayetteville State University 3-2 (1-1 CIAA) Vs. Winston-Salem State 1-4 (1-1 CIAA) Winston-Salem, NC (Bowman-Gray Stadium - 6:00 pm)

Rams vs. Broncos...The matchup between the Rams and Broncos marks the sixth game for both teams in 2004 and may very well be the most anticipated contest in the CIAA this season. The Broncos are the two-time defending CIAA football champions having won the title in 2002 and 2003 and are looking to become the first three-peat champion since Virginia Union accomplished the feat in 1981, 1982 and 1983. The Rams are coming into the contest after falling to Bowie State in Bowie, MD by the score of 7-6 and the Broncos are riding high after a comeback win over the upstart Bears of Shaw in Raleigh, NC by the score of 24-14. The Broncos have won the last two games over the Rams (2002-03).

The Series...The Rams and Broncos have met 58 times prior to this Saturday's matchup. The Rams own the series edge as WSSU is 44-11-3 all-time versus Fayetteville State. Kermit Blount has posted a 6-4-1 record versus the Broncos since taking over the WSSU program in 1993, losing to FSU in the 1994 and 1997 seasons as well as dropping the last two season's matchups (2002 and 2003).

Fun Facts and Numbers... WSSU's record versus the Broncos all time is 44-11-3...Largest WSSU win is by 50 points (62-12 in 1960)...Largest Fayetteville State win is by 40 points (42-2 in 1969)...Longest WSSU win streak is 10 games (occurring twice, most recently 1984-1993)...Longest Fayetteville State win streak is 2 games (occurring twice, most recently during the 2002 and 2003 seasons).

The Last Meeting In Brief...The last meeting between the two teams came during the 2003 season with the Rams falling by the score of 22-14 in Fayetteville, NC on October 11th, 2003. In that contest, the Rams were dismantled by a FSU offense that racked up 440 total yards of offense on 79 plays while the Rams tallied only 266 yards of total offense on 55 plays from scrimmage.

TV Coverage...The game will be televised nationally and locally (check your local listings for station ID's and times) with Stan Lewter providing color commentary and Chip Tarkenton calling play by play. Lewter is no stranger to the WSSU football program as his cousin Brandon Free is a senior, wide receiver for the Rams and the WSSU all-time receptions leader. Tarkenton is no stranger to football as he is the nephew of the legendary Fran Tarkenton. As well the game will be broadcast on SportsView TV. For more information, check out page 8 of these game notes or log on to the SportsView TV website at www.sportsview.tv
Sattelite Coordinates are: C Band, Galaxy 3, Transponder 2

Radio Coverage...This weekend's contest will be available to listeners in the greater Winston-Salem area on WSNC, FM 90.5 with George Croom, Al Roseboro, Ted Fichiolas and Sam Harley calling all the action as well as nationally on the internet at www.wssu.edu by clicking on the link: "Listen to WSNC."

Live Statistical Broadcast Online...Can't make it to the game, but want to keep tabs on what the Rams are doing as it happens? Then log on to the official live statistical broadcast of the game on GAMETRACKER. The contest between the Rams and the Bronocos will mark the fourth game that takes advantage of the Rams' enhanced partnership with College Sports Online as WSSU became the 72nd (out of 102 current partners) NCAA member school to use the GAMETRACKER software that enables a live statistical broadcast of the entire game to be seen on the World Wide Web. To access the GAMETRACKER software, fans may visit the Official Website of WSSU Athletics at www.wssurams.com, accessing the football schedule page and clicking on the GAMETRACKER link to view the action.

WSSU Quarterback Josh McGee:
What is the mood like on the team?
We would have never expected to be 0-4, but we are, and we have to deal with it, and move on from here. It is still possible and very realistic to expect that we will accomplish our goals of another CIAA championship.

How is the toe feeling?
It's fairly comfortable. My adrenaline got going on Saturday, and it was ok. Not 100% but I want to help the team, and I have to give it a go and do what I have to do. I am definitely healthy enough to take care of what I need to do, and we have a lot of weapons. I don't need to do it all.

What is it that is causing problems for us? Inconsistency?
Yeah. I think that is it. We play three quarters and don't show up for one, or one half we play and the other half we lose a half. It is tough, but we need to put it all together and just keep the focus and play our game of football.

Is the season lost now at 1-4?
Definitely not. It is the division games that matter, and that starts this week against Fayetteville. We win them all and we control out own destiny and we don't need anyone else's help. If we lose then we put it in someone else's hands, but we don't plan on doing that. We need to control our future.

WSSU Wide Receiver Brandon Hussey:
How excited are you about not only homecoming, but playing Fayetteville State?

Very excited, after dropping one last week, we are ready to go. It is always exciting against FSU and homecoming is great.

Is it easier to get up for homecoming? Does it help the motivation?
Every game is homecoming for us, even on the road. It is a crucial stretch right now, the division games. But we do appreciate the fan support, it makes it fun.

Is it important to get the ball in the hands of your big play people early?
When we are down in a game, which is something we don't plan on doing, we count on Josh to make reads and get the ball into the hands of the guys that are getting things done.

The last couple of seasons the scoring you guys put up was big. This season, you haven't quite put up the numbers. Why is that?
Mistakes here, and mistakes there. We got into the red zone last week five times and didn't get it done. We just have to execute our game plans and must make things happen.

Do the leaders on the team, the older guys, really need to step up the leadership in the red zone?
I don't think so. I think that the leadership should be there the entire 100 yards. We need to keep the momentum and keep our focus. We have quite a bit of experience on the team and there are plenty of people with knowledge that can help the younger guys all the time.

Are you going to gamble on the kick and punt returns now that we are in the conference schedule?
It is frustrating that teams won't kick to me, but I know that I have to let the game come to me and not take any chances. I still might gamble a bit, but I need to keep it safe and do my job.

Big game this weekend, don't you agree?
Sure is. Out backs are against the wall and we have got to come out of the corner. It is the biggest game of my life. It is actually the biggest game of a lot of our lives. We sat down, some of us, and talked about it last night. And there is no doubt that we will come out ready. It will be tough, but we have to come out ready.

What are you guys doing now that the offensive has slipped a little?
We have got to balance things. They gave us the ball four times off turnovers last week and we couldn't capitalize. We have to step things up now. We had it five times in the zone and couldn't stick it in the box. We have to do that this weekend.

So that is what you guys talked about last night?
Yeah. We are together, but it was more of we have to get together when its crunch time. I don't think that the young guys sometimes feel the crunch time pressure that we feel. So as leaders, we stick together and try to impress upon those guys how important it is. We have got to put it out there on the table.

What kind of problems do they pose to you? Should be a battle.
It is going to be a fight, and homecoming too. The last time they were here it went four overtimes. Their record is pretty good, and they are a good football team, no doubt about that. We are still a good football team too. We played some very tough teams in the early season, and a couple of those games we should have won. But, we have to play on Saturday. It will be a good football game.

WSSU Linebacker Anthony Robinson
Talk about your play and the play of the defense overall.
I feel that me personally and as a team, that we have improved as a defense. We have spent extra time on details and fundamentals, wrapping up tackles and the like. I am only as good as the team is, and if we all go out there hard and fundamentally sound, executing our game plan, we will be just fine.

What problems does Fayetteville State pose to you, from a defensive standpoint?
With Holden gone, they try to go to a big set. They are going to try to run power football and bust people in the mouth. I heard the question asked earlier about getting pumped up for homecoming, and I don't think that is going to be a problem. We are all up for Fayetteville and homecoming. We get up for every game, and homecoming just has a few more fans in the stands.

How much does emotion have as a positive or negative impact on the defensive line?
We are not playing down any hype. It is Fayetteville, we just dropped a conference game, and I am up. I feel that I am the energy of the defensive line. They feed off of my energy and I feed off of theirs. We will all be up for this game, and we will be ready to go.

Is there a different emotional level between the first three non-conference games and these conference games?
Everyone might think that everyone's mood is down on the team being 1-4. It isn't. We are fine. We are 1-1 in the conference. The intensity is very high. The offense and defense are really getting after each other in practice. If we practice hard during the week, then we will play hard on Saturday.

WSSU Head Coach Kermit Blount:
Coach, who is starting at quarterback Saturday?
Me. (laughs).

I guess I'll be your wide receiver then (Stan Lewter - Urban Sports and Entertainment)?
Absolutely. Dr. Caldwell [WSSU Director of Athletics] is at tailback, and John Williams [WSSU Head Women's Basketball Coach] is at the other wideout position. We going do it right for homecoming. And we are going to try to get Dr. Martin [WSSU Chancellor, Dr. Harold L. Martin, Sr.] to play free safety. We are trying to get it all worked out for the homecoming game. But seriously, Josh is going make the start for us. I think he is healthy enough to take us where we want to go, and certainly the experience factor, that is the big thing. We have confidence in him and he can take us to where we need to be.

Any hesitations putting him back in there? We just saw him a second ago, and he still has that boot on his foot.
No, none at all. That boot is actually to protect him when he is in his street clothes. It is hard to keep a guy like Josh McGee out of a ballgame. Especially one of this magnitude. So I can relate to how feels. He is healthy enough and experienced enough to get us into the position to win.

Will you shift our setup in terms of the offensive line, to help protect Josh, who may or may not be 100% in terms of health?
I think what we had to do and go back and look at offensively is the two tight end set. That has worked well. We have added a few things for Martin [Hicks] and Jed [Bines} to get them going. We want to establish the flow and hopefully dictate the game and have the ability to do what we want to do.

You have seen the ups and downs, and have been here a while, what are you doing to make sure your team is up again?
We will be up. I mean whatever I am can do to make sure that my staff and my players are ready, that is what I am doing. I know these guys will be up and ready to play, and when we line down on Saturday, I am confident we will be ready. I know my staff and my players work their butts off, and what I attribute it to being, us being 1-4, is just inconsistent play in patches here and there. We have to curb that and I am sure that we will be okay. But we have very little margin for error.

Coach, I have to ask you about the kicking game, and Matt Hind. What has been his problem this season thus far?
Kickers are hard to figure out, they sure are, and I went through the same thing last year for a little bit with Ashton [Oakley], you know, he went into a slump a bit, and dug himself out, and I think Matt, its kind of the same thing. Once he gets back, once he makes a field goal, makes a few extra points in a row, he will be out of the slump.

He has missed two straight field goals and I think two PATS too. And they hurt you guys.
Oh no doubt. He has missed a few, and has strung a few misses together, and they were crucial, especially last week. It forced me in the Fort Valley game to go for two to try to tie it up, and last week it cost us, the missed extra point, certainly we needed that extra point. But in the grand scheme of things, we had every opportunity to win those games on offense, so it is not Matt's fault.

You guys had that 4th and inches from the six, trailing by one, and Jed got stopped. Would a solid kicking game have changed that decision?
No. I wanted, at that point, to see if we could get it and change the momentum. It would have been a great momentum lift had we pulled the first down and scored. Of course, we put ourselves in a bad situation, but if we had gotten it, it would have put us in a situation up a few with our defense playing well.

Fayetteville State, they have beaten you two in a row, what kind of problems do they present?
A very well coached team. No doubt about that. We are going to have to play disciplined football this weekend defensively. I think that we can play with them defensively. Offensively, I think that we have to get on that consistent roll. This is a football team at this place that is great, and I know that our young men will be ready to go against Fayetteville State. Those guys up front have been through the battle, even though they are freshman. We have played against some very good defensive teams, and they are coming together as a unit. And Fayetteville State is another challenge, another test for us, and we just have to crank it down and play.

Its going to be a good game this weekend I think. Agreed?
Oh its going to be a great game. These are two very good football teams. And every time someone comes in here it is a battle. When it comes to playing Winston-Salem State, everyone is up for it. Everyone wants to beat us, every year. It is a tough position to be put into, but our young men accept the challenge. That is what happens when you have a history of excellence like we do here.

Injury-wise, are you guys pretty healthy?
Injury-wise yeah, we are pretty healthy. We don't have anything that I know of. And the Josh thing, with his toe, he is all set to go. It was hard for me to keep Josh from playing in the Union game even. It is his senior year, and I understand where he is coming from in that respect. You feel like as a senior, you can make a contribution, and he does.