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November 3, 2008
Willingham faces the media
TYRONE WILLINGHAM QUOTES
"Obviously this is a week were I think there are two football teams that are slightly similar, especially from the standpoint that they are both in need of a victory. It will be about trying to keep our for us, make the plays we need to make and find a way to win. In our case it will be trying to create some turnovers and give our self some additional opportunities to be successful. If we can do that it enhances our opportunity to win."
Where there any positives to take away from the game against USC?
"There were some excellent efforts long the way. Unfortunately some of them occurred in some negative situations - but they were still excellent efforts. It would be first highlighted by Johnie Kirton making a game saving tackle. Ronnie [Fouch] and Alvin [Logan] made one of those and those are plays you like to see from your team. They are still hustling and they are still caring. I though in the second half we improved our offense performance a little bit. That is always nice to see. I thought we were able to run the football a little bit better but it was still not were we need it to be. But it was nice to see that."
As a whole was the effort there against USC?
"I thought our guys played hard. The thing I told them was that I didn't feel like we eliminated the little mistakes. For us right now those little mistakes are being magnified and are knocking us out of the things we want to do. Whether it be the wrong protection, not keeping their discipline, that is becoming magnified and it's making it very hard to overcome. RIght now we are at a place where we have to do all of those things right so we can gain momentum and make some plays."
What has the practices and games been like since the news came down that Willingham would not be back next season?
"It's not easy and I've never been in this situation before. But the thing that you do is say to the young men and point them into the right direction."
Are the players still responding to Willingham the way they did at the beginning of the season?
"I think so - you always have some guys that don't - that's even on a team where things are going well. You will always have guys that don't agree with this or don't agree with that, but I think that the majority of our guys are still doing the things that we are asking them to do."
How hard is it to keep the team focused on x's and o's? with all of the added distractions?
"I think it is on human nature - the more distractions you have around you the harder it is to focus. Hopefully we have eliminated some of those last week and now they know that coach Willingham will not be there next season. Not they can just focus on the games and at some point who will be their coach will be determined."
Is it harder for Willingham to stay focused?
"It is not. I have tired to be a pro about everything I do. When ever I talk to people and hire people I talk about wanting to be able to communicate with our young men. I think I am still doing that."
On upcoming opponent ASU.
"What we don't know is exactly how they look at us. The key ingredient for them is their quarterback Rudy Carpenter. He has been good for a long time. He's a tough guy and he's the real key to their offense. They also have two complimentary receivers in Michael Jones and Javon Williams who do a very good job. What they haven't had as effective as they would like is their running game. Usually in the past it was something they could count on and it made them that much better. Defensively they just line up and play. They love to play hard and they love to play fast. And we need to find a way to create a run game and get an extra guy out of the box."
How did Willingham think the two running backs, Terrance Dailey and Brandon Johnson, did against USC?
"I thought both of those guys had some good runs for us. Brandon [Johnson] stepped up and had some very positive runs for us and was in fact our leading rusher. I wasn't pleased, but I liked a lot of the things I saw from them."