Football Press Conference – Week One - September 4, 2013

Head Coach Daryl Daye:

On if he had enough time in preseason practice to implement all the schemes and plays he wanted to:

“There is never enough time. It has been a short run for us since we got here, I think August 12, being it is that school started so early on the 19th and you have an earlier game, we lost about a week of potential two-a-days that we normally have. So we could not really call it two-a-days, it was more two-a-day because we only had one this year. It is what it is and that is the rule so we went by that, but got a lot of quality work in.”

On what quarterback Jay McDowell has done to impress him this preseason:

“Jay came right out from the get-go and established himself as the number one guy, he understands what we are doing and he makes the right checks at the line of scrimmage. He took that leadership role right off the bat and it was evident by the fact that our team voted him in as one of our team captains as a sophomore, which I cannot say when I have been a part of having a sophomore as a team captain, but they voted him in their so that tells you a lot about him so he has come a long way in a short time and I think it will translate over to the production on the football field because he is doing a very good job for us.”

On containing Central Oklahoma’s running back Joshua Birmingham:

“Well statistically you can see that he is a dynamite player and one of the best players to come through that program, which has been a high-quality program for many years, so he is a guy who you have to pay attention to and we will and hopefully we can slow him down. “

On containing Central Oklahoma’s 6-4, 230 lbs. quarterback Adrian Nelson:

“He is a big, physical kid and he stands up there in that pocket and moves around very well and does some really good things and I know he will be better this year too. It looks like they got a better supporting cast around him and the running backs, they got some transfers in, they got some new guys on their offensive line, some quality players, some transfers from Division I-A and from junior college on their defense. We got transfers too, it will all come down to who is most productive tomorrow night and we will do our best to slow them down, so we will see.”

On new defensive coordinator Wally Acke:

“It is very tough to replace a guy like Jay Thomas who has gone on to be a head coach at a Division I school and congrats to them beating Missouri State the other night at Missouri State, but this guy in Wally Acke is a guy who has a great reputation and has a track record that is great, he has been all over college football from Air Force to Army to Maryland to Arkansas so he has a great resume. So the minute that he stepped on campus he already had the respect from his resume and he has done nothing but build on that. The thing I like about him is he cares about his kids. He is old-school and I like old-school. He is going to get on their tail and get them going, but at the end of the day, he is going to love them up and they know he cares about them so it has been all positive so hopefully that transfers over to the game.”          

 

Sophomore quarterback Jay McDowell:

On being named a team captain as a sophomore:

“I think it is a big thing. I am still young and to be voted captain is a big thing as far as leadership and all so I think it is a very big deal.”

On his progression as a quarterback from the spring through fall camp:

“This spring I was new like some of the transfers, I was new to the new offense and as I went along and progressed, I just got better with the playbook.”

On what the strong points of the offense will be this year:

“The running game.  Like coach said we are based on the run, we got to establish the run and everything will fall into place with play-action and things like that.”

On why the running game is such a strong suit:

“I think as far as every football team you always have to establish the run to get the offense going.”

On if we can expect to see the ball in the air a little more this fall:

“Yeah, definitely, we are going to be based on the run, but we are also going to pass a lot more than we did last year.”

On establishing chemistry with receivers:

“I have been working with all the receivers and half-backs. Michael Nelson, I have established a lot with him, Will Cuffee and newcomers Josh Jones and Dion Collier.”

 

Senior offensive lineman Julian Young:

On how much progress he thinks the team has made in fall camp:

“We made a lot of progress. The offensive line came a long way, because I feel like last year we weren’t as much of a bond, but I feel like the offensive line now has a tighter bond. We have a whole bunch of new transfers, I feel like our team is a lot closer than we were last year. I feel like all the individuals are gone and it is more of a team program this year.

On how Jay has assumed that leadership role on offense:

“He is a leader, he is the quarterback, and we have to follow him. I trust him with the ball in his hands and he always makes good decisions and he does what needs to be done.”

On if he is excited to have emphasis on running being on the offensive line:

“I feel good about that. I like putting my hand in the dirt, I like putting people where they need to go and leading Jay into the endzone.  “

On the development of Jay McDowell as a quarterback and leader:

“He is come a long way. I remember in the spring the quarterback competition and Jay got some playing time last year. He has come a long way and we have all developed that personal relationship and I feel he is the one to take us into battle and lead us the way.”

On if he expected him to be the starter:

“I knew he needed to develop more since he was a true freshman, but after spring practice, I saw how he was progressing more and more and this is the guy who is going to lead us into battle.”

 

Senior strong safety Demon Haire

 On working with defensive coordinator Wally Acke:

“It has been a great time. Starting from spring leading all the way to now, he has taught me a lot. Like Coach Daye mentioned earlier, he will get on you if you make mistakes, but you hear from all the coaches, you make a mistake one day, you do not come back out here and make that mistake the next day.”

On if the coaches holding players accountable leads to better team chemistry:

“It is really because we have a lot of players in who do that. You do not want to go into battle without knowing your teammates got your back. It takes everyone to come together, to get to know each other and become brothers, a family. “

On if having so many new players makes it difficult to create team chemistry:

“Kinda, it will always be like that until you learn what your brothers can do and get comfortable with them and come together.”

On how the defense is coming together this preseason compared to last year:

“Basically the same, take control of the defense, become vocal, get everyone together on the same page.”

On what the coaches have told you about containing UCO’s running back Joshua Birmingham:

“Do the same thing we did last year, just contain him.”

 

Junior defensive lineman Ryon Phillips    

On adapting to Coach Acke as the new defensive coordinator:

“It has been great. We have a lot of the same leaders on the team, you know we lost Brandon and some of the linebackers, but we still have a lot of the same leaders on defense, so adapting I guess. It has been pretty easy. Coach Acke loves and gets after him, but he teaches us very well. Like Coach Daye said earlier, he has a very impressive resume, been many places, he knows what he is doing and is a great football coach, so he is easy to adapt to.”

On lining up with different guys on the defensive line:

“At first it was a huge difference, because this is my third year and you lose guys every year. I had Brandon for a couple years and my freshman year, I had Kenny Smith and Mo and they left and then had Brandon and Gary Combs, who graduated this past year, but it has been a change, but it has been great. I think we have more athletes on the defensive line this year than we have ever had, guys who are quick, very aggressive and want to get to the ball, they are determined, we got some depth and athleticism back there.”

On preparing for UCO’s Birmingham:

“Here is the thing, we are going to treat him like any other running back. We are going to respect him, but this conference (MIAA) has great running backs. We are going to go after him just like every other running back in this conference and shut him down plain and simple.”

On wanting to build upon a winning record in 2012:

“It is big-time. Two years ago, I think we were 3-7 and this past year we were 6-5 so a winning record means a lot to a team, I think it sort of defines who we are and gives up motivation to pursue more. As Coach Daye was saying, we know who we are, we can win, we know we can do it so I think that winning season just pushed us to desire more.”

On wanting to create a winning tradition at Southern:

“Most definitely, I got two years left, let’s win, let’s win, let’s win.”