Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach spoke to the media after his team’s win over Arkansas on Saturday. Here is the transcript:
Question: What did you think of the fact that your team overcame difficult moments during the game?
Leach: They (Arkansas) are really explosive. First, they will pace you. Second, the running back is good. Third, they have some good receivers. The quarterback is really good. He’s very fast and he can get anything if you don’t keep him under control. He’s keeping him alive there so your cover goes down. He may not be perfectly accurate, but he can cast it forever. This guy played really well and opened up other things. Not just his own, but that of others. He might be the fastest quarterback in the conference. And it’s a bit difficult to approach. I thought we could have had it more than once. We still did some good things.
Question: How do you feel about your offensive line… no sacks?
Leach: I thought we were blocking pretty well. I thought we were pretty good up front. A lot of meters on the ground, that’s what they gave us to some extent. We threw it and we executed it well. It’s a credit to our offensive line, and Will handled the game well. So we had a consistency that I liked. We stubbed our toes several times and didn’t complete a few rides. Generally speaking, we were consistent. I think the more consistent team won this match.
Question: How about your team’s ability to respond?
Leach: Probably both (consistency and experience). We played together a little longer. It’s helped. We have trained well. A lot of these guys played together a bit. Now it’s older guys some of the younger ones can learn from.
Question: How has the racing game evolved?
Leach: I think we have three very good ball carriers. And we want them to touch the ball. You had Dillon on the ground and Woody in the air. They both had a bunch of yards. The guards could have had as many yards as the rest of the team combined. These guys are warriors out there. And you’re going to ask them to block there too. I thought they had a good game. I think the offensive line has become more cohesive and hit the second tier better. We just go slower and faster, less of that “bad” bullshit.
Question: What did you think of the defense today?
Leach: I think we had a good day. The Razorbacks decided they were going to move the ball, they did. But we kept playing each piece. We ran as many games as possible. In some cases broke them. We will attack them anyway.
Question: What does it do for your team when you have these turnovers in the downs?
Leach: It’s a roll with the understanding that the other guy is picking the position on the court. But I thought it was good. We were tough on the fourth down. And it was essential to be in front. In some cases, they had to go on the fourth try when maybe they didn’t want to.
Question: Was Will always looking down, especially during these jamming games?
Leach: I think so. One that I thought he might have thrown earlier. But you don’t want to force it. He’s pretty good at it. The other they had pretty well covered. I don’t know how he passed it on to Austin. Not many quarterbacks or receivers make plays like that. He integrated that impressively.
Question: How impressive was it to watch Will break those records?
Leach: It was good. Six more yards and he would have another 400-yard game.
Question: How does it feel to have Emmanuel Forbes there?
Leach: It’s critical. He is explosive, very quick at the first step. It is also a longer target. It has more reach than you think. Some are quite remarkable captures. He can catch balls that others can’t catch.
Question: Should Will be in the Heisman conversation?
Leach: I don’t think there is any question. I’m curious who someone thinks they are in front of them. They pick the biggest team they can think of, or the ones that could go to the playoffs. Some choose a guy who hasn’t even done anything.
Question: What impressed you most about this team?
Leach: We are less erratic. We are not begging someone to bring energy. We were on a roller coaster. Something bad would happen and you would have to coax everyone into being happy. Something good would happen, they would have to be refocused. We have a more stable nature for us. Management has something to do with it. If you have a bad streak, they come back strong. If you have a good one, you think your chances of getting another are good. The three sides of the ball complement each other.
Question: How proud have you been of the response over the past three weeks?
Leach: I think it was great. The response here at home has been outstanding. The 11 o’clock match is a bargain for the opposition as far as the energy in the stadium is concerned. Our fans have been fantastic. They create a great atmosphere. These late afternoon and early evening matches are truly special. Let it rip thoroughly.
Question: What do you think of your offensive linemen?
Leach: I think they are doing a good job. We have a little better footing than some of the O lines I’ve had. I’ve always liked them to be as big as possible. Because when you get really good, you can marinate them in the weight room. You get the feet from there. I’m a big O-line guy and everyone in this room knows that’s the most important position. But they better shoulder that responsibility too.