Post Game Quotes

Nov. 23, 2013

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Head Coach Todd Monken
Opening statement...
"Unfortunately, we had every opportunity to start fast and did not. We take the opening drive, had a miscommunication with the quarterback and we miss the field goal. That was kind of deflating. Our defense was playing great the first part of the first half. We give them two touchdowns - one on a poor read, one on a poor throw - and we spot them 14 points. You're not going to win very often when you do that. I think our team fought. I like our team. I like our guys' fight. At the end of the day, you can't turn it over like that. I thought we ran the ball better today. We have to continue to run the football better next week and throughout my tenure here so we can protect our quarterback and not put him in such harm's way. I thought he battled and I thought our team battled. It just wasn't good enough today."

Asked if early miscues were deflating to team...
"It is deflating because of where we're at. Some point, down the road, it won't be so deflating because our confidence level will be so high. It won't matter ... We're not at that point right now. We did everything we could do early on. We made the decision we were going to take the football ... We were going to take it and try to start fast and we did, we just made too many mistakes."

Dylan Bradley
On 13-tackle performance...
"I feel very proud about that. My coaches put me in there to make plays and I came through for them."

On early-game success enjoyed by the entire defense...
"(Defensive coordinator David) Duggan set us up to make plays. He told us to go out there and play hard, expect win every down, get three-and-outs and go out there and play dominant football. That's what we came with a mindset of doing."

Head Coach Rick Stockstill
On guaranteeing a bowl bid...
"It is a great feeling. I told our team after the game. I congratulated them on that. It is a great feeling for our team. I am proud of our team; excited for our team. To be able to accomplish that, especially after the heart break we had last year. We are in a bowl, that's good. We want to try to get eight wins now."

On Middle Tennessee competing in Conference USA...
"I think we have proven that we can compete. We get beat by seven to East Carolina who is probably going to win the East or tie for the East at worse. We lose to North Texas who is in the West and was in the Sun Belt. We have played pretty well against everyone else that we have played. I think it shows that we can compete with the other teams in Conference USA. "

On the two early interceptions for touchdowns...
"They were huge plays. Momentum plays. Any time you get a turnover, it is a great emotional lift on your sideline. When it turns into points, it magnifies that play so much more. To go up 14-0, not disrespect to Southern Miss, but they have turned the ball over a bunch this year. Now, you wonder are they on the sideline saying, "Oh, here we go again" type thing. I give them credit. I give Todd [Monken] a lot of credit. Those guys competed hard. They never gave up and they played extremely hard. He is doing a great job over here."

On giving the game ball to Tyrone Nix...
"I remember my first year at Clemson in 1989, we played Florida State. That was the first time I had been back to Florida State since I had played there because of going into coaching. I know how I felt going back to Florida State. The emotions; the friends; the guys that you played with are outside your locker room; your former teammates and all that. There is a lot of emotion in that. I didn't talk to Ty about it during the week. I told him before the game, we always shake hands; I told him just to have fun and enjoy this. I thought he deserved it. He did a great job. Our defense played outstanding tonight. He loves Southern Miss. He played here. His brother played here. His brother is in the Hall of Fame. Ty is in the Hall of Fame. He coached here. To be able to come down here, the emotion you have to play with and coach with is special. I wanted him to know how much I love him and how much I appreciate him being here."

On what Tyrone Nix brings to the MT defense...
"Ty is an excellent coach and deserves to be a head coach. Hopefully that opportunity will come soon for him. He has been in the business a long time now. He has been a coordinator for a long time at different levels and different places. He brings a confidence level to our defense. He brings an expertise to our defense and to our coaching staff. He is a great communicator with the players. I can't say enough good things about him. He deserves to be a head coach."

Co-Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix
On coaching against his alma mater...
"There is no doubt that we take a lot of pride in our defense. That is something that has been established in me a long time ago since I first came on campus here as a freshman. The biggest credit goes to our kids here. They fought and have competed all year. In my heart, I feel like they have gotten better and better. One description that we try to tell our guys is "True Blue" and they are led by an awesome head coach."

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