VIDEO: Mike Turner Press Conference
Jefferson City, Tenn. - Carson-Newman head football coach answers questions about the Eagles opponent this weekend in his weekly press conference.
Mike Turner Opening Statement: It is a day trip, which means we will be leaving early and driving over to the Asheville area for a pre-game meal and then we will head into Mars Hill. Mars Hill is a dangerous football team. They've got some talented people on offense, those receivers and the running back makes plays. They are finding different ways to get the ball to those guys and when they get their hands on the ball they are dangerous.
Question 1: What sticks out about the Mars Hill receivers that make them so special?
Turner: I think that the biggest thing is their ability to go deep on you. They've got speed and they can get on top of you, especially on play-action. We've got to do a great job with our eyes and our feet and stay in position to make plays. Not have somebody looking in the backfield and have a player run by you on a play-action pass, that's where you get hurt the quickest. They are a good football team, there is probably not anything different about any of us in the South Atlantic Conference. Anybody can win and anybody can get beat by anybody in this league. Kids, are really resilient and coaches aren't. We expect to play a dangerous football team and the fact that I know they are getting ready to play Carson-Newman. Carson-Newman and Mars Hill has always been a great football game, been a very competitive football game and I don't expect anything but the best.
Question 2: How do you build on the Limestone win for this week's game?
Turner: I am so very proud of them and grateful to them for the way that they played and handled some things. Some teams might have folded under the pressure of a pregame meal on that one and our kids just took it all in stride and lined up. They had a great warm-up and got on the field and got after it. I think our kids have realized that every snap counts and we are not going to be perfect at anything execution on offense, defense and special teams. It's at a point right now that you know that there is an urgency to making sure that you are doing it right. We are going into the seventh game of the season and it is time to iron out some of the mistakes that you are making and you start climbing.
Question 3: David Salmon leads the league in most passing categories what makes him so effective?
Turner: It takes a quarterback but he's got some weapons to throw it to out there. I think that they are working to be more and more balanced. They have the running attack and you can't just abandon that and say that we are going to double up on receivers. I've seen people try to do that against them and the running back rips them. I think the balance in their offense, he is a very capable quarterback to make plays but he certainly has some weapons to go to.
Question 4: What sticks out to you about Desmond Fairell's sophomore season?
Turner: He is playing with a lot more confidence right now. I think that is the biggest thing and people around him are playing with more confidence. The confident you are the easier it is to turn loose. Our defensive kids are playing that way, they are attacking. This game is meant to be played by going after people and attacking on offense, defense, special teams are all the same. I think the biggest thing is Desmond has grown up and believes in what he is doing and being taught to do it. He is gaining a certain level of confidence that is allowing him to be a more mature player.
Question 5: What kind of growth have you seen from Derrick Evans from Week one to now?
Turner: The greatest growth was between the summer and the start of the fall. Of course, now he is becoming a quarterback not just an athlete. He is becoming a quarterback and he understands things, he sees the defense better, knows the game plan better and he is going to be something special down the road. His football IQ has increased and we don't have many people that have as much athletic ability that Derrick Evans has. His understanding of taking care of the football has grown and that has been a big difference in our football team.
Question 6: What has changed for this group after strong second halves against Catawba and Limestone?
Turner: I think a confidence factor, a factor of having as a good of a chance to beat anybody that anybody else does. Being able to come out and finish, we talked to them this week about having a focus and focus helps you finish strong. You've got to have a vision of how you want to play, what's expected of you to play and how you're going to get your job done. After that happens you can't let up and we've got to learn more and more. We've got to get better at that about finishing plays and finishing quarters and finishing games. To get yourself grownup like you want to be.
Question 7: How much confidence do you have calling plays for the offensive, knowing that your defense can step-up and make plays?
Turner: It has been tremendous, I am so proud of coach Slade and all of our defensive staff and the job that they have done. The way that all of our kids are sold out, here we are in the seventh week of the season and it still goes back to believe. It still goes back to having that faith, believing in each other and believing in what you are told to do and go about getting it done. That is how you got here. Does anything change? No, you just believe better.
Question 8: What sticks out to you about the Mars Hill defense?
Turner: Kevin Barnette is always going to have a very well coached defensive team. They are going to be sound in coverage's and they are also going to run to the football well. It has always been a trademark of a Mars Hill defense. You look at them and they have athletes in the secondary, athletes at linebacker and they are a good defensive football team. People that have beat them have had to scrap and fight and give everything because defensively they are playing.
Question 9: How fun is it to go up against a guy that you have some familiarity with?
Turner: Tim is a good friend, Tim is now the dean of the head coaches in this league. Tim is always going to be Tim. You've got to be ready for some trick plays when you go play Mars Hill and we know that. We just talked about it in a meeting to be sure that we say over and over to be ready for that. Tim is an exciting football coach and he is going to have his kids ready to play and they are not going to give you anything. You have to earn everything that you get but it is fun to coach against guys like that.