VIDEO: Mike Turner Press Conference
Mike Turner Opening Statement: It is a rivalry. Tusculum is a great opponent and the proximity of the two schools makes for a great rivalry. I've been impressed watching those guys on video. They run to the football and they execute on offense with a transfer quarterback. Any time we play a rival like Tusculum we get after it.
Question 1: How is the mentality of the team after the loss on Saturday?
Turner: I think the most important thing was we went to church together at Manley Baptist Church on Sunday. We had a great worship service there and we had a former Eagle give the message for us. That's a good way to start the healing and we had good time together in the team meeting. We talked about their being a disappointment, there are mistakes and we need to get those corrected. Today is get better Tuesday and it's time to get focused on Tusculum. We should be back on track today after watching film on Tusculum yesterday.
Question 2: How do you get the defense back to forcing turnovers and getting sacks?
Turner: I think that people are respecting our defense more right now. They respect them as far as a pass rush goes, but they are also getting rid of the football faster. We are getting a lot more of the underneath routes thrown against us. That is one thing that the quarterback at Tusculum is doing. Tusculum is working on getting the ball out of his hand faster and that is what you want out of an offense.
Question 3: What does it mean to have this game on regional television this weekend?
Turner: I think that this is a great complement to our program and that we will have that availability. I think that it is great for our kids, alums, and fans to be able to see the game on television. I hope that we get a great crowd in the stadium and that is number one. To support these kids who are playing hard and I think that they are representing Carson-Newman very well. This is an important game for us, we want to get back on the winning track. We are so close and if we can avoid the key mistakes then we can be the kind of football team we want to be.
Question 4: How do you guard against a player like Jay Boyd?
Turner: I think that is part of their plan with their safeties. What they have shown on video is that they are playing man coverage outside and let the safeties run down and be the fill guys against the option. You have to account for them. You have to figure out ways to block them, so that we can run our offense. I am really impressed with the way that they run to the football and that they have kids that understand what that means. They cause problems for a lot of people because they are running through gaps. They have shown this on film as a run stopper.
Question 5: Is that why they have been so efficient at causing turnovers this season?
Turner: There is no question about that. They are being a little chaotic, in that what you see as far as a defense goes is running through gaps that people don't normally run through. What we have to do is come off the football. If we don't then there will be somebody running past you.
Question 6: How do you prepare for a team that leads the conference in takeaways?
Turner: You keep doing what we preach every day. The key for us on offense is that we take care of the football. We had one turnover on offense on Saturday and that is one to many. Thank goodness our defense held strong and they missed a field goal and it did not cost us. It only takes one to lose a ballgame. On the other hand it takes one by your defense here or there at the right time to win a ballgame. Football hasn't changed, it's all about field position and taking care of the football. We do run a little bit more of a risk type offense where you have to read the defense and pitch the ball at the right time. We have to be very careful in taking care of the football.
Question 7: How do you use last week to find some leaders on this very young team?
Turner: We talked to them yesterday about the verse in the book of James. You should rejoice when hard times come, you should rejoice when it sometimes becomes frustrating because that grows character. If you endure those times and make positives out of them then that raises up your character. Especially, a football team that is young and tender as this one is, we've had some hard times. We've been one snap away from winning some ballgames. You got to understand that those are going to come and the scripture talks about rejoicing when this time comes. You can endure and you can overcome them. We are trying to raise up young men that they are going to leave this place one day and hopefully be better young men because they were a part of this program. We had a great video for them yesterday that talked about how it is not about taking a hit but how you hit back after taking a hit. Philosophies are great but you have got to put them into action. You got to believe that you can be this good and you got to believe that your teammates and as a whole team can be this good. We are building some great things for next year and the next year and there is no doubt about it. I want great things to happen for them this year.
Question 8: How do you try to develop some of these young kids in the return game?
Turner: There is only one way you can get better at that and that is called live action. You've got to put them out there whether there are live bullets flying at them and we are down because of injuries. We have made some mistakes and those have to be grow-up times, those can't be crippling times. I really appreciate how our team and coaching staff handled our young men that fumbled that punt. We are all a part of this family and we are going to handle things within our family the right way and they did that. Doing it in high school is one thing and doing it in the college game is something completely different.
Question 9: What have you started to see out of Darius Williams in the defensive backfield?
Turner: He is a guy that has been a complete guy this season. He is guy that gets excited out on the field and gets other people excited. I've been very proud of him and how he is following through. Like most of those kids over there on defense they have found a way to be successful. Once you have success, all you want is more and I like their attitude and desire.
Question 10: Will use the end of the Tusculum game from last season as a motivational tool for this week?
Turner: These kids are very resilient and you talk about young kids and they can get over things a whole faster than coaches can. They have proven that. It's not about anything that happened last year or two years before, this is about the 2017 Carson-Newman football team and us growing every day. I hope that we get players here that say it's Saturday and boy am I excited. That's what you want to get to. It doesn't matter if you won eight-in-a-row or two-in-a-row, it is a new day and it's time to play and be excited about playing college football. We are getting the kids to understand that this is a special time in their lives and that it probably won't come again so I better get the most of it.
Question 11: How easy is it to maintain that level of excitement?
Turner: I think that we got a lot of things in the picture for our kids. That's what I want to remind them of yesterday that they are in the picture, but right now the only picture that counts is Tusculum here on Saturday. We want to look at one picture and not think about different scenarios. We want our kids to be focused on Saturday.