Head Coach Mike Sanford
Opening statement:“We’re excited for an opportunity to get back here at Houchens-Smith Stadium. After a game that we learned a lot from, starting with myself, from a loss. One thing that we talked about as a team is we’re going to make sure we stay as a tight-knit family. There’s half a season of football left to play, so no matter what’s being said outside the walls, what’s going on inside those walls is the most important thing. I think it’s a team right now that got back to work again, angry, and ready to go and make it right. I saw that from the whole team, I saw that last night at practice in a downpour, and they came ready to work. That’s what I like about this team, I do, there’s a lot of things that we’re working through as a team … Old Dominion, you put on the tape, they’re a 1-6 football team, but they might be the most talented team in our league from top to bottom, up there with Marshall and FAU, I really believe that. You see a team that’s dangerous and capable of doing all the things. Their one victory is against one of the top teams in America, in Virginia Tech. This game of football, every week’s different, every week’s unique.”
On the team staying focused:“I don’t concern myself with what’s outside the walls of our building. The men and women who are part of our staff and over here in Diddle Arena with Todd Stewart and the athletic department. We’re fighting the good fight, I believe in what we’re doing, I believe that great times are ahead of us. I think the culture of the team is in a good place, and I think we have a lot of talented players and talented coaches. I like where we’re headed, I don’t like the results. We were extremely competitive in some games, obviously, through the first five games of the year. I do believe this isn’t consistent of who we are as a football team. Now, we all live and die by the most recent result and that most recent result created a lot of pain for a lot of people involved in the program. But what you do with that pain and where you turn to and where you go next is the most important thing. That suffering and pain of a loss, that has to propel you forward and can’t allow you to take steps backward, and I don’t believe that myself or anybody in this program is thinking about anything else other than beating Old Dominion. That’s where our focus solely lies and I really do believe that.”
On the Old Dominion offense:“The spark that he has created, Blake LaRussa’s one of those great stories of guys who stuck it out. I don’t know him personally, obviously, I don’t know his full story, but the walk-on quarterback gets his first opportunity and goes out and plays great football against Virginia Tech and they have one of the biggest upsets in college football history, certainly this year the biggest upset in college football. He’s the big reason why, he was a spark for them. You look at their statistics since he has taken over, they become a prolific passing offense. We’ve known they’ve always had great runners, Jeremy Cox is a guy we have a lot of respect for, they have a stable of talented running backs … LaRussa has provided a spark for Old Dominion and they’re playing a lot better offensive football than they did prior to him emerging.”
Defensive Coordinator Clayton White
On the team staying focused:“You have to point to your seniors. Those guys basically said it yesterday, you have to come out and play better. The team’s dependent on us understanding the situation that we’re in, 1-5 with six games left. We want to take it one week at a time and we just have to play better, we have to perform better on Saturday’s. Obviously, our standards are high, they’ve always been high, and our players know that [this past] Saturday was not the type of effort that we want to put out, and try our best not to do it again.”
On junior Ta’Corian Darden:“He’s super-active. I really believe that without him, we probably wouldn’t be able to run some things that we run, because of his knowledge of the game and his ability. He’s small, but he still makes plays and fits the run similar to a linebacker because he understands the game. He’s covering, he’s in zones, he was playing safety on a third down early when they threw it incomplete towards the sideline. He gives us a lot of versatility, I love what he’s doing and he’s definitely an active nickel for us, he’s taking advantage of it.”
On the Old Dominion offense:“They’re athletic. This is my fifth-straight year playing them, 2014-18, and they’ve always been athletic. Their system is very productive. They pass for a lot of yards and they’ve had backs over the years. To me, they have so many different skill players, it just never stops. It’s just the amount of athletes they have and they have a nice recruiting area, the Virginia part, so they have a nice batch to pick from.”How to Follow the Hilltoppers: For complete information on WKU Hilltopper Football, follow the program via social media @WKUFootball on Twitter and Facebook.


-@WKUSports-_____________________________
Bryan Fyalkowski
Assistant Director of Media Relations
WKU Hilltopper Athletics


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