Mocs set for No. 17 Samford at home
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team hosts Southern Conference foe Samford on Saturday evening with kickoff slated for 7:00 p.m. ET at Finley Stadium.
Below are excerpts from today's press conference with photos. The full videos are attached to the story. Today's press conference included remarks from head coach Tom Arth, junior linebacker Hawk Schriderand sophomore offensive lineman Cole Strange.
Tickets are on sale now on GoMocs.com, or by calling the UTC Ticket Office at (423) 266-MOCS (6627).
Hawk Schrider, Jr.-LB
On facing tough Samford offense.
"I mean this week we'll definitely be going up against an up-tempo offense so they'll be a lot of running. I think the biggest thing for us is to be strong in the passing game and protect the quarterback. In terms of their quarterback, he is pretty mobile and will get out of the pocket. That's the biggest thing for us, containing the quarterback and maintaining a tempo. Of course, stronger competition is obviously going to bring out stronger play for us, so I think it is going to be a big week ahead. I am excited about it and I think we are all ready for this challenge."
On returning home to Finley.
"We have had some long trips in the last few weeks, getting home the next day in early morning hours, so being home is definitely good for us in terms of not having to travel as much. Obviously the fan support, there's nothing like playing at Finely. I am excited to play at home, I feel like it has been awhile."
On trying to finish as strong as you start.
"I think as the game goes on, you are losing energy so when you lose energy, you lose mental focus. The biggest thing is having that mental focus and mental toughness, it isn't really a physical thing. When you are running and pushing and using your physical energy, that can also affect our mental energy so it's really about conditioning and trying to finish everything in the end."
Tom Arth, Head Coach
Opening statement after win at UT Martin.
"It was a great win for us. Playing against a good team and a team that gave us many issues last season. To be able to go out there and play the way we did was very exciting for our program. Obviously, there are many issues that we need to correct. Certainly, end of half situations and not giving up touchdowns, that's a big deal for us and a point of emphasis. To be able to play in the second half as we do in the first half is going to be really important."
On upcoming opponent in Samford.
"Going into this week, it's a new challenge and a different challenge. A very good opponent coming in to Chattanooga. We're excited about the opportunity to play. It's a completely different style of offense than what we have seen so far this year. They have some outstanding players on the offensive side of the ball including their quarterback and wide receivers. Defensively, I think their defensive line is as good as a line as we'll face all year. We have some work ahead of us, but we're excited for the opportunity."
On creating turnovers and winning the margin.
"Our defensive staff always talks about takeaways in terms of when technique meets opportunity, when technique meets awareness. You can't go out there and think about getting an interception here or creating a fumble. That's when you make mistakes and when your eyes are bad, you don't tackle well. You have to play with great technique and be aware. When those opportunities are there, if you are emphasizing that at practice, which we have with a lot of drills working with ball security and tackling. We have always talked about it in our program, but we have done far more in our practices to actually create those habits and create those opportunities to get takeaways."
On what needs to improve moving forward.
"From an offensive standpoint, our redzone production is not where it needs to be. We have had numerous opportunities this season where we have had the ball down in the endzone and we had to kick field goals. That's a big difference. It's a lot different scoring three points rather than seven. The opportunity to really take advantage and jump out on a team is your ability to score touchdowns. Defensively, we have done a lot of good things but we are allowing a lot of explosive plays. We're allowing a lot of drives to finish the half. We're not finishing ball games the way we start. We have to finish as a program and that's a big emphasis for us."
Cole Strange, So.-OL
On confidence as an OL unit.
"I would say as a unit, we definitely have more confidence now than we did this time last year and more confidence before the season started. In camp, we just play against our defense so there isn't much to gage. So for us to do well these first three games has helped our confidence, we are doing pretty well."
On matching 2017 win total in first three games.
"It feels good, but it's not really like we are trying to beat the teams that beat us last year. Everybody hated the way last year turned out and just three games in this season, it feels a lot better and we want to keep that up."
On matchup with SoCon-foe Samford.
"It is definitely an important game, but the main reason is because it is a conference game. I have very little respect for preseason rankings because all that is going off of what happened last year, so I don't look at that kind of stuff. We will be ready for Saturday night."