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ULM Football Press Conference: Idaho Game Week
Courtesy: ulmwarhawks.com
         
Release: September 02, 2014
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MONROE, La. -- ULM head coach Todd Berry, linebacker Hunter Kissinger and wide receiver Kenzee Jackson met with members of the media in advance of Saturday’s Sun Belt Conference opener against Idaho.

Below are selected quotes from Tuesday’s press conference, to view the press conference videos, please scroll to the bottom of the article.

ULM Head Coach Todd Berry:
Opening Statement…
“To get one game underneath our belt is big, and for it to be a win, it’s even better. The first game there is always anxiety for coaches because you still have some questions about how your young players are going to perform, if they are going to handle the pressures of being a Division I-A player, how they are going to handle the crowd and all those little things. There’s an awful lot of build up going into that first game. Now we are getting back into a flow. I’m excited about how some of those young players played and also a little reticent about sticking some of them back out there based on how they played. They will play a little better this week in relation to them being more calmed down. We did play an awful lot of players in that ball game, which I was excited about. It was one of the things we had set out to do. We’re excited that we beat a power five school. I think there were 20 matches up this weekend of power five versus the group of five, and three of us won against a power five school. If memory serves me correctly, we were the only one that had their game at home. It was really big in relation to getting a power five school at our place. It was a win-win for us.

Now we are anxious to move on to an Idaho team that we really don’t know that much about. It is similar to what we saw last week. You have a staff that’s been there for a year. They are obviously going to be better because the players know the system better and an influx on junior college players that will fit their system better. I’m sure we are going to see some changes in structure on offense and defense, especially with their game against the University of Florida being postponed. We don’t have a large body of work to understand what goes on in their game plan. That impacts us. It impacted us against Wake Forest. They came out with things we didn’t practice against. I thought our players along with the staff handled it tremendously. That was really good to see. In this ball game without having the body of work to build off, we are going to have to do a good job in the first half in and make the necessary adjustments, because we know we are going to see some new things.”

On disadvantages with Idaho not playing last weekend…
“It’s always much easier having film, especially in the situation they are in currently. With a number of junior college players that are out there, it’s more difficult knowing what they are going to do. It’s also easier to see your opponent on video. I also recognize they haven’t gone through some of the first game things. They know just as much about their football team as we do. Our game was very telling, and that’s what a first game does for you. It tells you who you need and don’t need to be playing. We learned a lot about our team, and they learned a lot about themselves. We got us behind us. Those kinds of first game things that tend to plague you, you aren’t as concerned about in the next one. I think the Wake Forest game was an opportunity for us to grow up, and I appreciate that opportunity. I would rather be in our shoes right now, even not knowing what they are going to be able to do having not played a first game. Over the last four years, we have had a couple games where teams had played before the start of our season. It’s certainly a disadvantage.”

On any surprises from the first game…
“I think there were some surprises. We have an idea going in, so now we just need to see it one way or the other. You’ve got an idea on whether there are going to be any mental errors, or if they are going to play at a really high level. I think we were able to find that out. This tends to shock every new player; we’re out there practicing and practicing. They are used to playing second team and all that repetition. Then all of a sudden you get into the play game. For whatever reason, they are just not quite ready. You get two or three snaps. You see all the long faces the next day. They all think they were going to be playing more. That’s the other thing they learn pretty quickly. You have to demonstrate in practice that you are perfect then you get on the field. If you are not at that point without any injuries, you aren’t going to be hitting the field. Our older players knew that. I think a few younger players thought they would be playing more, so we had that conversation that you earn your playing time in practice. It’s not going to be a gift on game day.”

ULM Linebacker Hunter Kissinger:
On carrying the defensive momentum to the Idaho game…
“That game established a lot of confidence and it was something the defense needed. It was great to go out in the first game and have a dominant performance. The good thing about it is that we saw a bunch of errors, things we can fix and improve upon. If we can fix those things, we can play better than how we did (on Thursday), which I think is more important. We played a great game but the game wasn’t perfect, whatsoever. Once we fix some errors, we can keep doing this week-in and week-out.”

On what it would mean to start the season 2-0…
“That would be awesome. It’s something we’ve been striving for since we got here, to make a difference. We went to a bowl game two years ago and last year was disappointing but this year we are 1-0, which is great. It’s something we’ve been working really hard for since fall camp and it would be really meaningful because we want to do things for this program that nobody has ever achieved. Doing things like going 2-0 and gradually achieving other stepping stones, can create big things here and that’s what we want.”

ULM Wide Receiver Kenzee Jackson:
On building from last week’s learning experiences…
“Given that we don’t have film on them from this season, only last year’s game, we are treating like week one, similar to the first game of the year. Piggybacking off of Hunter Kissinger’s comments, we have to pay attention to detail. Coach Jason Nichols always says, ‘it’s a big detail week.” He says that every Tuesday because it’s the first practice of the week. So we have to be sure that not only I am doing what I need to do but everybody around me is doing their part as well. That we are working together as a team.”

On the change of play from the first to the second half against Wake Forest…
“Coming out of the locker room at half-time LB Ray Stovall gave the team a little speech. He looked us in the eyes and reminded us how we worked our butts off during the spring for this (moment). He rallied the team to go to war for him in the second half. So we looked each other in the eyes and knew we were playing for each other. In the second half, we came out with a different mentality. After Wake Forest roughed the punter, coach Berry looked at us and told us to make something happen right now. That got us the little extra push we needed.”

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