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Aug. 31, 2002

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The opening game is always scary. They played us even. They played as well as we did. We found a way to win. That was the important thing.

Corey Jenkins missed some reads. But he competed well.

I didn’t think we tackled well. Our pass defense, it was just like we picked up the last quarter of the Ohio State game.

Our receivers came in and made some good plays. Matthew Thomas made a couple of catches. James Atkisson, Michael Ages made a couple.

We didn’t control the line of scrimmage like we have to. We got hurt on the perimeter.

On the fake field goal: We weren’t kicking well and were not protecting well. I thought the fake would be there if we had patience. Normally we like to run to the right. We hadn’t even practiced to the left. They usually only drop one back, we noticed that on film. We felt it was there. We made a nice play under pressure, Daccus had a good catch. Wish we had executed it better.

On pass defense: We would not be good mailmen, because we were in the wrong ZIP code with the receivers. They must have felt like Maytag repairmen.

We have to play better on the offensive line. Our pass protection was good. We can play better, and we have to.

on stopping the option: They cracked on the linebacker. We never made the adjustment. Give them credit. They schemed us on it.

They could not run inside on us. Scramble and perimeter, that was it. But you know what, that counts too.

On Corey Jenkins first start: Did an excellent job. He missed a couple of reads, but made a couple. He threw well after the first quarter. Wish they had one-platoon football, he would be some strong safety.

The offense called a nice game. We got impatient and ended up with field goals. From 25 to 10, we had some trouble.

On Troy Williamson: He should have played more. Planned to play him more. We never had the ball. Troy needs to be on field more.

on Pinnock: We have to give him a bit of a break.

On Corey’s running: Skip has done a good job developing him as a passer. We were going to run him a lot, get him involved in the game. We wanted him to have game ball.

Slay stood out. He showed up to play.

Atkisson ran a nice route. He is a nice talent. It was a nice pass, full stride. We didn’t throw short much, but we didn’t want to make mistake in first football game. Thomas made some nice catches, nice slant, great out cut. Ages caught the one, showed some quickness. Got to play more wide receivers. Those three stepped up today.


WR James Adkinsson On TD catch “Corey did everything he was supposed to do at the right time. If any one of our receivers were in there they’d have done the same thing.
Did it feel good? “Without a doubt. Football is 90 something percent mental. It’s on now! It feels real good.

DT Langston Moore “They got us on 2nd and long and 3rd and short, but the win gives us something to build on. It is good to get a win under our belt. We had a lot of new guys out there.”

QB Corey Jenkins “I was hyped up, but I got it out during warmups. We have a lot of things to correct, but we scored 34 points. It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win.”
“New Mexico State played well. They could have won this game, but we are 1-0. We got the jitters out. On Monday we have to strap it on and get to work.”

S Rashad Faison “It was definitely our first game. That was very evident in our play. On defense our inexperience showed a bit. We can’t have as many breakdowns. The option has been tough on us”
On play of the youngsters “Everybody played ok, but we have to get better if we are going to win the SEC. They were trying to get the big plays and missed some of the smaller plays, but they will get better.”

TB Ryan Brewer “We had to get some jitters out. It’s a learning experience.”
“Corey is going to be a great leader for this team. He has a good field presence.”
“We showed a lot of improvement in the first half.”

RB Andrew Pinnock On block for Brewer “I knew that would be a big play. They were slanting to stop the gap. I knew it was going to be a key block. I knew the guy was going to be there.”
“I feel I played pretty well, but I was running behind the big horses. We have a lot to work on. It’s going to take improving the little things to get better.”


“Our players gave a great effort. Nobody backed down. We had some turnovers and we got beat on a fake field goal. Other than that, on both sides of the ball, we competed extremely well.”

“I think our tackling can get better. Obviously we have some things to work on. I do think we have a pretty good football team and our kids know that. We have to realize that we had a golden opportunity here and try not to let that happen next week.”

“We’ve always had a lot of confidence in [Jimmy] Contrell. He just needed to get out there and get his feet wet. But he did a good job tonight.”

“They overloaded us on one side on the option and they hit Buck [Pierce] pretty well. When he pitched the ball, he got rid of it in a hurry and did a good job. For a sophomore I think he did a really good job.”

“We had a great game I think Buck threw the ball really well. I think the timing was good. That’s something that I feel is important to have in your first game.”

“I wasn’t surprised at halftime that we were in the game. The kids now have to understand that we need to put out a better effort.”

“I still feel we had a great opportunity that we didn’t take advantage of.”

“We were expecting the fake field goal and we came close.” POSTGAME QUOTES Aug. 31, 2002 (USC vs. New Mexico State)


DB Siddeeq Shabazz “I cannot say this was a moral victory; we came here to win this game. I am really proud of the way we played. I am proud to be a part of this team, of the young guys and everybody. For many of them it was their first game and they really played well. Nobody quit on the field. We knew it was going to be a close, tough game. There were just a couple of plays that separated us and [Carolina]. That is what made the difference.”

IB Eric Higgins “We played really hard tonight and just came up short. We came to win, not lose, and we just simply came up short. We wanted to come out and play hard and that is what we did. We ran the ball well, but we have a quarterback that can pass the ball as well as we can put it on the ground. We wanted to win and that is it.”

QB Buck Pierce “We had a couple of bad plays on our side that hurt us. That seems to make the difference in games like these. The mistakes aside, we executed well and played a good ball game. I was here two years ago and a lot of the other guys were as well, and it lit a flame under us. We saw the goalposts come down and we never wanted that to happen to us again. We just need to learn to take our mistakes and move forward and get a little better each time.”