Murray State Focused on Wolfpack

Marcus Harris

Murray State head football coach Matt Griffin, along with wide receiver Marcus Harris and linebacker Tamar Butler met with the local media to discuss Saturday's game against NC State.

Head Coach Matt Griffin
Opening Statement:

We've got a challenge this week, there's no doubt. From what we know, it's an exciting place. It looks like a neat place to play.

They have a very good football team... very disciplined and athletic.

We're excited to play though, there's no question. It's just time to go play and see what we've got.

Thoughts on playing an ACC team after facing a Division II program:
I think it grabs your player's attention. I'm not saying they didn't pay attention last week, but you see a little better athlete, a little bigger athlete. If it doesn't grab their attention I wonder about their competitive streak.

I know our guys are focused. Iur guys are excited to play in this game. We talked Friday after the last game about our demeanor going to Indiana last year, and I think it was the best in three years.

I think we had a pretty good practice this morning, and I'm excited about our group this year. I'm excited about them being eager to play this game where our first year, well it was what it was.

What do you see from NC State on film?
They are fast. Like all ACC clubs, if you watched that game with Miami and Florida State, the skill kids can run.

I think we have some skill kids that can run with them. I really do. I think the challenge on both sides will be in the fronts. They are very good on both fronts. We're much better, but we have to play very well there.

Any thoughts on NC State's struggles with South Carolina?
No. South Carolina is pretty good.. a salty club. South Carolina is a very good SEC team. They had opportunities to score. I think there were two or three other trips in the redzone they didn't convert, and NC State had a couple of chances to win the game.

That game could have ended either way. It will be interesting.

Wide Receiver Marcus Harris
Opening Statement:

It was the first game and the offense started a little slow, but we were able to pick it up. We were really confident in the second half, and we started to move the ball. We executed and picked up the victory.

Two years ago the special teams was probably one of the worst parts of the team and now it's one of the best. What has changed?
We have people on special teams that want to work. They finally realize that special teams... we need to win that to win ball games. That's one of our main things in practice. We work on running back touchdowns and now we've got them.

There are 10 other people on the field [during kicks]. I'm just the one with the ball and happened to score. There was a lot of good blocking [last week].

How do you expect to go from playing a Division II team to an ACC team?
It's just another game we're looking to win. You have to practice hard all the time. hopefully we can get a win.

In NC State's loss to South Carolina their defense missed 21 tackles. There were chances for big plays.
We saw a lot of missed tackles so we have to take advantage of that. We have speed on the outside, good line and a good quarterback. All you've got to do is play catch. If they have missed tackles we'll have to capitalize on it.

Linebacker Tamar Butler
Opening Statement:

I think we did a good job of forcing turnovers. What helped us out was our pursuit to the ball. That's something we stress as a defense.

Now it's time to get ready for NC State. We want to get better these next few practices, get as many reps as possible. Hopefully we can have the same results.

In the last game the defense stepped up and made plays when the offense started slow.
We knew the offense would get started. We have faith in the whole team. We knew they were going to do what they had to do. We as a defense felt like we needed to get some points on the board too, get some turnovers.

Thoughts on going to play NC State:
This will be the fourth big game I've played in, and it's going to be exciting. We're taking new players down there, and players I think are ready to play right now.

We've just got to prepare like we did last week. If we execute on both sides of the ball and do what we can do I think we can come out victorious.

We looked at some tape already, and we know their offense is pretty good. We know the QB is pretty good... the line is pretty good. We've just got to execute all three phases of the game. I think if we execute we'll be okay.

Thoughts on NC State's problems offensively last week:
I think our coaches have a good gameplan going into the game. I think we're starting to get it down already. I think we can take advantage of a few things, but I know they are going to be looking at our tape too. I think whoever executes the most will be the one who comes out with the win.

More thoughts on facing NC State:
I'm looking forward to it. It's my first plane ride, so I'm kind of nervous about that. It's going to be different. It's an ACC team, and I'm an ACC fan so that in particular is going to keep me excited.

We've played against Louisville and [Brian] Brohm... Chase Daniel and Missouri. Even though they don't have the big names as some of the other teams we have played, I still think the ACC... there's great teams. I'm looking forward to the game.

You mention Brian Brohm and Chase Daniel. Do you see any similarities between NC State's quarterback and the others you have faced?
As far as watching film, I think their QB is really good. He has a very, very strong arm. One play in particular, off his back foot he's throwing it 60 yards off one step. He's got one of the strongest arms we've seen, and he's an agile quarterback too so he can run.

I think he stacks up. His name might not be as big as those others, but I think he stacks up with those other players.

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