December 21st, 2015 | BAHAMAS BOWL


Western Michigan Quotes – Dec. 21, 2015

Western Michigan held its first practice in Nassau Monday morning at Thomas A. Robinson Stadium. Temperatures hovered around 80 degrees with 80 percent humidity.


On the first practice in Nassau

“It was sharp. I think the kids executed well today. The heat is definitely a little different from what we left in Kalamazoo, but they responded pretty well. I thought we had a real good practice.”

On Middle Tennessee State’s offense

“They have a couple of skill guys who are really, really talented. The Coach’s son (Brent Stockstill) is the quarterback – I know he’s only a redshirt freshman, but he executes extremely well. (Wide receiver Richie James) is one of those guys, a playmaker, the kind of guy offenses like to get the ball to. They do an awful lot of things – they stretch you out, they’ll line up with three backs in the backfield and yet they’ll line up in empty sets, so it’s a pretty versatile offense. From a defensive standpoint it makes you focus on a lot of things.”

On the prediction that the game could be high-scoring on both sides

“You prepare your kids to play with the assumption that you will play well defensively.  I’m sure both teams feel that way. That’s why we play on Saturdays – or whatever day we are on the field. I don’t think any defensive coach ever goes into a game with a thought, ‘hey they’re going to score 40, let’s just hold them under 41.’  You want to go in and you want to dominate the game, and you’ll see if you can do that. Your game plan is that anyway.”

On how the team successfully rebounded from a disappointing loss to Northern Illinois to win on the road at Toledo in the regular season finale

“The kids were really upset after the Northern Illinois game. I think it really hit them hard. But, we came back, and (Coach) P.J. (Fleck) did an excellent job of bringing the kids around for the next week. We had played Toledo the year before and clanked an extra point attempt off the upright. I think some our kids remembered from last year that we can play with anyone in our league, and we just came to play that day and executed well.”


On the first practice in Nassau

“It was fun. We just came to practice (and) came prepared. It’s a lot hotter than it is in Michigan.”

On Middle Tennessee State

“Their receivers, their running backs… they are just a sound football team, there’s no other way around it. You just have to continue to prepare and do our best to stop them.”

Are the heat and humidity a concern?

“No. We don’t let the circus tent dictate our behavior.”


On the first practice in Nassau

“It was a great practice. We came out with a lot of energy. We knew, even though being in the Bahamas, we still are here to play a game. That’s what we are here for. There’s a time to have fun and there’s a place to work and do our business. We got after it (today). There was a lot of intensity.”

On having nearly a month in between games

“Like everything else there are positives and negatives. It’s a positive that we get to study our opponent, we get to do everything that we need to do to get prepared. But, there’s also some negatives. You take time off and you get away from hitting and you might not be as physical when the game starts. So, you have to get back used to it during the game instead of starting off fast. I think there are more positives than negatives.

On MTSU’s offense

“They have a great receiver in (Richie James), he’s an All-American, and the quarterback likes to get the ball in his hands. They like to sling it around and get it to their playmakers. I feel like getting to the quarterback and get home will benefit us on our end.”

On the heat and humidity

“No (it won’t impact the team). Most of our guys are from Florida and the South. I don’t think it will be much of a problem. We prepared ourselves by practicing in our indoor facility and Coach Fleck pumped the heat up, so we’ll be used to it when game time comes around.”

Are you having any fun?

“I’m having an elite experience.  It’s a great experience. This is my first time out the country.  Coming here, just to see a different culture, a different atmosphere, it’s just a great time for everyone.”

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